Talking Points: Conduct Unbecoming

No Gary Condit resignation yet and no outcry from our leaders for one. Is that causing a national cynicism? That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Once again, the nation finds itself confronted by terrible behavior from an elected official and, once again, there are apologists all over the place saying that Congressman Condit shouldn't resign, that the so-called system should deal with him.


The system is designed to protect the powerful. It is not designed to seek out wrongdoing or punish politicians who lie to police about a missing person's case.

Talking Points believes a deep cynicism has taken root in America. Most of us think that our politicians are in public service to serve themselves, to acquire power and fame and maybe a little squeeze on the side. That is what millions of Americans believe. It is undeniable.

And here's how that belief plays out. Less than half of eligible voters went to the polls last November in a hotly-contested presidential race. Only 17 percent of Americans between the age of 18 and 25 bothered to vote at all. Seventeen percent.

And the pool of concerned and well-informed Americans is drastically shrinking, primarily because of apathy, cynicism, and poor education. Thus most Americans are out of the loop. They know all about Tom Cruise's marital problem, but little about how they are being governed.

Factor viewers are paying attention and understand that Congress is one big club. There's no way that a low-life like Gary Condit should be taking his seat in the House. Every member should walk out the moment he walks in. That would be the proper and courageous thing to do.

I'm reading David McCullough's biography of John Adams right now, and it's amazing how much the founders sacrificed for the people of America. There were no spinners back then, no interns, no big pensions, and no sense of entitlement. In fact, these guys knew they'd be hanged by the British if things didn't work out.

Conduct was unbecoming was condemned, no matter where it was found. There was a sense of right and wrong that dominated our early government. That's gone now.

And so is strong leadership in Washington. If we did have strong leaders, Gary Condit could not survive. He would have to quit because he would be criticized and ostracized by his peers. Instead, they may or may not look into the matter. We still don't know what the House Ethics Committee will do.

John Adams knew that government had to have the confidence of the people. They had to believe the system was just. Do Americans believe that today?

A tough question to end the Talking Points memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

They're not fooling around in Eureka, California. Haymond Williams is in deep trouble for an RWI conviction: riding a horse while intoxicated. Williams had his license suspended, so he got a horse named Gigi, but he also loaded up on beer before getting in the saddle. He got pulled over. Now he's facing jail time.

Gigi has not been charged or impounded. To do so would be ridiculous.

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