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BOB: Another challenge for members is the lobbyists who wave perks like a matador waving a red cape at a bull. Congress continues to pass laws to limit lobbyists' influence, but people find ways to get around them. The Supreme Court's decision to allow individuals, corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence campaigns was disgraceful.
BOB: The recent indictments alleging that former Virginia Republican governor Bob McDonnell and his wife accepted cash and gifts from a businessman are nothing new. Any day now, Ray Nagin, a Democrat, will go on trial accused of accepting kickbacks when he was mayor of New Orleans. What is new are the loopholes available to lobbyists, corporations and special interests to influence public officials.
CAL: On your first point, I want to know among those millionaires how many have stretched the ethical limits if they came to Congress as "thousandaires" and wound up millionaires. As for not being able to do anything about their ethics, we can start in the schools where such things used to be taught. The media, including Hollywood, should be encouraged to find and portray people who are honest and upright instead of the rot that so consumes entertainment and news today.
CAL: Amen to that.
CAL: I agree. As someone once said, the scandal in Washington is not what's illegal, but what is legal. Still, there are many in Christian Louboutin Black Heels
government whose ethics are not questioned. I contacted two former members of Congress, Tony Hall, an Ohio Democrat, and Bill Armstrong, a Colorado Republican.
BOB: We need to clone these guys, because our system encourages those with questionable or no ethics to behave as if they are entitled to their positions, not stewards of the public trust.
BOB: For the first time, a majority of Congress are millionaires. That tells me they don't have to cross the ethical lines when it Christian Louboutin Pink Pumps comes to money. Other ethical lapses, be they for political retribution or sexual misconduct, depend on the character of our public officials, and there is very little we can do about that.
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BOB: What did they tell you?
CAL: Part of that has to do with our reluctance to teach ethics for fear of "offending" someone who lives by different standards or none at all. We seem to tolerate things today that would have appalled our grandparents. Lewis put it, "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
BOB: What we can also do is put some restraints on money in politics. The first step is to do away with super PACs and independent committees that infuse billions of dollars into the political campaign cycle. That will probably require changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. I would like to see public financing of campaigns as well, but that's probably unrealistic.
BOB: Unless public officials are wealthy and fund their own campaigns, the only place they can turn to is lobbyists and institutions like labor unions and corporations. I reluctantly agree with you on term limits.
Cal Thomas is a conservative columnist. Bob Beckel is a liberal Democratic strategist. But as longtime friends, they can often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot.
CAL: Hall said, "Your own character is key, along with accountability. Having a small group of trusted individuals was essential for seeing me through difficult times." Armstrong said: "Life is like tennis. If you play with good players, your own game improves. If you play with poor players, your game deteriorates. Being around people who stand for the best character qualities inspires me to try to do the same."
CAL: Here are two quotes that ring true. The late justice Potter Stewart said, "Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." And from musician Wynton Marsalis: "Ethics are more important than laws."
We need an ethics check
BOB: I like those. Unfortunately, some politicians think they are immune from allegations of ethics abuse.
CAL: I differ with you on the court decision, which was more about free speech. But you're right about the piles of money needed for a campaign. Reform should begin with the way we elect leaders, and then the influence of money might diminish, especially if there were term limits.
Our lawmakers are too concerned with money, sex and power.
less about the money and more about the standards by which one lives and by which a nation should live. Considering this bipartisan unethical virus, those standards clearly need improving.
CAL: I would be open to that as long as it isn't unilateral disarmament for conservatives. The left has powerful allies in the media and academia, and conservatives have had to raise money in order to "buy" their way into the marketplace of ideas to get their Cheap Louboutin Sale Uk
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