The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Overzealous underlings

It seems that one of the problems that a good leader has is subordinates who are so loyal to him, they will do anything to ensure he stays in office, including illegal actions and others that may be technically legal, but unacceptable to the American public.

I am old enough to remember the 1972 Presidential election. Living in New York City at the time, perhaps I even thought that George McGovern had a chance at the Presidency; in retrospect, it is obvious that he did not. But apparently some staffers in the Richard Nixon campaign thought McGovern had a chance, too, and feared — as I did myself — that a McGovern Presidency would be disastrous for the Free World, so they went about trying to ensure Nixon's re-election by means that were frankly illegal. There is no evidence that Nixon wanted these illegal activities to take place, much less ordered them, but out of loyalty to the men who had tried so hard to help him, President Nixon tried to cover up the evidence, and this brought about his downfall, ending up with a resignation by one of the most productive Presidents in United States history — certainly, the best President, I believe, in the last third of the Twentieth Century. It is a big shame — and only because people under Nixon were trying to help him.

Forty-one years after that 1972 Presidential election was a gubernatorial election in New Jersey. The Governor, Chris Christie, was seeking re-election after a very productive first term, and apparently some of his subordinates thought they were working on his behalf by trying to embarrass the Mayor of Ft. Lee, a Democrat who they thought should have endorsed Christie (as did a number of other Democratic officeholders in New Jersey), but who did not. What they did, tying up traffic on the George Washington Bridge, was not strictly illegal, but certainly unethical. And again, political opponents — particularly national Democratic politicians — are trying to put the blame on Governor Christie, as they did on President Nixon, though the fault is clearly further down the chain of command.

Both of these unfortunate attempts were really unnecessary, as it happened — Nixon certaingy would have beaten McGovern by a big margin even if the Watergate actions had never taken place, and certainly, Chris Christie won re-election by a heroic margin without getting the support of Ft. Lee's mayor.

Governor Christie, certainly, is aware of the history I cited earlier in this post. And he is not going to handle it the same way President Nixon did, because he knows what happened to Nixon. So he is firing those people who directly worked under him, apologized to the Mayor of Ft. Lee, and is engaged in damage control every way he can. It is a shame that he has to do this, but the history of what happened to President Nixon is on the books.

Hopefully, Governor Christie will succeed at damage control. I think he's been a great governor of New Jersey, and I think he will be a great President of the United States. It will be a tremendous shame if overzealous underlings derail him from the path to the Presidency. Fortunately, he has two years before the Iowa caucuses, and so time for people to forget about this scandal and concentrate on the bigger issues, like the disaster known as “Obamacare.” My support for Christie has not been diminished, and one person I've spoken to actually said she was favorably impressed by Christie's handling of the situation. It must have been painful to him to fire people who had been personal friends and close political allies, but he saw it as necessary.

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