Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Which Politicians Have Integrity?

 

Following last night’s travesty of a speech, we find ourselves in an lamentably familiar predicament. Our present administration reeks of corruption, lies and brazen lawlessness. But is there any way to make the public care?

It’s an enormously important question, and not just for political strategists. If the public doesn’t care, this is the new normal. If the public doesn’t care, then our Constitution will rapidly dwindle into little more than an interesting historical document. Where corruption isn’t punished, integrity will soon be effectively banished. No political party can maintain high standards of lawfulness if the other is permitted to cheat with reckless abandon.

As so often happens, the real problem here is not just apathy, but ignorance. Most people don’t really understand what is happening, and why they should be upset about it. When politicians are quibbling over matters of jurisdiction and legality, middle-of-road voters are inclined to shrug their shoulders and tune out. They don’t bother to explore the details of why Obama’s move on immigration is so dramatically different from what Bush or Reagan did in the past. Washingtonians pointing figures at one another is pretty much business-as-usual these days, so it’s not obvious why they should pay extra attention in this instance.

Obviously, we’ve all been debating what the GOP should or could do to check the Administration’s lawlessness. It’s a hard problem, because it really is the job of Congress to stymie this kind of executive overreach, and yet, if they do, Republicans will likely intensify their reputation as zealots and obstructionists. I have no special insight into this particular problem. But I do want to suggest that, moving into the next few years (and particularly the next election cycle), the party needs to make a serious and concerted effort to highlight justice and integrity as particular Republican values, and to persuade the public that they mean it.

This is hard, because of course every political candidate makes some noises about “transparency” and “bipartisanship,” and recent experiences have left voters deeply cynical about this sort of pitch. Voters are undoubtedly tired of being lied to and manipulated, but they also know that every fresh-faced candidate will promise not to lie. Hillary Clinton (if indeed she becomes the Democratic nominee) does not have a fresh face, so that’s a mark in our favor. But we still need to consider carefully which candidates might be effective in pressing the corruption charge with force, while making a credible case that they are capable of orchestrating genuine reform.

I think the candidates are enormously important in this regard. Voters instinctively mistrust parties, but they can occasionally be persuaded to trust people. So, who seems trustworthy? What candidates (especially presidential, but I’m interested in lower levels too) have the kind of record that would enable them to credibly claim that they will govern with integrity?

I have a few ideas of my own, but I’d love to hear other people’s first. Of course my general idea is that, even if we can’t “win” the short game on the immigration issue, we might still be able to mitigate the long-term Constitutional damage if we can make the Democrats pay heavily over the longer term.

There are 36 comments.

  1. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz.

    • #1
    • November 21, 2014, at 3:11 PM PST
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  2. Pilli Inactive

    Rachel,

    Scenario 1– a Congress-critter represents her extraordinarily left-wing constituents who think what Obama did is A-OK.

    Scenario 2– a Congress-critter represents the interests of companies because he thinks supporting business is the right thing for the country.

    Scenario 3– a Congress-critter brings as much “pork” back to his district as possible because “it helps his people.”

    Each one of these people will be re-elected because they are doing the bidding of their constituents.

    Where does integrity fit in?

    • #2
    • November 21, 2014, at 3:15 PM PST
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  3. Leigh Member

    Rachel Lu:Obviously, we’ve all been debating what the GOP should or could do to check the Administration’s lawlessness. It’s a hard problem, because it really is the job of Congress to stymie this kind of executive overreach, and yet, if they do, Republicans will likely intensify their reputation as zealots and obstructionists.

    What makes it difficult is that it is the job of all of Congress, not just the Republicans. Nixon’s downfall was complete because his party turned against him. When the only people even trying to stop the President come from the party politically opposed to him, it’s natural for the public to see a partisan fight rather than a true constitutional crisis. That — combined with the fact that alone they cannot leverage the full power of Congress — puts them in a difficult spot.

    I’m seeing lots of criticism of how the Republicans are behaving in that spot, and that’s fine (maybe a little premature). But Boehner and McConnell aren’t really the ones whose offices we need to call — it’s the shamelessly loyal Democrats whose abandonment of responsibility leave congressional leadership with severely limited options. Especially those handful of vulnerable Democrats who have said they oppose the president on this issue — make them prove they really mean it.

