A Sad Political Obituary
‘The Relish of Duplicitousness’
By Ladson F. Mills III
If as the old saying goes ‘hypocrisy is vices affirmation of virtue’ Harry Reid can never be accused of being a hypocrite. Whatever virtues he may have once possessed are now as defunct as Hannibal’s Legions.
A December 8th Washington Examiner editorial ‘Good Riddance to Harry Reid’, lays out what can only be acknowledged as one of the saddest political obituaries in the history of the republic. It is not that Reid’s alienation from the truth is unknown. But the shock of seeing them laid out in print painted a picture of a politician whose behavior is abominable. In a city that is well familiar with the seamier side of ethics he is now been elevated to a
league of his own.
Most politicians work hard to create the illusion of decency and propriety, but Reid seems to relish in his duplicitousness. During the 2012 presidential campaign his outright lie concerning Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s failure to pay taxes is well documented. What was not known was how Reid was unable to get surrogates to plant the lie on his behalf, but this proved to be no problem. He was more than willing to do it himself and later publicly brag to reporters.
During his recent retirement ceremony from the senate Reid spoke of his humble roots which he describes as hardscrabble. Even the most hardened critic would be moved by the man who teared up as he remembered being one of thirteen children raised by a single mother following his father’s suicide.
But therein lays the great tragedy. After such a modest beginning, rather than being an icon of success and a symbol of hope and unity he leaves the senate as a caricature of selfish, partisanship more interested in his own gain than in making the country better.
For all his failures, nothing can compare with the failings of those who allowed him to continue unchallenged in his egregious behavior. This includes senate and government colleagues, as well as the Washington Press Corps all more concerned with their own status than in exposing the truth.
Television reporter Megan Kelly recently blamed President-Elect Donald Trump for the fact that no one believes the press anymore. One can only surmise as to the alternative universe occupied by Kelly who would expect anyone to accept such nonsense. It exposes the disconnect that has become epidemic in the rarified world that exist inside the beltway mentality of the Washington, DC elite.
It is not just the recent behavior of the mainstream press that is suspect. It has been deteriorating for decades. Among the worst examples occurred in 2004 when Dan Rather and Mary Mapes ran a story that President George W. Bush received preferential treatment in joining the Texas Air National Guard to avoid serving in the Vietnam War. Despite being cautioned the evidence was highly suspect Mapes and Rather chose to go public in September 2004 on the CBS program 60 Minutes. Mapes also leaked the information to her old friend and former Clinton Administration press secretary Joe Lockhart who was heading John Kerry’s presidential campaign against President Bush.
The story ended up being exposed as a clumsy fake. Her ‘evidence’ included supposedly incriminating documents from that period written in Microsoft 2003 which would not be invented for another thirty years. It included a story of a confidential source receiving the documents at a county fair from an unknown ‘man’.
This story seemed conveniently like one fabricated by James Earl Ray the convicted killer of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ray claimed that the actual killer of Dr. King was a mysterious Hispanic man named Raoul with whom he had met with secretly.
Military aviators added their own sense of outrage. They cited the ludicrousness of anyone suggesting that training to fly high performance fighter aircraft could be accused of purposely avoiding danger.
Despite her unabashed intentional partisan act Mapes blamed her firing on a CBS management more concerned
with revenue and ratings than truth. Her later attempt at self- rehabilitation through a book and subsequent movie called Truth proved just as failing. Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle criticized the movie as ‘not compatible with reality.’ Others would suggest that Mapes attempted self- justification and claimed vindication.
Megan Kelly like other modern journalist does not seem to comprehend that after decades of lies and deceptive manipulation the American people lack reason to believe the press.
Harry Reid was given a pass because he is part of political elites and had to be protected. This is the same group that cannot accept that the only way to win back the trust and respect of the American people is to do their job by telling the truth. As the old saying goes, the truth hurts, but lies kill.
As for Harry Reid he will no doubt draw a very handsome government pension and enjoy the fruits of his financial benefactors. He will continue to parlay public service for highly paid board memberships as reward for political favors. He may even land a lucrative book deal to rewrite the history of his failed record.
If the truth really matters, however he will quickly be forgotten.
The best that might said of him is that said of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich for whom is credited the wonderful food item that bears his name:
‘Too infamous to have a friend. Too bad for even bad men to commend.’<