The Ethical Take: All Spin Edition

Published: October 25, 2017

By Jim Lichtman
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The Take has been MIA for a while. So, let’s get to it.

Spin Out –

Yesterday, the junior senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, announced he would not be running for re-election.

In a surprise announcement from the floor of the Senate, most of Flake’s comments were pointed at the current occupant of the White House whose behavior grows more reckless and more demeaning by the week.

“It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret,” Flake said. “Regret because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership. Regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.

“In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order, that phrase being the new normal. That we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set at the top. We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country. The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, and the flagrant disregard for truth and decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have been elected to serve.

“None of this is normal,” Flake added. “And what do we, as United States senators, have to say about it? The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics, because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity. …

“If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe it is my obligation to do so, and as a matter and duty of conscience, the notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters, the notion that we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is a historic and, I believe, profoundly misguided.”

Flake is not the only sitting senator to express similar sentiments. John McCain, Flake’s colleague in the Senate, has similarly criticized the president lately, and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker – in another surprise interview – called out Trump directly. “The President has great difficulty with the truth. On many issues,” adding, “I think world leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue.”

The Ethical Take: The Senate is losing a well-reasoned and articulate spokesman for the people, even if those in his own home state of Arizona disagree with his policy choices.


Bill O’Reilly wants you to know “…am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn’t happen. I can’t explain it to you. Yeah, I’m mad at him.”

On his radio pod-cast, “No Spin News,” he said of his adversaries, “If they could literally kill me, they would.”

“If I die tomorrow and I get an opportunity, I’ll say, ‘Why’d you guys work me over like that? Didn’t [you] know my children were going to be punished? And they’re innocent,’ ” he said. “But then I think about people who have it much, much rougher than me. And you know, I’m a big mouth. I’m a target. They’re not targets.”

Yes, Bill, let’s not forget: YOU are the real victim here, not the dozens of women who’ve come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior against you.

In response to O’Reilly’s statement that in all his years at Fox, no one ever complained about him, former Fox contributor and current NBC Morning host Megyn Kelly said:

“O’Reilly calls the [New York] Times report a malicious smear, claiming that no women in 20 years ever complained to human resources or legal about him,” Kelly said. “Maybe that is true. Fox News was not exactly a friendly environment for harassment victims who wanted to report, in my experience. However, O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false. I know because I complained.”

The E.T.: Spin this, Bill: In the words of Gretchen Carlson, “Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody.”

Going for a Spin –

“…racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital,” The New York Times writes (Sept. 29), “Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure.”

Trump was already displeased with Price’s failed attempts at repealing and replacing The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The president also felt that Price’s offer to reimburse a small part of his travel expenses was too little, too late.

“It’s hard to see how a cabinet secretary can drain the swamp from 42,000 feet in the plush interior of a taxpayer-funded Gulfstream 4,” said Laura Ingraham, a conservative talk show host.”

The E.T.: You have plenty of time to travel now, Tom.


  1. Now that you are into FACTS, let’s just say Jeff Flake was appropriately named, he KNOWS he cannot win with a now 18% approval rating in his state of Arizona, and rises to liberally blame Others for his resignation. Among his Swamp votes was YES for confirmation of incompetent and dishonest Attorney General Loretta (Tarmac) Lynch, joining just 12 other Rhinos. The Swamp is being drained. It hurts the established elite and when revelations about JUST WHO really got Russian money fingers the Clintons, they will join Harvey Weinstein in distant limbo. Losing hurt and somebody has to pay. Get over it.

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