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We Deserve Better

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The spectacle of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) presiding over the Senate this week in shorts and a crumpled short-sleeve shirt was a disgrace to himself, the Senate, his constituents in Pennsylvania, and our country as a whole. But this didn’t happen in a vacuum. Sadly, it’s par for the course in today’s political culture.

Sure, throughout history there have been occasional acts by high officials that have been unworthy of their offices and that shamed the country – duels on the floor of the House in the early 19th century, white House Members unwilling to accompany newly elected black Members to be sworn in, presidents having extramarital affairs – but there has never been a time like now where the shameful acts are commonplace.

I would argue that today’s culture largely started with the congressional Democrats’ conduct during the presidency of George W. Bush. After his response to the 9/11 attacks, Bush’s approval rating soared to the point of his becoming one of the most popular presidents in the history of polling. So, the Democrats made the political decision to tear him down, and they did that by contriving one reason after another to attack him relentlessly – with the enthusiastic help of their “news” media accomplices. By the time Bush left office in January 2009, his approval rating was in the gutter despite the fact that he had served with honor and distinction.

The Democrats’ hyperpartisan conduct against Bush motivated the Republicans to seek retribution against Bush’s Democrat successor, President Barack Obama, and they did so with relish, attacking him with equal vigor, and often with charges that were equally specious (such as that he was not born in America and was secretly an Islamist radical).

One of the worst offenders was celebrity businessman and TV game show host Donald Trump, who, after years of supporting Democrats and supporting socialized medicine proposals like those espoused by Obama himself, suddenly discovered that he was a conservative Republican when he decided he wanted to run for president. Trump began that quest by becoming the public face of the thoroughly discredited charge that Obama was born in Africa and therefore unqualified for the presidency. This would hardly be the last thoroughly discredited statement Trump would become known for.

Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2015 and quickly became the Republican frontrunner by attacking Mexicans and Muslims. He even called for a Mexican-American judge presiding over a case against him to be removed from the case on the grounds that he could not be impartial given Trump’s own attacks on him and Mexicans generally. He attacked John McCain’s record as a prisoner of war and accused Ted Cruz’s father of being an accomplice in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Meanwhile, the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton, the most dishonest and disreputable presidential nominee in American history. This is a woman who has been embroiled in more scandals than we can count and who is well known to be a congenital liar. At the time she was running, she, as Obama’s Secretary of State, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had established a supposedly “charitable” foundation to which political and business leaders from around the world had donated billions of dollars in exchange for expected favors upon her election as president.

Trump, the petulant juvenile running the openly racist campaign, won the election in the electoral college, despite losing the popular vote by 3 million votes, as the lesser of the two evils.

Trump did a surprisingly good job as president in terms of his policies and accomplishments, but his personal conduct always got in the way of his getting much credit for those accomplishments. Whether it was picking utterly unnecessary fights with celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, constantly firing and hiring new members of his staff and cabinet, or just his ceaseless tweeting of provocative attacks on anyone he perceived to be an enemy, he constantly proved to be his own worst enemy.

And that is really saying something considering how utterly disgracefully the Democrats conducted themselves during Trump’s presidency. They announced literally the day after Trump won the election that they were going to impeach him, and they spent every day working on how they would do that.

What they ended up doing was one of the most corrupt schemes in American history – and although it failed, no one was ever held accountable for it, which itself has undermined the confidence of the American people in our system of justice:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired a foreign agent to manufacture a an utterly fake dossier to make it appear that Trump’s campaign had colluded with Russia to get help to win the election. They then gave that dossier to members of Congress, including John McCain, who they knew would give it to the FBI.

FBI Director James Comey then illegally leaked the false information to the press and then used the press reports of the information he knew to be false to get court warrants against Trump officials. A special counsel was appointed when equally false charges were made by the Democrats against the attorney general on an unrelated matter, and that investigation lasted 2 years and cost millions of dollars – all on allegations that both the Democrats who initiated them and the FBI who investigated them knew to be completely false.

In the end, Trump was completely vindicated, but even then, the partisan special counsel, in a stunning violation of professional ethics, was willing to say only that he could not prove Trump to be completely innocent. (In America, everyone, including the president, is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.)

When the Democrats’ efforts to frame Trump failed, they moved on to impeaching him for allegedly having made a quid pro quo demand with the President of Ukraine in a telephone call – despite the fact that everyone involved during the investigation of that matter testified that there had been no quid pro quo demand. In other words, the Democrat majority in the House impeached Trump with no supporting evidence whatsoever simply because they wanted to and had the votes. Trump was easily acquitted in a very quick pro forma trial in the Senate.

In 2020, Trump was defeated by Joe Biden, a Democrat candidate who was so obviously senile that his own campaign prevented him from campaigning. Trump lost despite his great policy accomplishments primarily because of two things: The American people had tired of his personal drama, and the Democrats had convinced the voters (falsely) that he had mishandled the COVID pandemic, which was still happening.

But Trump was unwilling to concede his obvious defeat. In fact, this defeat caused him to go literally insane. He insisted that his loss in numerous states was caused by systemic fraud, but in over 50 cases filed in courts across the country on his behalf where he was offered the opportunity to present evidence of such fraud, he was unable to do so in even one of them. Not. One. Yet, to this day, without an iota of evidence, he continues to insist that he won every single one of those states.

But he went well beyond merely saying so. He organized people in each of those states to say that they were his electors, and he tried to get Vice President Pence, serving as President of the Senate, to unilaterally decide to not recognize the electoral votes officially sent by those states and instead count the votes of the faux electors sent by Trump. Fortunately, Pence understood his legal and constitutional obligations to the American people and refused to go along with Trump’s illegal scheme to try to steal the election.

