A Question of Character

Hillary's quite a character - too bad she hasn't got any character.

We are so used to being lied to by our politicians that it's refreshing when one commits a gaffe - that is, accidentally speaks God's honest truth.  Such was the sad misfortune of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.):

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.

Well, duh!  It would be wonderful if politicians truly cared about finding out the truth regardless of the underlying political effects, but the last time this happened was when Richard Nixon was forced to resign because his own Republican party said they wouldn't support him in the upcoming impeachment trial.  As Bill Clinton's experience showed some decades later, those days are over: now, a sitting Democrat would have to be caught with a dead girl and a live boy before he'd be at any risk of impeachment.  No matter the severity of the crime, his party will stonewall, obfuscate, obstruct, and the media will go along.

Which is why it's so gobsmacking to hear Rep. McCarthy hark back to one of the earliest principles of American politics: that the character of our officials actually matters and is a legitimate, relevant subject of debate during campaigning.  Indeed, our Founders depended upon it:

As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. [emphasis added]

 - Federalist 55

Our Founders had faith that there were good men to lead their new country, but they worried about what would happen if Americans lost their sense of the importance of character in leadership.  John Adams warned,

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Scum Rises To The Top

Even today, while our elites manifestly couldn't care less about actual morality, they do worry that the voting public will be repulsed by debauchery if it becomes too extreme or too visible.  When John Edwards was running for president in 2008, his staffers privately worried about the consequences of his personal behavior - not because they were morally offended by Edwards' adulterous affairs while his wife was on her deathbed, but because they were afraid the truth would come out after the nomination but before the general election, giving victory to the Republicans.  The liberal media felt the same way: despite abundant evidence, no major media outlet would touch the story until the National Enquirer, of all publications, rubbed their noses in a nationwide, thoroughly proved front-page scoop backed up by unarguable evidence.

Alas, even this residual tip of the hat to morality isn't always in play.  One might suppose that Barney Frank's decades-long homosexual liaisons, including a torrid affair with a senior executive at Fannie Mae which Frank's committee was supposed to be regulating, and allowing a homosexual prostitution ring to be operated out of his Washington townhouse at a time when this was still illegal, might have been something best kept in the shadows.  But no.  Rep. Frank's perversions and conflicts of interest have been public knowledge for many decades, and his Massachusetts voters never so much as raised an eyebrow.

Yet morality is not entirely dead all across the fruited plain.  Americans have known for decades that truth and the Clintons are, at best, distant and occasional acquaintances - but they mostly felt, generally speaking, that ol' Slick Willie had their best interests at heart.  The Clinton years were the best times for America that many voters can remember; it's been all downhill ever since regardless of which party holds the White House.  That made voters inclined to accept Slick Willie's "Aw, shucks" manner of explaining away his transgressions.

It's different when a politician is lying about an incident where someone got killed, to say nothing of that someone being an American ambassador.  Nobody wants to execute Hillary for treason or murder over the fate of J. Christopher Stevens, but would a little apology about his death be so very bad?  Apologies and truth-finding can't raise the dead, but contrary to Hillary's reprehensible assertion, they do make a difference.

  How many Americans did FDR send to their deaths with the best of intentions, and how many died due to mistakes he himself made?  A great many, but Americans knew he felt every one, and trusted that he always did his very best to keep deaths as few as possible.  As Secretary of State Colin Powell put it, "It's really hard when I give an order and my friends come back in body bags."

What you don't do is lie about mistakes that lead to deaths of our people.  As the old political saying goes, "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up."

Rep. McCarthy's untimely gaffe seems to have cost him the Speakership of the House.  Nevertheless, he was perfectly correct to point out that if the Republicans hadn't investigated, the email issue would never have seen the light of day.  His observing that Hillary's poll numbers are dropping indicates that he knew that the voters wouldn't appreciate her lying, secretive ways, which is interesting in itself - he too thinks Americans still do care about honesty and character and still do find compulsive liars disturbing.

The Democrats are disregarding Hillary's criminal actions which the email investigation has helped uncover and are saying that his investigation is just a partisan attack on Hillary.  Regardless, the Benghazi investigation needs to continue until we really, truly know all the mistakes that were made so that we can learn from them.

And whether that results in America being ready for Hillary to go to the White House or to the big house, that's for voters to decide.  At least they will be contemplating an issue that really matters.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
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