CSotD: Who needs logic if you’ve got power?

The last minute continuing resolution renders a lot of this past week’s political cartoons obsolete, but Paul Noth’s panel is not only worthy of inclusion anyway but can serve as a reminder that, while the immediate crisis may have (mostly) passed, the overall problem remains.

As others have observed, the Constitution was written with the presumption that the people in charge would behave in good faith. Maybe there is some tie-in to the “elitism” accusation that gets thrown at the Founders, but we’ve had good folks in Congress who likely never read Locke and Hobbes.

And when we did finally come to loggerheads over the slavery issue, those in favor of continuing it had the decency to secede rather than trying to melt into the system while simultaneously working to destroy it.

We’ve come a long way, baby, and not in a good direction. There are some rules-not-laws that could be changed, so that one screwball ex-football coach can’t hold the entire military hostage and that Congress as a whole can control the above-cited “ten biggest weirdos.”

But we’ve also got Vivek Ramaswamy promising to end birth-right citizenship as president, ignoring the fact that (A) it would require a Constitutional amendment, and (B) he’d be making himself ineligible to hold that office, given that his folks weren’t American citizens when he was born here.

I don’t think it’s “elitist” to ask that those who seek public office take a glance at the document they will have to promise to uphold and defend.

But I also think we need to deal with what we’ve got, not with the leaders the Founders had in mind, and that calls for some fine-tuning and safety measures, since assuming common sense and decency has become hopelessly naive.

Rob Rogers is hardly the first and only observer to point out that the Democrats hold their party members to a set of ethics while the Republicans have become a cult of personality in which Dear Leader can, literally, do no wrong.

The problem with this is that when ethical people attempt to counter unethical people, they’re at an immediate disadvantage because they try to work within a system for which their opponents have no respect or regard.

Richard Nixon, who actively worked to subvert the system, had enough integrity that he brought about his own demise. Even back then, his groupies said he should have burned the tapes, but, for all his ethical shortcomings, he wasn’t that dishonest.

I suppose you had to be there, but we did make Gordon Liddy into a rightwing hero, revered for the steadfast courage with which he broke the law and undermined our nation.

And then we did the same a decade later for Oliver North, when he destroyed evidence and helped save Reagan from being held responsible for the Iran-Contra affair.

After that, the “cancer on the presidency” of which John Dean warned just kinda metastasized, I guess.

The result, as Ward Sutton indicates, is that Yeats was right: While the MAGAts are full of passionate intensity, the Democrats lack all conviction, not simply objecting to the actions of Trump and his minions, but second-guessing themselves in a frenzy of what threatens to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Part of the outcome is that people who once shouted “Go back to Russia!” at liberal dissidents are now cozying up to Putin and pulling for his victory in Ukraine, while, as Jimmy Margulies (KFS) adds, working to undermine democracy in this country, waving the flag not as a symbol of the nation but as a team jersey to show which side they’re on.

And permit me a moment of “Told You So,” because yesterday our Congress stripped funding for Ukraine’s defense from the Continuing Resolution on the anniversary of Neville Chamberlain’s September 29,1938 “Peace for Our Time” speech in which he assured Britain and her allies that Hitler would be appeased with a small chunk of Czechoslovakia, and if you don’t know how that turned out, ask your grandparents. Assuming they survived it.

The told-you-so part being that I threw this graphic together in 2014, when we were all hoping that letting Putin have a small piece of Ukraine would solve the problem. There are times when being right doesn’t bring a whole lot of satisfaction.

Max Boot now points out that many of the same people trying to stop us from helping Ukraine, on the theory that opposing Russian aggression could spark a war, are advocating that we send troops into Mexico to see if attacking the drug cartels would be as fun, easy and risk-free as invading Iraq and Afghanistan proved to be.

So, yeah, I told you so, but so did Tom Toro in this now-classic New Yorker cartoon and Max Boot is telling you so and nobody is listening so what’s the use?

As John Sebastian put it, “I’ll try to tell him all the things I’ve done, Relating to what he can do when he becomes a man, And still he’ll stick his fingers in the fan.”

Or as Phil Ochs wrote, “It’s always the old to lead us to the war, always the young to fall.”

If your kids haven’t got heel spurs, you’d better go buy them some.

Meanwhile, as Drew Sheneman points out, the Bob Menendez story makes less and less sense.

For one thing, if he was going to hoard all that money and gold, even if, as he explains, he got it by withdrawing it from his savings account and it only coincidentally appears to be traceable to his fellow defendants, why was it at his house?

You’d think the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would have heard about the Cayman Islands or at least Switzerland.

Then again, you’d think someone whose parents left Cuba six years before the overthrow of Batista would find a better excuse than that he did it because Fidel had confiscated his family’s property.

Or at least find a way to fit that claim in with his previous pride in coming from poor-but-honest roots, his father having been a carpenter and his mother a seamstress. What was confiscated, a thimble and a pack of roofing nails?

Bob, you’re no Robin Hood.

Except maybe this one. And even he was required to verify those expenses.

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Who needs logic if you’ve got power?

  1. The one thing that gives me hope is the younger generations are putting up less and less with this BS from the Republicans, and that the attempts to strip them of having a voice is only adding fuel to that fire.

  2. Dear Mike, you beautifully hit so many important points in this article. Thanks.
    We see that It is true that liars speak quickly and shout loudly, while honesty takes time to be thoughtful and speaks at a reasonable volume.
    Also, I agree with what AJ says about being hopeful about the younger generations. The concern i have is that all the increasing rightwingnut destruction of our educational system (banning books, censoring classes, distorting history, indoctrinating instead of educating) will leave future generations with an incomplete and biased picture of history and never having been taught objective critical thinking skills.

  3. I think that both Menendez and McDonnell were guilty as sin.

    However, I hope that Menendez will be treated within exactly the same legal framework that Bob McDonnell was.
    If the prosecutors fail to identify an ‘official action’ that represents the ‘quid’ which was purchased with all that ‘quo’, then he should walk, just as McDonnell did. Otherwise we’re just proving that everything is legal so long as you have an (R) next to your name in the papers.

    The DNC should still denounce him, call for him to resign, and declare that he will never get one dime of campaign financing from the DNC or any local Chapters thereof. THAT’s the place for the ‘moral high ground’. Not throwing him into prison for the same thing that Republicans have walked on.

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