October 26, 2007

Friday continued

Just a couple of more items. First is another reason why religion in politics is such a bad idea. I used to assume that religious conservatives were moral. I guess I grew up that way. And so many people around me growing up were and are highly moral and principled people. Bush and those religious conservatives supporting him have all undermined that belief. As I have said repeatedly, the fact that religious conservatives have been silent on torture has completely undermined many of my assumptions.

But not all. I have to admit that because Mike Huckabee is a nice guy, funny and charming, I just assumed that he was a highly principled person. I knew I disagreed with him on many issues and shudder that we could have a President who doesn't believe in evolution overseeing how science dollars are spent (as if our current president isn't bad enough), but basically assumed that he would bring a genuine morality to the office. His attack on Hillary over the Moveon Petraeus ad was a warning, but The American Spectator suggests that he has serious ethical problems:
Fourteen times, the ethics commission -- a respected body, not a partisan witch-hunt group -- investigated claims against Huckabee. Five of those times, it officially reprimanded him. And, as only MSNBC among the big national media has reported at any real length, there were lots of other mini-scandals and embarrassments along the way.

He used public money for family restaurant meals, boat expenses, and other personal uses. He tried to claim as his own some $70,000 of furniture donated to the governor's mansion. He repeatedly, and obstinately, against the pleadings even from conservative columnists and editorials, refused to divulge the names of donors to a "charitable" organization he set up while lieutenant governor -- an outfit whose main charitable purpose seemed to be to pay Huckabee to make speeches. Then, as a kicker, he misreported the income itself from the suspicious "charity."

Huckabee has been criticized, reasonably so, for misusing the state airplane for personal reasons. And he and his wife, Janet, actually set up a "wedding gift registry" (they had already been married for years) to which people could donate as the Huckabees left the governorship, in order to furnish their new $525,000 home.
I am sure some of this can be explained. But all of it? And shame on me for simply assuming that a Baptist minister (no offense to Tony) is more moral than the other politicians in this mix.


And speaking of politicians, let me say the first positive thing on this blog about Fred Thompson. His support of Scooter Libby was and is indefensible. And his other defense of the Bush administration tactics makes him unelectable in my mind. But at least he disagrees with Cheney:
"Thompson agreed that he didn't share the views of Vice President Cheney when it comes to the supremacy of the executive branch.

"No, I think the constitution in times of war, especially, is very definitive about that," he said. "The president is the commander in chief, but the Congress has the power of the budget. The power of the purse. So everything has to go through that prism. So it’s divided power in the constitution. Our founding fathers divided that up. Divided it up at the federal level, the idea being that things like Watergate should be made very difficult to happen. So no one branch of the government can misuse power.""
Now if Republicans would only live by these ideals.

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