How to Rate Political ‘Scandals’

 

Cuomo vs. Madigan vs. Newsom vs. … Cruz? We’ve been treated to a few “political scandals” as of late. Of course, they happen all the time, but four recent ones stand out.

First, the resignation and bribery investigation of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a 50-year Democratic fixture in the state’s politics, who just this week resigned from office (he had already stepped down as Speaker). Few politicians have had a stronger grip on a state’s political infrastructure than Speaker Madigan. But allegedly, Speaker Madigan turned ComEd, a large and heavily regulated state utility company, into a job and contracting service for supporters and political allies. I’m sure ratepayers there are interested.

Second, the unfolding COVID/Nursing Home crisis involving New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. We’ve long known about – and the media have largely ignored – his policy decisions early during the COVID pandemic to place COVID-positive patients back into long-term care facilities. Now, we find out that his office lied or, at least, withheld information about it to the federal government and, apparently, a federal investigation is underway.

Third, and admittedly this is now a bit dated, we have Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) visiting a ritzy Napa Valley restaurant, “The French Laundry,” with a group of lobbyists in a semi-confined space while he was ordering a lockdown and mask mandates in his state. Newsom admitted he made a mistake. But 1.5 million signatures later on petitions to recall the Governor, more related to his pandemic/lockdown management than the ill-advised restaurant visit, the damage was done.

Fourth, how many of you have not seen the stories about US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his ill-advised family trip to sunny Cancun during the midst of his state’s extreme weather event and subsequent power and water crises? Unlike Madigan and Cuomo, who have admitted to and apologized for nothing, Cruz (and Newsom, to be fair) admitted the trip was a mistake, as if Senators have much to do with controlling state power grids and energy distribution systems, or the subsequent loss of water, food supplies, etc. Much of Texas is returning to 70-degree weather next week.

I’m tempted to add another, the sorry episode of Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, for extracting her mother from a nursing home while she was forcing long-term care facilities to accept COVID-positive patients. That just scratches the surface of the Dr.’s abysmal record of mismanagement and incompetence, which continues as Pennsylvania trails most of the nation in administering COVID vaccines. But the real scandal may be President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Levine to be the Assistant Secretary of Health. In that role, the transgendered behavioral child psychologist will oversee all federal health policy, from COVID (and other) vaccine development and distribution to food safety. But let’s leave that aside for now.

I could also add a couple of alleged GOP “scandals” from the early outset of the pandemic, when two Senators, Richard Burr (R-NC), then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and now former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) (and frankly a couple of others) made some interesting stock trades just before the market fell(especially for those stocks they sold). However, both have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Some diehards still consider it a scandal, or at least poor judgment. Bad optics alone do not qualify as a scandal.

Now, which of these four scandals have you read most about? Just a guess, but the fourth one sure seems to dominate social media. Yes, it is the most current, perhaps. Most major networks like CNN and ABC are giving little coverage to the previous scandals, especially involving one of its major host’s brother, but boy, were they all over the Cruz trip. Independent/conservative journalist Andrew Muse was all over what United Airlines and CNN actually did, which looks a lot like a doxxing episode to me, and more newsworthy.

Nevertheless, these “scandals” offer an instructive way to assess degrees of outrage that should be assigned, and guide proper responses. They include:

Did your actions result in, or contribute to, someone’s death?

Did you trade and/or abuse your public office for personal or political benefit?

Are you guilty of hypocrisy?

Did you exercise poor political judgment?

Lastly, are you under official federal or state investigation for potential crimes?

These are pretty obvious. Being responsible, directly or indirectly, for the avoidable deaths of people, then trying to cover it up, strikes me as a big deal, right there at the top of my pyramid for genuine scandals. Same with trading your office illegally for personal or political benefit. Speaker Madigan allegedly carried water for ComEd in the legislature in exchange for them awarding nice jobs and contracts to his political supporters.

But hypocrisy and especially “bad optics” from a poorly thought-out decision? They may be embarrassments, and even politically damaging. But unless there are dead bodies, illegal payoffs, or criminal investigations, sorry, that’s not a scandal and not worth 3 minutes on ABC World News Tonight. Or much of time by anyone.

Oh, sure, Sen. Cruz is an easy mark. He’s notoriously unpopular in the minds of many, much of it from his 2016 presidential campaign. He came across as arrogant, smarmy, unctuous, and disingenuous, to many. I’ve met Sen. Cruz (disclosure – I voted for him in the 2016 Pennsylvania presidential GOP primary election) and think that characterization is unfair. His reelection margin in 2018 was by only a couple of percentage points, and Beto O’Rourke, his skateboard-riding opponent – mostly because he was just running against Cruz – gathered a mind-blowing $80 million in political campaign contributions and outside spending, if not more. Just as bad, he supported Trump and had the audacity to support holding off certification of Pennsylvania’s electoral college count due to a desire to investigate irregularities there.

