Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Political Scandals

This is by no means a blanket statement, and I don't think it's always, or completely, true. However, I think that in general I would take the following as a consistent rule of thumb. When there is a scandal, with admitted wrongdoing, or inappropriateness, involving political figures, the criticism breaks down two ways.

1) If the guilty party is a liberal--the conservatives will condemn the offense, while the liberals will defend the offender.

2) If the guilty party is a conservative--the conservatives and the liberals will both condemn the offense and the offender.

I've seen it repeatedly, and the current scandal involving inappropriate behavior, in email exchanges, from a Republican Congressman toward underage Congressional pages follows the same pattern. Both the left and the right are criticizing the now-former Congressman, and rightly so, although an FBI official quoted by The Washington Post, said the email activity was not criminal. I think it should be noted, in fairness to all those people on the right side of political punditry and politics, that conservatives are not giving the Congressman a pass because he votes the way they want. I'm sure there has been some ignoring of warning signs going on, which also should be condemned, but at least now that they know what's been going on, they aren't finding ways to justify the behavior, or blame the accusers. The Congressman is out. He resigned with a statement that he accepts full responsibility for his actions.

As substantiation for my point of view, I will just throw out some names: Packwood, Condit, Clinton, Jefferson, Lott. These are just a few.

Update: I'm feeling the need to explain that I'm not trying to be unfair here. I just really get frustrated when partisans take things like this and manipulate them for political ends. That's what I see going on now. There are politicians and pundits trying to take this situation and turn it into the newest reason why Republicans as a group are unfit for office. What I'm trying to point out is that the Republicans are not being hypocritical about this; it's just as bad to them when a conservative does something like this as when a liberal does. That is frequently not the case when the situation is reversed.