To talk about a sleazy politician is almost always to be guilty of redundancy.
What kind of person gets ambitious for public office?
What kind of person wants to have that power so much that they are willing to invest themselves in winning the population contests required to acquire it?
I don’t believe every politician is a worthless human being—but I think the vast majority are and the headlines substantiate that belief almost every day.
In general, the Democrats have an easier time of dealing with it because, when you choose the Democrat Party as your vehicle for gaining power and prestige, then most of the vices that come with your ambitions and lusts for power can be celebrated as civil rights.
But another vehicle that can carry you to political prominence is the Republican Party, which gains what it wants by appealing to a different constituency.
However, this fact doesn’t guarantee that the people using that vehicle have the same noble character they portray to win office.
Our latest example: Missouri Speaker of the House, John Diehl.
Diehl is a married, 49-year-old father of three who decided that a college intern would make a great concubine. His embarrassing text messages to her got revealed, exposing the nature of their relationship.
(Yes, I know we think we have moved beyond concubines. But if the shoe fits…)
Here is his apology as found in the Kansas City Star:
I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.
Just like Obama claiming full responsibility, “the buck stops here” is effectively meaningless. He isn’t resigning even his speakership, let alone his office. And while he is quick to “ask for forgiveness,” he never apologizes for sinning or for betraying his wife. Or for seducing someone into a relationship that could not possibly be good for her. No, he had “poor judgment.”
“I will begin immediately working to restore the trust…” No, you are further damaging it. Your apology is almost as bad as the things you need to apologize for.
And yet the Republicans are circling the wagons. As another article in the Kansas City Star reports,
Late in the evening, House Republicans met for more than an hour to discuss the revelations about Diehl. While caucus meetings typically take place in the Capitol basement, this one was in a hearing room attached to the Speaker’s office. That allowed Diehl to avoid the glaring eye of a growing contingent of media gathered outside his door.
Emerging after the meeting, Republican lawmakers quietly returned to their offices, muttering that Diehl was still speaker but offering no details about what he told them.
And the Republican Lieutenant Governor is completely supportive of Diehl
The Democrats are making a big deal about it, and it is tough to stomach the hypocrisy from people who are going to favor another Clinton in the White House. Nevertheless, I’m not going to let Democrat hypocrisy turn me into another kind of hypocrite and neither should any other Conservative. We should never make excuses for this kind of behavior.
I’m still trying to figure out the meaning of the comment made by another state Republican:
Former Missouri state Sen. John Lamping, a Republican from suburban St. Louis, said the texts suggest an unacceptable political environment in the state Capitol.
“This epitomizes the culture in Jeff City,” he said. “This is what happens. … This is a high-profile, apparently well-documented circumstance, but it is not an isolated incident. It is standard procedure. It’s remarkable.”
Is he saying Republicans do this all the time but usually get away with it?
One last detail that may or may not accurately reflect Diehl’s character: When the text messages were discovered on his temporary concubine’s phone, it was learned that she had given him the name “Frank Underwood” from the Netflix series, “House of Cards.”