The Kansas Senate Race Ethics Disgrace: Who Can You Trust?

Nobody, apparently.

Welcome to Kansas.

Welcome to Kansas.

The Kansas U.S. Senate race demonstrates why so many Americans tune out politics, spit on both parties, and simply assume that there is no way to avoid being governed by knaves, cheaters and fools.

If you haven’t been following this dispiriting  embarrassment, I commend and envy you. The election is considered a crucial one that could decide control of the Senate, where the Democrats currently have a majority that looks shaky at best. The Kansas Republican incumbent, Pat Roberts, appeared beatable in the GOP primary, and he was in a tough three-way race in the election. Trailing in the polls, the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, pulled out of the race, leaving Roberts to run against an independent, Greg Orman, who has belonged at various times to both parties,  who wants to leave his real loyalties secret for now and who looks like he might beat Roberts. The Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, claimed that under the law, Taylor couldn’t withdraw with the letter he wrote for that purpose, and had to stay on the ballot. This week, Kobach’s position was rejected by the Kansas Supreme Court.

This account just skims the surface of the real sludge in this bi-partisan cesspool. Consider: Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Florida Governor Rick Scott

Less worthy of integrity than cashing a check or renting a car, according to the Justice Department.

I should add to the heroes list the governors of the states that are challenging the Justice Department over blocking their voter ID requirements as well, but Scott is a worthy representative. His law suit is a little different than theirs, but the principle is the same, the target—Eric Holder’s politicized and incompetent Justice Department—is the same, and the objective, ensuring the integrity of elections, is also the same.

The Department of Justice, of all institutions, shouldn’t be adopting the sadly popular phisosophy, growing like mold on a large segment of progressive America, that it is wrong to enforce legitimate laws if doing so risks having disparate impact on particular groups. It certainly shouldn’t be using its power to join in the desperate race-baiting that seems to be part of the desperate Democratic game plan for President Obama’s re-election. Attorney General Holder has been making the rounds of African-American groups, rattling the civil rights sabers and proclaiming that requiring voters to show proof of identity and citizenship is a racist plot. This is either cynical politics or proof of intellectual deficiency, and since it is Holder, telling which is difficult. Holder, after all, requires identification to get into his building, his office, and his public appearances, but presumably nobody would accuse the first black and most race-conscious Attorney General in the nation’s history of being anti-black. Yet I  submit that the importance of ensuring the integrity of  elections in a democracy is rather more important than ensuring that only citizens get to hear Holder make speeches accusing states of racism and voter-suppression for attempting to enforce the law. Continue reading

Criminal Defense Ethics: The Aneurysm-Inducing Argument

Darrow would understand.

Apoplectic stand-up comic Louis Black has a classic routine in which he describes how a snippet of a conversation he over-heard at an IHOP nearly killed him. The statement, “If it hadn’t been for that horse, I never would have spent that year in college,” made no sense to him at all and kept going around and around in his brain, threatening to cause a fatal aneurysm.

I know exactly how he feels.

A week ago, I read a news account of the election fraud trial of one Julius Henson, a former campaign consultant to ex-Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich. This was the second trial arising out Ehrlich’s dirty and unsuccessful campaign in 2010 to win re-election over Democrat Martin O’Malley. In the first one, Ehrlich’s campaign manager, Peter Schurick, was convicted of election fraud for approving an election day robocall that went out to African-Americans in Maryland who were registered Democrats, suggesting that they “relax” and stay home, because O’Malley had already won. In the article, it said that Henson’s attorney had offered the defense that the call, which was created by Henson with his wife’s voice on the recording, was not designed to suppress the black vote for O’Malley. It was, argued Edward Smith, intended to prompt them to go to the polls and vote for Erhlich through the use of “reverse psychology.”

WHAT??? Continue reading

Voting Reform Ethics

It is interesting that Attorney General Eric Holder would choose to become the point man for a  partisan effort by the Obama administration to demonize new voter qualification measures in 14 states. Holder is an embarrassment, credibly accused of lying to Congress in its efforts to get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious fiasco, and justifiably regarded by objective observers as incompetent even before his claim that the botched and deadly gun-smuggling operation went on under his nose without his cognizance, because, you know, he doesn’t read his e-mails. There are many viable theories why President Obama hasn’t yet asked Holder to leave, all plausible, all disturbing: Obama really thinks he’s doing a good job; Obama is being loyal to a loyal employee to the detriment of the nation; Obama is too passive an executive to fire anybody; Obama is afraid of backlash if he fires his highest-ranking black appointee; and my personal favorite, Holder may be horrible, but he’s not as horrible as the last Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, whom Bush refused to fire. Also inexcusably.

It is possible that Holder’s speech equating reasonable reforms to limit the opportunities for voter fraud with voter suppression was calculated as a way to ingratiate himself to left-leaning media critics whose support he will surely need as the Fast and Furious noose tightens. It is possible that his argument that the measures are aimed at minorities and the poor is part of Team Obama’s electoral strategy to divide the country—further—along lines of economic status, race and ethnicity. It is even possible that he is sincere. No matter: it is an unjustifiable argument. Continue reading

Schemes, Slander and Deception: The Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010

Well, I have to admit they were creative. And despicable.

2010’s most unethical maneuvers ran the gamut from lying to zombie exploitation, from false identity to extortion. Unfortunately, most of the worst stunts were pulled by or on behalf of Democrats; I say unfortunately because I try awfully hard to keep these kinds of lists in partisan balance. But the Democrats and their progressive fans were especially slimy this time around, and it it figures. When the going gets tough, the tough get unethical, and it is the Democrats who are facing ballot box carnage. They have been pushing the envelope, to say the least, in their campaign tactics, and I think it probably made their situation more dire rather than less.

Here, in reverse order of ethical outrageousness, are the Ten Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010: Continue reading