“I did nothing legally wrong.”
Now there’s a hell of a re-election slogan.
So it’s come to this. Senator John Ensign—who called for the impeachment of the president who said, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”—has declared himself unimpeachable because he can’t be legally prosecuted.
What a searing indictment of public officials in the 21st century. The “Ensign Standard” excuses any kind of moral or ethical behavior, like schtooping your campaign aide who is married to your staff aide and giving her a raise and her son a job.
The hubris of public officials like John Ensign and Mark Sanford should be shocking. What’s shocking, however, is that it doesn’t seem that shocking anymore. Unfortunately, it appears to be just more business as usual and we collectively yawn and give these jokers a “Stay in Politics Free” card.
As Bob Dole once asked, “Where’s the outrage?”
I don’t claim any moral or ethical high ground, but I also have chosen not to run for public office. Shouldn’t there be a higher standard of conduct for public officials? Does it really take finding $90,000 in cold, hard cash parked in a refrigerator on its way to a bribe in Nigeria (thank you, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson) to get these bums out of office?
We are making latter day Rome look virtuous.
Is it time for a Ten Commandments for politicians:
1. Don’t lie
2. Don’t cheat
3. Don’t have affairs with aides
4. Don’t hire relatives of aides’ with whom you are having an affair
5. Don’t claim immunity because your activity is not technically prosecutable
6. Don’t use government aircraft for dangerous liaisons
7. Don’t hike the Appalachian Trail
8. Don’t go looking for that “sparking thing”
9. Don't make foreign bed chambers a rationale for chamber of commerce trips
10. Do resign when found guilty of any of the above
As vice chairman of Public Strategies and president of Maverick Media, Mark McKinnon has helped meet strategic challenges for candidates, causes, and individuals, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, and Bono. McKinnon is co-chair of Arts & Labs, a collaboration between technology and creative communities that have embraced today’s rich Internet environment to deliver innovative and creative digital products to consumers.