July 18, 2005

Raising the Bar

First, Clinton split hairs over whether getting blown by an intern in your office constitutes "sexual relations." I think there is room for debate on that point, but clearly getting blown by an intern in your office while you're married to someone else is not a highly ethical activity, whether it constitutes "sexual relations" or not.

Our current president, W, originally said he would fire anyone involved in leaking the identity of a CIA agent. Today, according to the NYT, he said he would fire anyone who committed a crime. While I would certainly hope that is the case regardless of the current scandal, one would like to see the president perhaps take a greater interest in ethics and less of an interest in splitting linguistic hairs. The fact that Karl Rove may be able to avoid actual indictment on a technicality (he did not utter the woman's name, though he certainly did clearly indicate her as a specific, unique individual) should be immaterial at this point. What Rove did was highly unethical, and how the president deals with the situation shines a bright light into his true character.

By changing his promise, Bush is essentially allowing unlimited room for having his staff filled with unethical manipulators of the law. As long as they know how to keep from being indicted, it does not matter to W how dirty or slimy or sleazy they may be.

In a world where a college football coach is fired for the ethical misstep of joining a basketball pool, and a basketball coach can be fired for having gone to a perfectly legal topless bar, it seems to me that perhaps we might consider raising the ethical standards for our elected officials.

I agree that Bush should fire anyone that has committed a crime on his staff. Isn't it a little troubling, though, that the NCAA has a stronger code of ethics than the white house?

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