    • #3
    • November 21, 2014, at 3:32 PM PST
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  4. Stad Thatcher

    Jeff Sessions is a good choice. From our state, I’d say Nikki Haley and Tim Scott. Lindsey leaves a lot to be desired . . .

    OHHHH! Trey Gowdy!

    • #4
    • November 21, 2014, at 3:33 PM PST
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  5. Leigh Member

    On the main question: the person in public life I most respect, from what knowledge I have, is Paul Ryan. I’ve followed pretty closely what he’s said or written for some time now, spent time in his district, and read about him from many different perspectives, and whether hostile, reluctantly admiringly, or flattering, liberal or conservative, they all show the same man. There does seem to be a consistent philosophy in his politics, genuine conviction on the issues, and humility and integrity in his approach to public life. And while I don’t always agree with him I’ve come to have a great deal of respect for his judgment. Maybe I just happen to share a very similar philosophy.

    Plus — according to everyone — he’s still genuinely a creature of Janesville, Wisconsin, and not D.C. I don’t think he will run for president, and given a crowded field and the major chairmanship he just took in Congress he may be wise to sit out.

    There are others — I’ve heard really good things about Tom Coburn, for instance. Ryan is just the one I happen to know most about.

    But you can never be certain. Mark Sanford and Bob McDonnell both looked pretty good to those not paying incredibly close attention, until things fell apart.

    • #5
    • November 21, 2014, at 3:54 PM PST
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  6. captainpower Inactive

    Leigh: I don’t think he will run for president, and given a crowded field and the major chairmanship he just took in Congress he may be wise to sit out.

    Agreed. I hope he stays where he is and gets some good done there.

    Under new House GOP rules, Ryan would have to give up the Ways and Means gavel if he ran for higher office.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/224624-ryan-grabs-ways-and-means-gavel

    via

    http://hotair.com/archives/2014/11/19/video-ryan-takes-over-ways-and-means/

    • #6
    • November 21, 2014, at 4:41 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. EThompson Inactive

    I find this post incredibly naive and yet another recipe for failure in a national election. Read this: Max Eden | The Weekly Standard.

    • #7
    • November 21, 2014, at 4:43 PM PST
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  8. captainpower Inactive

    EThompson: Read this: Max Eden | The Weekly Standard.

    ‘Fire with Fire’

    The Republican road to 2016?

    NOV 24, 2014, VOL. 20, NO. 11 • BY MAX EDEN

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/fire-fire_819002.html

    Reviews the 2014 book “Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left” by David Horowitz.

    • #8
    • November 21, 2014, at 5:03 PM PST
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  9. EThompson Inactive

    @ captainpower: Your thoughts?

    • #9
    • November 21, 2014, at 5:07 PM PST
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  10. Palaeologus Inactive

    Leigh, you are a good sense machine.

    It is not at all naive to ask which pols on our side are seemingly credible.

    If anything, it’s more than a bit Machiavellian.

    Welcome to the Dark Side, Rachel.

    • #10
    • November 21, 2014, at 5:12 PM PST
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  11. Leigh Member

    Palaeologus:Leigh, you are a good sense machine.

    It is not at all naive to ask which pols on our side are seemingly credible.

    If anything, it’s more than a bit Machiavellian.

    Welcome to the Dark Side, Rachel.

    I’m a machine??? Well, I suppose I’m just an avatar typing keys. I’ll take the compliment. But I was writing whom I genuinely think credible. If we’re being Machiavellian, here’s two I don’t know enough about to actually endorse: Joni Ernst looks like the kind of person who wins confidence easily; she’s warm, reassuring, very capable, but down-to-earth. Ed Gillespie evidently made a very good impression on Virginians even though they didn’t quite dump a popular former governor for him. He likewise has that combination that wins trust: he comes across as capable with a genuinely gracious, winning manner. You would feel safe if he were the guy with his finger on the nuclear button.

    I’ve said more than enough about Scott Walker lately.

    • #11
    • November 21, 2014, at 6:05 PM PST
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  12. American Abroad Thatcher

    I think that Tom Coburn has the utmost integrity, and he can explain things in a way that make sense.