On the same day that the electoral votes were to be counted in the Senate, January 6, 2021, Trump held a rally on the National Mall, after which he called on his followers to “peacefully” march to the Capitol to protest in his favor. His followers instead stormed and occupied the Capitol building and overtook it for several hours, resulting in the Senate session being delayed, members of Congress being hurried away from the Capitol for their safety, and several people being killed.

Trump was the one person who could have gotten these people to disperse early on, but despite his staff begging him to go to a microphone to do so, he sat back and watched it play out for 4 hours before doing so, and act of presidential malfeasance of historic proportions.

Despite the fact that Trump had only 2 weeks left in his term, the Democrat hurried to impeach him yet again, this time for supposedly inciting an insurrection against our country, which he clearly didn’t do when he called on his followers to march peacefully to the Capitol. (Trump’s malfeasance in waiting 4 hours to call off his followers did not constitute an impeachable “high crime or misdemeanor” and wasn’t cited as an article of impeachment.) But the House Democrats nevertheless did impeach him yet again for something that was yet again clearly refuted by the evidence.

But this time, Trump was already out of office by the time his impeachment came before the Senate for a trial, which meant the articles of impeachment had become moot because you cannot impeach a private citizen. Yet the Senate went ahead and held the unconstitutional trial anyway – a trial so obviously unconstitutional that Chief Justice John Roberts refused to preside over it. So, a member of the Senate presided, which also violated the requirements of the Constitution, and, during this illegitimate farce, the Senate once again voted to acquit.

That doesn’t change the fact that for the past nearly 3 years, Trump has been out running for reelection primarily on a platform of getting revenge for having an election stolen from him that wasn’t stolen from him. Meanwhile, he is facing 91 criminal charges over 4 cases being prosecuted against him for a variety of different matters, only some of which relate to the 2020 election and its aftermath. And he is actually the prohibitive frontrunner to be the Republican nominee to once again hand the presidency to the Democrats in 2024 – to an obviously senile and incompetent incumbent running for reelection at what will be the age of 81.

During his current term, that obviously senile president presided over a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan that was so incompetent and haphazard that it resulted in the deaths of hundreds of American allies and the restoration to power of the very same people that we took out 20 years earlier for giving safe harbor to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

In the following congressional election, we elected a Republican majority that took 15 ballots to elect its own speaker and that now is about to shut down the entire federal government because they can’t pass their own appropriations bills. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, they’ve elected a “Squad” of Marxist radicals that are the influencers of their party and include several open antisemites who are openly protected by the rest of the Democrat caucus.

And even the Supreme Court isn’t the august body it historically has been. The justice that I admire the most for his jurisprudence and adherence to principle is Clarence Thomas, but he has drawn unfavorable attention to himself and the Court with the revelation that in recent years he has taken numerous favors of high financial value from a number of people, some of whom have business before the court. Other justices have engaged in similar conduct to a lesser degree. None of it has been technically unethical, and I don’t believe for a second that any of it has swayed a single ruling or opinion by any of the justices, but in the courts, optics are important, and these justices have shown poor judgment in their personal conduct.

Which brings us back to the Senate. John Fetterman has had a serious brain injury, and I have previously written that he never should have completed his campaign for the Senate and that he should have resigned to coalesce. He has not done so, and he typically dresses for work like a sanitation worker. Now he has gotten Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to eliminate the Senate dress code so he can do so on the Senate floor, even when he is serving as the presiding officer.

It is bad enough that Sen. Fetterman has no respect for the dignity of the Senate or for the constituents he represents. But it is worse that he has convinced the leader of the Senate to lower the standards of the entire institution to those of what one Senator has correctly called “the lowest common denominator.”

And all of that is in addition to the sad spectacle of 90-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein still wandering the halls of the Senate while obviously lacking the mental faculties to understand the matters on which she is voting because, despite her obvious incapacity, the Democrats don’t want to have to deal with the political ramifications of asking her to resign.

All of our institutions are in decay. We have gone from a president who disgraced his office by acting like a clown to a president who is disgracing it with his incompetence and senility. We have gone from a House of Representatives that disgraced itself with its corrupt hyperpartisanship to one that is thoroughly dysfunctional. We have a Senate with no professional standards. We have a Supreme Court whose justices’ personal conduct is losing the confidence of the people. We have 2 presidential candidates who are rightfully looked upon by the American people with contempt, causing us to wonder: Why we can’t do better?

Well, we do deserve better, and this is a representative constitutional democracy, so we can do better. All of this is what we elected. If we want better, we must vote better and elect better people. It is in our power to do so.

Author: Ken Falkenstein

Ken Falkenstein is the Managing Editor of Committed Conservative and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs to the job. Ken served in the U.S. Army in the last years of the Cold War as a Russian linguist for military intelligence and the NSA. After leaving the Army, he earned his degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, where he also wrote a popular column in the student newspaper. Upon graduation, Ken worked as a Legislative Aide to two Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Ken also served as Corresponding Secretary of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, managed several successful political campaigns, and managed governmental affairs operations for a local Realtor association. In 1995, Ken moved to Washington, DC to serve as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Warner (R-VA). While working for Sen. Warner, Ken attended law school at night, earning his J.D. with honors from the George Mason University School of Law (n/k/a The Antonin Scalia Law School). Since that time, Ken has practiced as a civil litigation attorney, including serving for three years as an Associate City Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ken previously was a contributor to the highly-regarded political blog Bearing Drift and was a weekly co-host of The Steve Batton Radio Program. In 2016, Ken ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia Beach School Board. Ken is also a former President of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads. Ken now lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his wife, Kim, and three sons, Adam, Dylan, and Joshua, who has Down syndrome. Ken’s writing is motivated and informed primarily by his concern for his kids’ future.