Scandal, Honor and Shame

Posted By on February 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

How a group handles a scandal involving one of its members says quite a lot about that group.

On the American political Right, the GOP seems to have learned a lesson about scandal: cut the offender off, root and branch, and do it quickly. Get rid of the garbage. No more Mark Foleys, no more Larry Craigs.

Witness the conclusion of last week’s Rep. Christopher Lee scandal. Less than 24 hours elapsed from the time of the revelation of his misbehaviour and his resignation. I strongly suspect that the first most people knew about the congressman’s Craig’s List brouhaha was when the news broke of his resignation… and I’d be willing to bet that some of you reading this had never heard about it until now.

With the almost non-stop news from Egypt last week, the congressman might easily have hidden from public view for the few days it might take for the minor story — let’s face it, a shirtless “Personals” ad is not exactly the stuff of political thriller novels — to go away. His transgression certainly did not fall into the category of mis/malfeasance in office.

In an different era or culture, Lee might have shut himself in a private room with a revolver and one bullet, or might have committed seppuku to expiate his shame. Nowadays, resignation and shunning will have to do.


In the 1800s, the political/military theorist Carl von Clauswitz observed that war is the continuation of politics by other means. Today’s Left has turned that around: politics is war, and the only rule is to win at all costs.

On the Left, with numerous investigations and scandals looming, the Democrats have decided to go back to their Clinton era playbook. Rather than admit to their own fault and clean house, they instead go on the offensive against those who would seek to hold them accountable.

Witness the attack group being formed to dig up dirt on congressman Darryl Issa, who will be issuing quite a few subpoenæ subpoeni subpoenas in the coming months.

Rather than hold their own people accountable and take their lumps, the Left seeks to destroy their opponents. (Judge Ken Starr could probably speak at length about that.) It’s not about what is the right thing to do, it’s only and always about winning. Honesty plays no part in their tactical or strategic calculations.

Politics is war, and yet if American soldiers behaved as badly on the battlefield as the American Left does in the political arena, they’d be accused of war crimes.

But that is who they are. That is what they do. They fight dirty, they’re ruthless; innocence, truth and — dare I say it — honor matter not a whit to them, unless they can be used as weapons.

Note the reverence with which various figures on the Left are treated, despite behaviour that ought to have, at a minimum, shamed them into withdrawing from the public eye. Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton* come immediately to mind. Yet they continually receive(d) a “pass” on their actions because they espouse(d) the correct political positions.

To my self-described liberal friends: if your team can’t win an argument cleanly, with honor, is it really worth backing that team?


Update: Does anyone really think that left-wing “journalist” Nir Rosen will pay any kind of price for this sort of despicable commentary?

No, I thought not. You see, any kind of outrage is apparently OK if it’s done to the Left’s perceived villains.


*There are two things that drive me absolutely nuts about Fox News. One is their stylebook-driven use of the expression “homicide bomber,” when what they mean is “suicide bomber.” Hey, Fox? All bombers are trying to commit homicide. The second thing is their repeated use of Al Sharpton as a guest and treating him as a serious commentator, without ever pointing out his history with, for instance, the Tawana Brawley rape hoax.

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