    • #12
    • November 21, 2014, at 7:57 PM PST
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  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Hi Rachel,

    I think this may be the first time I’ve specifically replied to one of your posts, so first–hi, I’m Claire, so nice to meet you.

    OK, to the point.

    The “How do we (I) make the public care” problem has been the central one of my life for the past 20 years. For two reasons. First, because of my belief that the public ought to care about certain things, and if they don’t care, it implies either that they’re bad people or that bad things will happen to them–and since I’m part of “them,” to me.

    Second, because of the nature of the way I’ve earned my living–that’s to say, by writing things–if I can’t get the public to care about what I’m writing, I don’t eat.

    One thing I’ve thought about a lot lately is this: Claire: You’ve got to think that through better and separate those problems in your mind. Clearly. In this sense:

    1) I need to give “the public” at least a bit of credit for knowing what it should care about. I notice in myself–when I’m honest–a bit of the old totalitarian impulse, the sense that the public is just too stupid and morally obtuse to be trusted to know or care what’s good for them, and that therefore I need to step in and hit them over the head with a frying pan, lecture them, scream at them, etc. You can see what’s wrong with that, I’m sure. First, it’s wrong–if I don’t believe people can be trusted to make decisions as basic as “what to care about,” I should just call myself a left-winger or a fascist, or some kind of totalitarian, and be done with it. When I signed on for the liberal project (as opposed to “left-wing”–old-fashioned use of “liberal”)–it involved respecting the right of other people to think for themselves about what they want, and respecting their right to care about what they want to care about. Second (and perhaps more importantly), it’s counterproductive: strangely, much to my surprise, people don’t seem to like being told they’re stupid and morally obtuse and that I’m smarter and more caring. It doesn’t seem to make them do what I want. In fact, it often has precisely the opposite effect.

    2) Sometimes, what I think people should care about for their own good is actually what I want them to care about for my good, in the sense that if no one pays me to have opinions about things, it’s bad for me. Financially.

    Now, that said, there are many issues, including the one you raised, where I think it’s fair to say that it is really important to convince people to care, and to care a lot, and to care before it’s too late.

    I don’t know how. If I did, believe me, my life would be different, and I wouldn’t hold out on you–I’d tell you. But the point of my comment is this: When thinking about a strategy for “getting people to care,” be sure to avoid the two traps above. My experience says they’re proven non-winners. And my experience is also that even though those points are blindingly obvious, it’s really easy to fall down those holes.

    Is that at all useful?

    (A final thought: when trying to figure out how to get people to care about X, for any X, you and I should probably ask the people who have done so successfully. They’re out there. I naturally recoil from that, because some snobby part of me looks down on the professions they tend to be in: PR and advertising. But this is pure snobbery. Many of those people get the job done, and we should respect that and learn from it, not declare that we’re too good for that.)

    • #13
    • November 21, 2014, at 9:43 PM PST
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  14. captainpower Inactive

    EThompson: @ captainpower: Your thoughts?

    I just finished reading it, and I mostly agree.

    I was afraid the article would be about how we should be just as low down and dirty as the Democrats in their tactics (lying to the American people to disguise our true intentions, pitting classes of Americans against each other, calling our opponents evil). I was afraid it would endorse the scorched earth policy of war that would lead us to a Pyrrhic victory where we win control over some place that is no longer America because we helped destroy it.

    Considering the author Max Eden is from the American Enterprise Institute, it comes as no surprise that he echoes the philosophy of Arthur Brooks: we need to meet moral arguments from the Left with moral arguments from the right rather than with dense policy discussion and numerical analysis.

    Our politeness (cowardice?) prevents us from responding directly when they accuse us of outrageous motives.

    A great example he makes is that the Right is against welfare not just because we are tightfisted penny pinchers, but because we believe in human dignity and that there is a corruption and diminution of the human soul when human enterprise is discouraged.

    All of our politicians need to be learning to argue from the moral high ground and not be baited into discussing things the electorate doesn’t care about. As others around Ricochet have been saying, we need to be able to respond quickly and concisely to their accusations.

    • #14
    • November 21, 2014, at 9:46 PM PST
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  15. captainpower Inactive

    Claire Berlinski: strangely, much to my surprise, people don’t seem to like being told they’re stupid and morally obtuse and that I’m smarter and more caring. It doesn’t seem to make them do what I want. In fact, it often has precisely the opposite effect.

