Behold yet more proof, as though additional proof were actually needed. As Ashe Schow accurately notes, “in Reid’s world, it is perfectly acceptable to make a defamatory charge against an opponent to damage his campaign.”
Where to begin?
How about with the fact that this all-means-justify-the-ends logic — assuming the end is your desired one — is absolutely toxic for politics and, more importantly, democracy. (Worth noting: Reid is far from the only one who practices this sort of thinking; it’s the rule rather than the exception in political Washington, where winning — no matter the cost — is the only goal that matters.) If you can lie — or, at a minimum, mislead based on scant information or rumor — then anything is justified in pursuit of winning. This sort of “the winners make the rules” approach is part of the broader partisan problem facing Washington and the polarization afflicting the nation more broadly. There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.
Think about Reid’s statement in another context. I have two little kids. What if I told my son, who has just started playing soccer, that his only aim was to win the game — no matter how he accomplished that goal. After all, it’s not cheating unless someone can prove it, right?
Would anyone think that was either (a) good parenting or (b) broadly beneficial for society? No. That is the same logic Reid is applying here, but because we are all inured to the horribleness that is modern political strategy, people barely bat an eye. No, politics ain’t beanbag. I get that. But allowing elected officials to say anything they want about people running for office — and requiring zero proof in order to report those claims — seems to be a bridge too far. And to defend that behavior by saying, “Well, we won, didn’t we?” feels like the junior high school logic that shouldn’t be employed by the men and women trusted with representing us in Washington — or anywhere else.
I would note that while other politicians adhere to “this all-means-justify-the-ends logic,” few are as brazen about it.
I have argued it before, and will argue it again: Harry Reid is a McCarthyite, and I measure my words very carefully when I write that. I’ll add that there were plenty of political hacks, pundits and bloggers who willingly and eagerly swallowed Reid’s horses*** because they believed that it would harm the Romney campaign. These hacks, pundits and bloggers all knew or should have known that Reid was lying, but that didn’t bother them. I would expect them all to be ashamed of themselves, but–and again, I measure my words very carefully when I write this–I am sure that none of them have the decency to feel shame.
Oh, and from the folks who tell us that they gave us Change We Can Believe In:
During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest fielded a question from a CNN reporter if the president had any comment on what Reid had said.
Earnest said he had not had a chance to speak to the president about the comments.
Earnest continued, saying that the relationship that the president and Reid had will go down in history as a remarkably productive relationship.
When asked if the Earnest would take the time to call out Reid’s conduct as unbecoming, he said he had no plans to.
“Not for something that’s three years old,” said Earnest.
Since when is there a statute of limitations on condemning McCarthyite tactics? More to the point, why wasn’t anyone associated with the Obama campaign–from the president on down–decent or honest enough to denounce these lies and the liar who spewed them back in 2012?