Friday, May 19, 2006

Where is the Ethics Board?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, ethics means

"A set of principles of right conduct. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession."

Generally that is taken to imply the more broad description that ethics means: "A theory or a system of moral values."

So, it goes without saying that racism, hate speech or slanderous comments would normally qualify as being unethical.

If I were a white politician and made the following claim about my black opponent:
"Seventy percent of all inmates in our prisons are black, so you can assume my opponent will commit a crime in office."
The Ethics Boards would have my head - not to mention my political career would be over.

If the roles were reversed and I was a black candidate and said about my white opponent:
"Ninety five percent of all government embezzlement and fraud is committed by white males, so you can assume my opponent will defraud you."
I would likewise be punished by Ethics Boards, the Press and the public.

And yet in the small community of Mariposa California, State Assembly Representative Candidate Bill Conrad, is running the following ad campaign against his opponent, Tom Berryhill.
Tom Berryhill doesn't have the HEART for State Assembly

The average lifespan of a heart transplant patient is 7 years.
(Berryhill's heart transplant was 6 years ago)

Heart transplant patients take anti-rejection medications for life.
(These medications weaken the immune system making the recipient more susceptible to illness and death)

Severe stress SIGNIFICANTLY shortens the life expectency of heart transplant recipients.

Can you imagine the costs to taxpayers for a Special Election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill his duties of office?
Yes, you read that all correctly. Bill Conrad's campaign strategy is:
"Vote for me because my opponent had a heart transplant and he's going to die in office - and that'll cost you money."
And even though both candidates are Republican, this message apparently has not been publicly criticized by the Republican Party itself.

Amazing... absolutely amazing.

Where are the Ethics Boards now?

But a better question may be, what will the voters do with this blatantly unethical candidate?

Someone who associates with, and supports the activities of, another professional who acts unethically is also usually deemed to be unethical.

So in that light, we can safely say that in California's Mariposa area anyone who votes for Bill Conrad is, by association, unethical. Let's hope the local party officials make a very clear public statement of disgust about this issue and withhold any current or future support for Bill Conrad. Otherwise, they're willfully jumping into the ethics cesspool as well.

If he gets more than two votes, it's a sad statement on American politics...



At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And this message is apparently supported by the Republican Party who backs Mr. Conrad."

Is this documented? Both Conrad and Berryhill are Republicans running in a primary election campaign. Berryhill is the frontrunner and has received more endorsements and contributions.

Or was there an assumption about the political parties of both candidates that made you jump on this issue?

At 5:35 PM, Blogger N.J. said...

Ah, you are correct! I misread the early report I saw which said only that Conrad was a Republican, and yes I assumed then that Berryhill was a Democrat - I thought most primary elections were over.

I have corrceted my post - thanks.

But that doesn't change anything at all regarding the nature of my article. I frankly don't care which party affiliation either person has. That doesn't change the fact that Conrad's tactic is gutter-level.

And while this may take the local Republican Party off the hook a bit, the fact that Conrad is *running as a Republican* doesn't completely remove their responsibility. Anyone who has run for office knows that the party can exert pressure on whomever runs under the party name.

So, to redeem themselves completely in this case the Republican Party would have to come out with a clear and resounding chastising of Bill Conrad and distance themselves from him (like saying he wouldn't be endorsed if he wins the primary).

To my knowledge nothing of the sort has been done. If it has, then I'd love to hear about it.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anyone who has run for office knows that the party can exert pressure on whomever runs under the party name."

Maybe that's one of the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. The Republican party in the 25th district doesn't have to help people decide what is a low-blow tactic by admonishing its candidates, but the Democratic party has to help their people understand what is right and wrong because they can't figure it out for themselves.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger N.J. said...

??? Wow "anonymous" thanks - that's one of the most thought provoking, well laid out and rationalized comments I've ever seen... Well, maybe not...

But I guess you're right when you said "The Republican party in the 25th district doesn't have to help people decide what is a low-blow tactic by admonishing its candidates..."

Yes, most people know slime when they see it - the problem is that they find it acceptable behavior, and by not speaking out against it, they are promoting it.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger N.J. said...

Blah, blah, blah, Wah, wah, wah...

Yeah, you're missing the point that I don't give a damn whether Tom Berryhill himself is a good person, or candidate, or not. It's completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

The fact that idiots like you think it's okay at ANY time to be unethical is the core problem here.

Tom Berryhill can be as big a slime as possible - but Bill Conrad is right there with him through his own single act of slime.

Wow - you guys have got a real choice there!


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