    The left loves to “shock” people out of their complacency to get the message across.

    Graphic imagery and coarse language are vehicles they use for this, be it the anti-Israel crowd showing us brained bodies with lies as context, or movies like “Requiem for a Dream”

    Movies like “Requiem for a Dream” and it’s “say no to drugs” message – yeah, I’m already on board with that. Don’t need to be shocked.

    Same with the “10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman.” Outrageous outrage, but therefore what? I don’t harass women. What am I supposed to do with this information? I guess I should punch these guys in the nose if they try to pull a stunt like the assault Christine Sisto describes when I’m around? Ok. So far, haven’t seen it.

    I agree that these kind of shock tactics don’t find much purchase here, but maybe I’m just contrarian (even when I’m wrong).

    • #15
    • November 21, 2014, at 10:39 PM PST
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  16. liberal jim Inactive

    First of all I am not a member, card carrying or otherwise, of the “we”. Secondly the public does cares and has concluded the solution to the current crooks in power that they are being offered, the Republicans, while slightly less brazen are just as corrupt.

    The current drama seems to be about illegal immigrants. As of now I have yet to find anything the WH has issued that approaches what O. has proclaimed. I think what he has said if acted on would be abhorrent, but he has been exploiting latinos for more than 8 years and I suspect this is just more of the same. One should however realize that when GHB left office there were some 8 million II’s in the country and this was after 9/11 which was carried out by non citizens a number of who were II’s. One would expect after this a trustworthy leader would take steps to secure the borders, reform the sieve like visa system and register if not deport all II’s in the country.

    Instead we got the usual DC commission, not to name who screwed up, (Bush and Clinton) , but to find lesson learned, a clarion call to continue shopping, a grossly expanded government bureaucracy, a curtailment of freedom and privacy, and nation building exercises in distant lands.

    I conclude from this that the establishment of both parties want the II’s here.

    The public cares it has just concluded that both parties have so corrupted the political system it is quickly becoming irrelevant. This is why I think sales of guns have sky rocketed. The public cares so much they are buying guns and learning how to use them!!!

    • #16
    • November 22, 2014, at 5:32 AM PST
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  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Rachel, I, too, find this piece somewhat naïve.

    Rachel Lu: I think the candidates are enormously important in this regard. Voters instinctively mistrust parties, but they can occasionally be persuaded to trust people. So, who seems trustworthy? What candidates (especially presidential, but I’m interested in lower levels too) have the kind of record that would enable them to credibly claim that they will govern with integrity?

    Who seems trustworthy?

    Barack Obama did – twice. Actually, more than twice, if you count his political career before becoming president.

    If you leave the politics out of it, he seems like a clean-cut, adorkable man with a warm, honest-looking smile and a beautiful, healthy family. Two terms as POTUS will take the gloss off any man, so it’s not as evident now. But making an impression of personal integrity, no matter what you thought of his politics, is part of what launched Obama’s political career and made his presidential candidacy possible.

    And ask yourself: Are the people who simply ask of a candidate, “Does he seem trustworthy?” and nothing more, going to be the type of people who care about the details of a candidate’s record?

    Rick Santorum strikes me as a man of genuine personal integrity. An acquaintance of mine who works for Think Progress and has met him in person says the same thing. You’d have to actually care about questions of policy to know that, no matter how much personal integrity he has, he has an unreliable relationship with economics, to put it mildly.

    Where corruption isn’t punished, integrity will soon be effectively banished.

    Even where corruption is punished, integrity can lose. Because sophisticated bullies know that one of the most effective bullying tactics is to use the rules to make their prey look like the corrupt ones – especially in systems where the “appearance of corruption” is summarily punished. True in junior high, true in politics.

    • #17
    • November 22, 2014, at 7:05 AM PST
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  18. captainpower Inactive

    re: corruption

    A bit of a tangent, but our news media has less of an appetite for fighting corruption.

    In the most recent Ricochet Podcast episode 239: The New Dudes, the team interviewed former investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson. She describes how a poor manager will bow to outside pressure from corporate sponsors, politicians, and the powers that be and avoid rocking the boat with hard hitting journalism. Rob Long also recalls an anecdote where Rupert Murdoch has a simple solution to making everyone want to read the newspaper: 1 big local corruption expose per month. I would buy that paper, although it might take me a few months to figure out what’s happening.

