Two weeks ago Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign admitted to an extra-marital affair. Last week, the childish melodrama of Governor Mark Sanford made big headlines. Make no mistake – there are more GOP scandals in the offing.
Those of us who don’t suffer from amnesia recall very well what happened with Illinois’ own Dennis Hastert’s pro-homosexual staff who looked the other way when Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley had inappropriate (to say the least) contact with under-aged male interns.
As we reported two and a half years ago, the U.S. House’s Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the ethics committee) issued its 89-page investigative report on the handling of the House page scandal involving Republican Congressman Mark Foley:
The bipartisan committee’s report is quite devastating in its description of failed leadership at the highest levels in the Republican Congress. The report concludes: “a pattern of conduct was exhibited among many individuals to remain willfully ignorant of the potential consequences of former Representative Foley’s conduct with respect to House pages.”
“Willfully ignorant” – that describes a mentality that Illinois Republicans know all too well. Those two words explain as well as anything why the Illinois GOP finds itself dead in the water today.
Three and a half years later not much has changed. Yes, the phenomenon is bipartisan. A couple of years before that, another homosexual sex scandal ended the political career of Democrat New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy. But who cares about the Democrats moral failings? Democrats don’t, so why should I?
My concern was stated perfectly by the quote in Mark Steyn’s column from last Friday. To repeat:
As my National Review colleague Kathryn Jean Lopez observed, a sex scandal a week from the Republicans will guarantee us government health care by the fall…
Illinois conservative Republicans had better start engaging in the political process in higher numbers or forget ever checking the descent of this once great state – or nation. We don’t need any Illinois Republican sex scandals – and many activists are well aware of the potential problems regarding several of the men holding office or seeking to run statewide on the GOP side in 2010.
And when you see posts like this one (click here), it’s time for our party’s leadership to sit down and have a chat with certain “rising stars.” The fact that this chat hasn’t taken place yet is why we need a complete house cleaning of our Illinois Republican Party leadership.
In Mark Steyn’s column he wrote about a question he was asked recently following the Mark Sanford news conference:
Why are politicians so weird?
That’s the question that has plagued me for a long time. I should have double-majored in college in both political science and psychology.
It’s not easy to lure people into politics because there is so much unpleasantness present in the political arena. Much of that unpleasantness is, unfortunately, a personnel matter. Steyn makes the point that many of the people willing and able to put up with it all, are –
– …almost by definition, deeply weird. So big government more or less guarantees rule by creeps and misfits. It’s just a question of how well they disguise it.
Quite often those who survive in politics have almost a sociopath’s ability to disguise it. Others do a lousy job but get an assist from allies and a friendly press.
Those who support the Republican Party Platform principles have enough challenges facing them – they don’t have time to put up with odd or perverse behavior from their candidates or their elected officials.
I’ve often noted how the political right has ceded far too much ground in K-12 and higher education, the media, and the entertainment industry. The left dominates the culture – and until that changes, every stupid scandal that hits our side costs us dearly.
We need to elect a better class of people. To do that, we’re going to need a troop surge of GOP activists at all levels, those who are mentally healthy and of strong character to quit being citizens in name only. Everyone who can give time or resources or both – needs to step up.
As Newt Gingrich has said, “On the really big things it is repetition that matters.” So I will repeat: In Plato’s Republic the sentiment is expressed that a punishment exists for those who fail to engage the political process:
Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself.
Conservatives can see the consequences of being ruled by creeps and misfits every day. They should be tired of it by now.