Morning After Report: Six Steps Forward and Seven Back In The Quest For A Trustworthy Congress

We’ll never get a trustworthy Congress this way.

So much for “the wisdom of crowds.” Last night, knowing (theoretically, at least) that the one completely irrational choice for the nation at this critical juncture in its history is more gridlock born of ideological intransigence, voters sent a dysfunctional Congress back to Washington, opting for a radical conservative House and a radical liberal Senate despite telling pollsters that this was the least trusted Congress in history. Just to make sure compromise and movement would be as difficult as possible, the public also re-elected a President who, whatever his other virtues, has shown neither the ability nor the inclination to engage in effective negotiation with his political adversaries on the Hill. There were plenty of more responsible options available to voters:

  • Commit to the President, and give his party majorities in both Houses of Congress so he could get his policies implemented, for better or worse,
  • Give the Senate back to the GOP, so some of the bills the House has passed can be sent to the President’s desk
  • Sweep everybody out and try a new team to see if it can do any better.

But no. The American public, in its infinite wisdom, opted for nearly the exact toxic partisan mix that has served the nation so miserably for the past two years. Unquestionably, the biggest ethics failure on election night was this one.

Yet there was progress, as voters rejected some of the more unethical officials offering their services. Unfortunately, these wise and ethical choices were greatly diluted by other unforgivable ones. On the plus side: Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Month: Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Tuesday’s televised debate, in response to a question regarding the candidates’ position on abortion.

“If found, please contact Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who will answer the phone by saying, “URUHHHHGHHAR???”

Ah, so few words, so many options for Ethics Alarms!  Should we make Richard Mourdock an Ethics Dunce? The Incompetent Elected Official of the Week, perhaps? Since it is his quote that opened up this cornucopia of possibilities, I decided that it should be the quote that gets nod.

How is Mourdock’s quote unethical? Let me count the ways:

1. It needlessly confuses right and wrong. If God intends that a pregnancy should result from a rape, then one can argue that the rapist is just doing God’s will. I know that people like Mourdock answer that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but this argument does nothing but undermine the victims of rape (“If God wanted this, is it wrong for me to complain? To reject the pregnancy?”) and hands a rationalization to rapists.

Continue reading