    • #18
    • November 22, 2014, at 8:01 AM PST
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  19. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    Claire, I love your posts; great to “meet” you!

    I wasn’t quite sure to what extent this was intended as gentle fraternal correction for me personally. If it was, it was very kind, so thank you! Certainly I share your predicament insofar as I am very “professionally judgey”. Not only do I sell my opinions for money, I also teach moral philosophy, which is all about telling people what they should do and want. And nowadays I often combine the moral philosophy and the journalism in an unholy alliance that I suppose might be termed “social criticism”. Which is a bubbling cauldron of pretentiousness if ever there was one.

    I think it’s healthy to be at least a little self-conscious about the intrinsic hubris/elitism of that kind of work. Readers do help there, because they periodically send me notes with loving reminders that I understand nothing about anything and should just shut my yap… so, that’s nice for keeping me grounded. Also, I’m a mom with three young kids, so I get lots of humiliating reminders that, umm, if I know so much about moral development, how come I can’t stop my toddler from kicking other children on the playground? Hmm.

    For all that, I have to disagree at least a little with both of your premises.

    “First, it’s wrong–if I don’t believe people can be trusted to make decisions as basic as “what to care about,” I should just call myself a left-winger or a fascist, or some kind of totalitarian, and be done with it. When I signed on for the liberal project (as opposed to “left-wing”–old-fashioned use of “liberal”)–it involved respecting the right of other people to think for themselves about what they want, and respecting their right to care about what they want to care about.”

    I think the options are a little more diverse than that. I can take a fairly dim view of people’s ability to determine what’s really good for them, and still not be a fascist. I think people should be free, not because I have any real confidence that they’ll use that freedom well, but more because freedom is itself essential to real moral development. Totalitarian rule is bad for people, and ultimately the worst for the people who perpetrate it; that said, I think history amply confirms that people (individually and en masse) make horrible decisions all the time. Then again, I’m not really a committed liberal even in the older sense. I’m not committed to the proposition that democracy is superior to monarchy in principle. For various contingent historical and geopolitical reasons, the former is more just “what we’ve got going” in this period in history.

    Second (and perhaps more importantly), it’s counterproductive: strangely, much to my surprise,people don’t seem to like being told they’re stupid and morally obtuse and that I’m smarter and more caring. It doesn’t seem to make them do what I want. In fact, it often has precisely the opposite effect.”

    Again, I’m not too sure here. You’re right of course that people don’t like being told that they’re stupid. But do they dislike being advised how to live their lives? Sometimes, clearly yes. Then again, advertising wouldn’t drive capitalism to the extent that it does if people weren’t willing to be told how to spend their money. And I’m told that the “personal improvement” market is worth something like 10 billion? That’s self-help books, life coaches etc. Seems like there’s actually a pretty hearty appetite out there for advice about what to want and how to live. Which actually makes sense when you consider that capitalism is great when it comes to opening alternatives for people, but precisely for that reason, gives people the burden of a whole lot of decision-making. I would also note that politicians seem to gin up an awful lot of support sometimes by telling people what to do and care about. (“Women, no one is paying for your contraceptives! Be Very Upset!”)

    Anyway, in light of all that, I don’t feel *too* bad for throwing my thoughts into the mix. I’m pretty benign as such people go, because I don’t claim authority over anybody (apart from my own children, I suppose); if readers don’t like my advice they’re free to fire me a snarky tweet and never read me again. Also I’m cheap. Both as writer and teacher, my hourly take is probably well below your average life coach’s, and I spew my thoughts for all and sundry to enjoy, not just for one person. Worst-case scenario, I’m probably just a somewhat-pretentious person who happily isn’t in a position to do much damage.

    So again, I think it’s probably good to laugh at ourselves regularly, and definitely good to keep listening to people when they tell us what they really think. Even the nasty ones. Maybe especially the nasty ones! But I think it would be a mistake, for the sake of modesty, to stop trying to figure out where society is going, what it needs, why people are happy or unhappy etc. Pompousness notwithstanding, I do actually believe that it’s good to have at least a few people out there at least trying to read the broader trends, consider where modern society stands in light of centuries’ worth of accumulated wisdom and moral reflection, etc etc. I’m not saying I’m terribly good at this, but, well, a few of us should at least give it a shot.

