integrity

A Low Barr for President Trump

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks during his confirmation hearing at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., 16 January 2019. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It seems worth reminding of our American time and circumstance. Sometimes disbelief is not answered by asking, “How is this true?” but, rather, by considering environmental conditions within the range of observation; sometimes the question runs, “How is this not untrue?”

Those who marvel at the point of Mr. Barr’s private-sector memo denouncing the Mueller investigation being over four times longer than Attorney General Barr’s summary of an investigation he loathed should simply remember that a public attorney is still an attorney. We might well have our own opinions of turpitude and integrity vis à vis the Attorney General and the President he serves, but within the boundaries of what we might understand about Mr. Barr’s outlook, it is worth considering how the summary he released would fail to equal obstruction, misprision, or other such offense against either the law or his license to practice, and seek its meaning therein.

In the moment, the discourse seems almost as if we all saw the sleight coming, watched it happen right in front of us, yet pretend to believe it, anyway. It’s almost as if the years Americans spent watching and complaining about politicians, lawyers, and PR flaks splitting hairs and manipulating language, we are supposed to look upon this most bizarre circumstance as if such notions have never occurred to our tabula rasa innocence.

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Image note: U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks during his confirmation hearing at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., 16 January 2019. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Terrific (Nobody Dies)

#SomethingTerrific | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID01). [Detail of photo by John Miller/Associated Press]

Let us try a compromise: Just don’t call him “pro-life”. Or, perhaps, we should begin in the moment, as Kristine Phillips tells it for the Washington Post:

A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients.

“You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said.

“That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

The boos instantly drowned him out.

The congressman from Idaho’s First Congressional District and founding member of the House Freedom Caucus might have discovered a new apex for the absolute value of conservative political rhetoric. To the other, tempting as it seems to wonder if e’er so thoughtless bovine excrement was spoken, we do happen to be speaking both of Congress and conservatives, so, yeah, actually, lots. Still, though, Rep. Labrador reminds without question the challenge of abiding no integrity.

(more…)

Mr. Paul’s Integrity

"U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks in Washington on Dec. 2, 2014." (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

“He has integrity. That’s pretty much it in a nut shell.”

Dominic Damiano

While we’re on the subject of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the question arises as to what, exactly, is this myth of integrity about the Kentucky junior.

There is, certainly, Simon Maloy’s consideration of Paul’s coming presidential run―

The true “compromise” that’s happening here is on Rand Paul’s much-vaunted libertarian principles, which he’s shown an eager willingness to shed as he moves closer and closer to announcing his presidential candidacy. He debuted on the national scene as a Republican who would stand on principle to buck the Republican establishment, and since then he’s steadily diluted his own positions to bring them into closer alignment with the mainstream of the party. The Rand Paul who once scoffed at the Republican “hawks” and “interventionists” has since joined their ranks in calling for a sustained military campaign to “destroy” the Islamic State. He used to support cutting aid to Israel, but now denies ever having espoused that position.

Reversals like these also undercut what is supposed to be the core of Rand Paul’s appeal: that he’s a “different” kind of Republican who can hold on to hardcore conservatives while simultaneously poaching traditionally Democratic voters. “Rand is the Republican who has the best chance of keeping and energizing the base while going into their constituencies,” a Paul aide said last August. “It’s kind of dangerous to have a Republican like Rand.” With each flip-flop, Rand is turning himself into the thing he can’t afford to be: just another Republican.

―but even that examination of a “spectacular crash” starts with the erroneous presupposition that the fake libertarian was ever a “man of principle”. And perhaps it is true that he was in some context a man of principle, staunchly dedicated to being a racist and misogynist with some assertion of integrity about his supremacist paranoia, but that doesn’t mean he should be allowed anywhere near children.

And with such a definition of “integrity”, neither, it seems, should Mr. Damiano.

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McLaughlin, Tom. “Rand Paul hosts fundraising dinner in Destin”. Northwest Florida Daily News. 30 March 2015.

Maloy, Simon. “Rand Paul’s spectacular crash: How a man of principle turned into a generic politician”. Salon. 26 March 2015.