Today’s Political Hall of Shame
Trigger warning: this story is quite judgmental. It is especially harsh because politicians are supposed to be good at managing their images. Yet sometimes they seem uniquely bad at an important skill in their line of work.
They are also supposed to be leaders, especially when times are tough.
A small part of what we think of as “politics” is necessary because we want people to choose their leaders and representatives. The rest is attention-getting pure and simple. Highly paid attention getting. In that respect, it is no different from professional and college sports, all of which have had the good grace to cancel upcoming games. Politics should do the same except for the bare minimum needed to meet electoral requirements.
Today’s political hall of shame begins with Bernie Sanders. For the last few weeks, he had the field to himself. Staying in a race with Joe Biden, the near-certain Democratic Party nominee, is a pathetic example of a doddering old man wrestling for the political spotlight.
It is hard to imagine a better example of selfishness and failure to be part of a team then staying in a hopeless race simply because you can still raise money and pay your campaign staff.
The act of asking for contributions, especially from small donors, is to deny them money they may need in weeks to come.
Reporters, it is time to do your jobs. At every opportunity, ask if any member of the Sanders family is receiving any payment whatever that was sourced from campaign contributions. Likely, any such payments will be legal, but legal does not make them right.
Though Senator Sanders had the hall of shame field to himself for the last few weeks, suddenly along came another group of Senators who engaged in behavior that would properly send the rest of us to jail. They traded stocks on inside information. They were briefed on the coronavirus before the market dropped by a third.
According to USA Today, here are at least a few of them for all to scorn. Of course, they have defenses that they hope will get them through the short attention spans of the moment.
Richard Burr (R.NC)
James Inhofe (R. OK)
Kelly Loeffler (R.GA)
Dianne Feinstein (D. CA)
Likely these are the tip of the iceberg since the list includes neither House members, nor congressional staffers.
For good measure, Kelly Loeffler is married to Jeffrey Sprecher. Guess what he does? He is the chair of the New York Stock Exchange.
To be fair, Senators engage in insider trading because they passed laws allowing it. I bet you’d like it if they would pass laws allowing you to do it too.
Reporters question: find every Senator and Congressman who voted in favor of those laws and ask them why they favored stealing from other investors.
Finally, a group award to President Trump’s staff. If you don’t think he is hurting his reelection prospects at every daily press briefing, you need to have your heads examined. Wrestle him to the ground if you have to. He is old and fat and should not put up much of a fight.
The President does not make today’s hall of shame because he can’t help himself.
I put the word “today’s” in the title to this story to leave room for future candidates.