    Re: advertisers and PR people, I don’t scorn their advice, but I would just note that those people’s jobs require them to focus on fairly limited objectives. Get people to buy this product. Get them to vote for this candidate. We definitely need people like that, but should we not have anyone trying to outline the bigger picture?

    • #19
    • November 22, 2014, at 9:47 AM PST
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  20. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:Rachel, I, too, find this piece somewhat naïve.

    Rachel Lu: I think the candidates are enormously important in this regard. Voters instinctively mistrust parties, but they can occasionally be persuaded to trust people. So, who seems trustworthy? What candidates (especially presidential, but I’m interested in lower levels too) have the kind of record that would enable them to credibly claim that they will govern with integrity?

    Who seems trustworthy?

    Barack Obama did – twice. Actually, more than twice, if you count his political career before becoming president.

    If you leave the politics out of it, he seems like a clean-cut, adorkable man with a warm, honest-looking smile and a beautiful, healthy family. Two terms as POTUS will take the gloss off any man, so it’s not as evident now. But making an impression of personal integrity, no matter what you thought of his politics, is part of what launched Obama’s political career and made his presidential candidacy possible.

    Insofar as this is true, it seems to support my point more than vice-versa. Worked pretty well for him, no? Of course, he had a lot of help from the press, so it’s easier. We have to set the bar higher if we want voters to trust our candidates. But Reagan managed it, so maybe it’s possible again.

    • #20
    • November 22, 2014, at 9:50 AM PST
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  21. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    I don’t really understand why EThompson is interpreting my call for “integrity” as a call for “milk-toast”. I want a hard-hitting attack on Democratic corruption. That’s not milk-toasty. But you do need some personal credibility to do it with maximum effectiveness.

    Her alternative suggestion (that we should talk about entrenched elite interests etc) seems to me extremely harmonious with mine. Who benefits from corruption? Elites. Why do politicians think they can get away with it? Because they think they’re better than the rest of us. Seems pretty hand-in-glove to me.

    • #21
    • November 22, 2014, at 9:53 AM PST
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  22. Lensman Thatcher

    Why do you focus on “integrity” ?

    I’ve thought that Bill Buckley had it right: You vote for the most conservative candidate who has a reasonable chance of winning.

    Sometimes that person’s chances are not obvious and so you take a risk. House Majority Leader Cantor lost to a college professor who wasn’t supposed to win but who had a sound conservative message for the voters.

    Those voters did not trust Cantor to stick by his principles.

    Conservative principles and the courage and intellectual honesty to follow those principles are more important than the nebulous concept of “integrity.”

    • #22
    • November 22, 2014, at 10:24 AM PST
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  23. Lensman Thatcher

    Rachel Lu:I don’t really understand why EThompson is interpreting my call for “integrity” as a call for “milk-toast”. I want a hard-hitting attack on Democratic corruption. That’s not milk-toasty. But you do need some personal credibility to do it with maximum effectiveness.

    Her alternative suggestion (that we should talk about entrenched elite interests etc) seems to me extremely harmonious with mine. Who benefits from corruption? Elites. Why do politicians think they can get away with it? Because they think they’re better than the rest of us. Seems pretty hand-in-glove to me.

    It’s not a matter of corruption. The Democrats believe in big government. You can have honest big government and the result will still be bad. The U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment reserves the powers not granted to the Federal Government to the States and the People. The Dems want to violate the 10th Amendment every day from now until the U.S. collapses, which collapse will be a surprise to them.

    It’s a desire to amass power for the “good of the people” that drives the modern (leftist) Democrat Party.

    F.A. Hayek, the economist, analyzed the socialist impulse and concluded that a centrally planned economy will always fail because the necessary information flow is never sufficient. The flow of knowledge of how things are going in an economy is distributed among too many people who are all making decisions. A “wise person” in the capitol will never know enough to take the correct action.

    The Founders figured out that giving the Federal Government only enumerated powers would prevent tyranny and limit the damage from stupid decisions by that government. They were wise. The Dems are all foolish.