But even people you may not like deserve a little fairness. Even from the media.”Cruzgate” is no scandal. It may be an embarrassment worthy of a few memes. Fine, and some are funny. But, really, to call it a scandal? That’s just stupid. The real scandal may be the media’s constant insults to our intelligence.

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  1. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    The Leftist hate machine doesn’t have an “off” button. It merely moves to the next target.

    • #1
  2. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Good on Cruz.

    Did is presence in Mexico cause a single Texan harm? Did anyone get their power restored 1 minute late because Sen Cruz wasn’t there?

    I am sorry he felt he had to do damage control and return – truly. 

     

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Cruz’s mistake was not going to his basement and flipping the big “ON” switch to turn back on all the power in Texas.

    Don’t all US senators have one of those for their states?

    • #3
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I’m tempted to add another, the sorry episode of Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, for extracting her mother from a nursing home while she was forcing long term care facilities to accept COVID-positive patients. That just scratches the surface of the Dr.’s abysmal record of mismanagement and incompetence, which continues as Pennsylvania trails most of the nation in administering COVID vaccines. But the real scandal may be President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Levine to be the Assistant Secretary of Health. In that role, the transgendered behavioral child psychologist will oversee all federal health policy, from COVID (and other) vaccine development and distribution to food safety. But let’s leave that aside for now.

    The good doctor is untouchable because of his her identity as cross dresser.

     

    • #4
  5. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Ilhan Omar marrying her brother. (Among other Omarian corruption.)

    • #5
  6. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    One might even think the abuse of Texas Senator Cruz is a smokescreen….

    Week into TX disaster, Biden meets with FEMA. (Biden had fired FEMA Director Pete Gaynor and failed to put an acting director in his place — a ‘senior official performing the duties’ scenario.)

    • #6
  7. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Ilhan Omar marrying her brother. (Among other Omarian corruption.)

    Absolutely, and the scandal continues to be completely ignored by just about everyone, including law enforcement. I do not get why she’s not behind bars or deported yet.

    • #7
  8. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Kelly D Johnston: The real scandal may be the media’s constant insults to our intelligence.

    No the real scandal is that a good part of the American citizenry buys into the presses garbage. Of course they should given what our educational system has done to them..

    • #8
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    One might even think the abuse of Texas Senator Cruz is a smokescreen….

    Week into TX disaster, Biden meets with FEMA. (Biden had fired FEMA Director Pete Gaynor and failed to put an acting director in his place — a ‘senior official performing the duties’ scenario.)

    FEMA does not respond to emergencies. They bring federal bureaucracy and federal dollars to help local governments afterward. Having lived through several federal declared emergencies the kindest thing anybody ever done was not to declare one. Once the feds arrive it is all fill out this form, get this permit, wait for somebody in DC to give permission before anything can get done. In our area we joke that a major flood is a tragedy but it requires the federal government to turn it into a disaster.

    • #9
  10. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Good on Cruz.

    Did is presence in Mexico cause a single Texan harm? Did anyone get their power restored 1 minute late because Sen Cruz wasn’t there?

    I am sorry he felt he had to do damage control and return – truly.

     

    Was there anything he could have done? Jealousy, just jealousy.

    • #10
  11. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Talk about a manufactured ‘scandal’. A couple questions/observations: I was under impression that airports were closed though reporting didn’t indicate which city or cities. I don’t know where in Texas Senator Cruz lives or was he flying out of Washington DC?

    Where and what are each and every member of the Texas state and federal legislators doing, why have we only heard about Cruz?

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Kelly D Johnston: But the real scandal may be President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Levine to be the Assistant Secretary of Health. In that role, the transgendered behavioral child psychologist will oversee all federal health policy, from COVID (and other) vaccine development and distribution to food safety. But let’s leave that aside for now.

    Why leave it aside for now? 

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I didn’t know about Ted Cruz’s vacation until I heard Dinesh D’Sousa talk about it. He faults Cruz for apologizing. 

    OK, now that we have that out of the way, can we talk about Levine? And forget her sexual identity problems and concentrate on her policy and special treatment of her mother. Do we want someone like that influencing national health care policy for any of us?

    • #13
  14. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Most of my social media is people saying “meh”. The sort of people who voted for Beto seem to think it’s a big deal but no one is taking the bait.

    • #14
  15. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    American media – if a ‘scandal’ (even if manufactured out of thin air) involves a Republican, report on the ‘scandal’ on a 24/7 basis. If it involves a democrat, either ignore or report on how the Republicans are taking advantage of the poor democrat who committed a scandal that was exposed.

