Sometimes you just stand on the sidelines and cheer both sides

Senator Robert Menendez (D) is mired in a scandal about not getting his money’s worth from Amex reward points (oh, and bribery, corruption, and other quaint Hudson County political peccadilloes). He and a Florida doctor have been indicted on federal corruption charges, and the Senator is not taking this quietly. But what surprised me was a few pieces on various right-leaning blogs that suggested we should support the Senator because the prosecution is a piece of political payback for not following the White House policy line. Really? The Senator as much as admits to ethically questionable behavior (his defense is that it wasn’t illegal), he’s a pro-statist politician who never met a gun control bill he didn’t like, AND the White House has to expend scarce political capital to nail him?

I’ll be popping some popcorn while the Democratic Party’s infighting spills out into the news cycle.

14 thoughts on “Sometimes you just stand on the sidelines and cheer both sides”

  1. My understanding is that some on the right are concerned about an actual practical legislative problem arising from his legal problems. They’re not sticking up for him because they’ll stick up for anyone attacked by the White House, they’re sticking up for him because he’s the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, and despite being wrong on so many other things he’s on the right side regarding Iran and Cuba. If he loses his committee position, it’s questionable whether the Democrats will replace him with anyone who’ll agree with the GOP on some very important issues, and drag other Democrats along with him.

    And of course, as much as admitting he’s done something unethical isn’t the same thing as being guilty of anything. As odious as his positions about guns in particular and liberty in general are, he’s still entitled to due process.

    1. I happen to hold a bit of an old fashioned position that legislators (along with other government officials) should both be and appear to be ethically unimpeachable. And that not everything that is legal is proper.

      He accepted cash or cash equivalent for favors, at this point he’s limited to arguing the details as to whether this was legal or not. That’s not the behavior I want to see in a legislator. We pay them a decent amount of money for many reasons, one of which is so that they don’t get paid for favors.

      1. I happen to hold a bit of an old fashioned position that legislators (along with other government officials) should both be and appear to be ethically unimpeachable.

        I used to agree with you. However, I have now come to think that setting up such grandiose expectations just entrenches the political theater we all hate.

        Politicians are no less interested in personal aggrandizement and profit than the rest of us. Pretending otherwise requires they hide a great deal of themselves and their arrangements behind a shroud – one that they are all maintain for each other even when they are on different teams (hint: they know the real teams are “Us v Them” not “Dem v Rep”).

        Behind that shroud exists far more treachery than would exist if we would just let them all be the jackasses we know all people are.

        My theory is that by setting high artificial standards, we end up with lower outcomes because the theater overrides the truth. Legislators are supposed to be “of the people”, yet we expect they be better than us. Then we complain (wait for it…) when they act “better than us”.

        Should they follow the laws and should they be held to account for breaking them? Absolutely. But I don’t expect them to be any more magnanimous in their public life than we are in our private life. The sooner we start looking at them as nothing more than incarnations of our selves, the better.

        Just random thoughts.

        1. I have alluded to this, but one of the reasons I don’t like like suggestion to make a term of office Hobbsian (nasty, brutish, and short) is that I want the official pay and perquisites of the office to be worth it; IE, that a bribe be more than their job’s worth. There are practical limits to this, of course; but I don’t mind paying them a little more than the power they wield is worth; because someone’s going to, it may as well be the voters. The corollary is then that a legislator who is caught taking a bribe should have the book heaved at him or be forced to resign. For reasons that might be familiar to students of the fall of the Roman Republic, I’d prefer that resignation clears the slate.

    2. The administration’s position on Cuba I haven’t been following all that closely, but the bits I’ve seen, I’m either no opinion or mildly in favor of. What the heck is the point of continuing to ostracize Cuba 25 years after the Berlin Wall came down? To prop up sugar prices? It sure isn’t to destroy communism, because the past 25 years have eshown that the best way to do THAT is to trade with the Communists.

  2. And let’s not forget that stuff that came up about a year ago involving possibly underage prostitutes in another country

    1. That claim was proved to be false and it is speculated the Cuban intelligence planted that story.

  3. It’s kind of nice to know that the Democrat party is also vulnerable to infighting, and that it’s not just a GOP thing.

    1. s/”to know”/”be shown” – because our unwritten system of government hides the coalition building phase of forming a government under the covers of the primaries and intraparty politicking, the infighting on both sides is less obvious. For a variety of reasons, this spat got splashed onto the front pages.

    1. In this thread, AndyN lays out the reasons for the Right to defend him. Online, The Federalist Papers blog, among others. I’ll admit it seems to be a bit of outrage against the “selective prosecution.”

      1. You mean Do you have a link? Sorry, my search-fu is not working out today….

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