    • #23
    • November 22, 2014, at 10:38 AM PST
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  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Rachel Lu:

    Insofar as [Obama did launch his political career by creating the impression of personal integrity], it seems to support my point more than vice-versa. Worked pretty well for him, no?

    Not really. It supports the point that creating the impression of integrity is important, irrespective of what your voting/policy record actually is. Actors, politicians, and the worst sort of manipulative bully, all benefit from being able to create the impression of integrity, even when there is very little integrity actually present.

    Actors, in particular, are supposed to “play roles with integrity” irrespective of the integrity they have off-stage:

    The most important ingredient to acting is integrity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    Maybe this is one reason actors have traditionally been thought of as disreputable people.

    • #24
    • November 22, 2014, at 10:42 AM PST
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  25. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    Lensman:

    Rachel Lu:I don’t really understand why EThompson is interpreting my call for “integrity” as a call for “milk-toast”. I want a hard-hitting attack on Democratic corruption. That’s not milk-toasty. But you do need some personal credibility to do it with maximum effectiveness.

    Her alternative suggestion (that we should talk about entrenched elite interests etc) seems to me extremely harmonious with mine. Who benefits from corruption? Elites. Why do politicians think they can get away with it? Because they think they’re better than the rest of us. Seems pretty hand-in-glove to me.

    It’s not a matter of corruption. The Democrats believe in big government. You can have honest big government and the result will still be bad.

    Perhaps, but the two can still be separated to some extent. Bigger governments may incline more towards corruption (actually I think they do) but the two concerns are not identical, and corruption still deserves to be considered as a separate issue. An honest big government may still be bad, but a corrupt one is definitely worse.

    • #25
    • November 22, 2014, at 11:06 AM PST
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  26. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Rachel Lu:

    Insofar as [Obama did launch his political career by creating the impression of personal integrity], it seems to support my point more than vice-versa. Worked pretty well for him, no?

    Not really. It supports the point that creating the impression of integrity is important, irrespective of what your voting/policy record actually is.

    So you’d be all right with it if I only asked which candidates *appeared* to have integrity, as long as I don’t pretend like there’s any correlation with actual integrity?

    I don’t think the disconnect is quite so total as you seem to think. Sometimes people can recognize actual integrity, and you’re more likely to need it (to persuade people that you have it) if you’re on the conservative side, where the press won’t play up all your failings. Obama’s corruption was pretty well whitewashed by a compliant press. Conservatives will never be that lucky.

    • #26
    • November 22, 2014, at 11:11 AM PST
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  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Rachel Lu:

    I don’t think the disconnect is quite so total as you seem to think.

    Among normal people, no. Most people don’t have the kind of compartmentalization skills necessary to project an image of integrity without having integrity. (This lack of compartmentalization skills is itself an ingredient in integrity, in the sense that integer means intact or whole.)

    Many of us are uncompartmentalized enough that, if we try to behave as if we have integrity, we’ll ultimately teach ourselves to have more integrity; moreover, it’s oftentimes simply easier for us to create the appearance of having integrity by acting with integrity.

    Even among actors and politicians, the disconnect isn’t total. It’s just that ordinary people don’t face the same incentives to compartmentalize that actors and politicians do. An actor or politician who is superb at this kind of compartmentalization may achieve unparalleled success.

    It’s in a politician’s interest to sell his integrity. Some people just aren’t that good at selling the integrity they have. Others are very good at selling integrity whether they really have it or not.

    • #27
    • November 22, 2014, at 11:55 AM PST
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  28. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu Post author

    Milquetoast. It suddenly occurred to me that I got that wrong. I could go back and edit it, but for the sake of my humility, I’ll just leave the error.

    • #28
    • November 22, 2014, at 12:34 PM PST
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  29. Larry3435 Member

    Claire Berlinski: much to my surprise, people don’t seem to like being told they’re stupid and morally obtuse and that I’m smarter and more caring

    I dunno. They did vote for Obama. Of course, what he told them was that the other guys are stupid and morally obtuse; we’re smarter and more caring.

    Si, se puede!

    • #29
    • November 22, 2014, at 1:48 PM PST
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  30. Israel P. Inactive

    Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Trey Gowdy and John Bolton, but only two of these are serious candidates.

    • #30
    • November 22, 2014, at 3:16 PM PST
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