    • #15
  16. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston: But the real scandal may be President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Levine to be the Assistant Secretary of Health. In that role, the transgendered behavioral child psychologist will oversee all federal health policy, from COVID (and other) vaccine development and distribution to food safety. But let’s leave that aside for now.

    Why leave it aside for now?

    Because there was a more recent example, and I’ve already written here and elsewhere previously about Dr. Levine’s escapades. “Her” issue is less about a scandal and more about gross incompetence.

    • #16
  17. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    • #17
  18. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston: But the real scandal may be President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Levine to be the Assistant Secretary of Health. In that role, the transgendered behavioral child psychologist will oversee all federal health policy, from COVID (and other) vaccine development and distribution to food safety. But let’s leave that aside for now.

    Why leave it aside for now?

    Because there was a more recent example, and I’ve already written here and elsewhere previously about Dr. Levine’s escapades. “Her” issue is less about a scandal and more about gross incompetence.

    Hey, I resemble that statement!

    • #18
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    This is perfect! I had to steal a copy.

    • #19
  20. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Ilhan Omar marrying her brother. (Among other Omarian corruption.)

    Absolutely, and the scandal continues to be completely ignored by just about everyone, including law enforcement. I do not get why she’s not behind bars or deported yet.

    To tell the truth, I did have a somewhat morbid wish that this was true so that we could see what their children would look like. But, that’s just me…

    • #20
  21. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    Week into TX disaster, Biden meets with FEMA. (Biden had fired FEMA Director Pete Gaynor and failed to put an acting director in his place — a ‘senior official performing the duties’ scenario.)

    Yep. The double standard is wrong, but it’s also normal.

    What was unusual was Heidi Cruz’s text messages being shared with and supposedly confirmed by a Democrat newspaper (indicating two sources) in addition to an airline passenger list being leaked. That’s three people eager to injure a politician’s reputation by way of his family in ways unlikely to remain secret.

    I see this as an extension of recent incidents in which politicians’ families were harrassed at their homes. It’s the behavior of lawless, shameless thugs.

    • #21
  22. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526
    • #22
  23. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    *duplicate*

    • #23
  24. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    With all due respect, I think that you omitted the largest political scandal of my lifetime, the Trump insurrection of 1/6.

    • #24
  25. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    With all due respect, I think that you omitted the largest political scandal of my lifetime, the Trump insurrection of 1/6.

    Counselor, do you suggest that you disagree with the entire legal system? President Donald J. Trump was acquitted of this specious charge. Why do you ignore the U.S. Senate’s constitutional decision and subject him to double jeopardy?

    • #25
  26. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Biden Inc has been willfully ignored by Corporate media. It is not just Hunter – Biden’s siblings have used his name for fun and profit

    It Hunter’s last name was Trump, how many headlines would he be in?

    • #26
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I’m not sure to rate this as one scandal or twenty.

    • #27
  28. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    With all due respect, I think that you omitted the largest political scandal of my lifetime, the Trump insurrection of 1/6.

    Counselor, do you suggest that you disagree with the entire legal system? President Donald J. Trump was acquitted of this specious charge. Why do you ignore the U.S. Senate’s constitutional decision and subject him to double jeopardy?

    I think that you are missing the point. For the first time in American history, more than one of the President’s party voted in the Senate to convict him. Immediately after Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump, he spoke on the floor of the Senate saying that Trump was practically and morally responsible for the 1/6 insurrection.

    Double jeopardy is inapplicable here. That applies to a criminal proceeding, which impeachment is clearly not.

    • #28
  29. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Ilhan Omar marrying her brother. (Among other Omarian corruption.)

    Absolutely, and the scandal continues to be completely ignored by just about everyone, including law enforcement. I do not get why she’s not behind bars or deported yet.

    Maybe it is a “cultural norm” to marry your brother? Come on love is love!

    • #29
  30. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    With all due respect, I think that you omitted the largest political scandal of my lifetime, the Trump insurrection of 1/6.

    Counselor, do you suggest that you disagree with the entire legal system? President Donald J. Trump was acquitted of this specious charge. Why do you ignore the U.S. Senate’s constitutional decision and subject him to double jeopardy?

    I think that you are missing the point. For the first time in American history, more than one of the President’s party voted in the Senate to convict him. Immediately after Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump, he spoke on the floor of the Senate saying that Trump was practically and morally responsible for the 1/6 insurrection.

    Double jeopardy is inapplicable here. That applies to a criminal proceeding, which impeachment is clearly not.

    And you still refuse to accept the final decision of the Body that the Constitution gave the power of the decision to. He was acquitted of a farcial impeachment. Twice!

    • #30