Opinion

The Adults In The Room

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Michael Cronin Freelance Writer

Sometimes you can’t set your expectations low enough.

In the past week, President Trump managed, in a single press conference, to assert that Jim Comey had vindicated him of collusion and obstruction of justice while simultaneously disputing the truth of much of his other testimony. So, Comey is credible when he agrees with the president and a liar when he contradicts him.

Not to be outdone, Jim Comey speculated that the president would probably lie, thus justifying his decision to leak his impressions of a conversation with President Trump. He characterized other administration statements about low morale and weak leadership at the FBI as lies, not differences of opinion.

Down the road, Senator Bernie Sanders characterized an OMB nominee’s religious belief as hateful, Islamaphobic and “an insult to a billion Muslims throughout the world.”  Mr. Vought had detailed Christian beliefs about salvation in the context of defending Wheaton College’s right to insist that an employee’s academic freedom “be exercised within the broad parameters of their statement of faith.” Sanders suggested the acceptability of religious belief is now valid criteria for federal employment.

Nancy Pelosi labeled President Trump a ‘bully’ and expressed concern about his ‘fitness.’

The standards for rank and file employees are typically established and modeled by their superiors. It’s increasingly clear that the minions at the White House, the FBI and on Capitol Hill lack for good role models.

The founders were highly suspicious of concentrated power. It seldom brings out the best in people. It rarely facilitates liberty. Power hasn’t not inspired much character growth in the president, Senator Sanders, Mr. Comey or Ms. Pelosi.

The weakness of the human condition is a good argument for federalism, but today’s corruption is not purely systemic. Simply put, the swamp was once populated by better people.

I share little common ground with Ivanka Trump politically. Nevertheless, I have considerable respect for the way she conducts herself. Sadly, it is a compulsion I find mostly lacking in Washington.

In the past, our public discourse was often informed by ethical, civil partisans such as Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett and Walter Mondale. Even today, ideological journalists Paul Gigot, Steven Hayes and Kirsten Powers challenge thinking on both sides of the political divide.

Some problems are less complex than they appear. The Bill of Rights cautioned us to protect our personal liberty from concentrated power We should pay this more attention. But no government works when it a populated by grandstanding jackasses. Pass it on.