Saturday, November 17, 2018

Call it Our Party Housecleaning. Or just somewhat-moderating our hypocrisy. Take your pick

I'd like to suggest a new tradition in the period immediately following an election - to choose this time to go after the ugly flaws on one's own side of the political house.

I've written in the past that - during a campaign - I'm not going to highlight the flaws in the candidate I support. I wouldn't deny those flaws if pressed, but I'm not going to bring them up. In this increased partisan environment, I've extended that to the Democratic Party in general, although particular bad guys among the Democrats can overcome that bar.

Now that it's over though, time to at least acknowledge that cleanup is needed. A good example of an ugly flaw is Bob Menendez, the re-elected Democratic Senator in New Jersey and a likely corruption magnet. Keeping that seat Democratic to increase the odds of a Senate takeover was worth it to me. So once you're sworn in, Senator, please resign, and let the Democratic governor appoint an ethical Democratic replacement.

The chance of that request being listened to is pitiful, but we should make it regardless, and be prepared to support a Democratic primary challenger six years from now.

Another example of ugliness on the Democratic side:

The Planetary Society is correct, this is a Democratic Party War on Science campaign ad. I almost blogged about Culberson during the campaign - like him, I'm a space science nut, and very little of the political support for space extends far beyond the scientifically dubious boondoggle of government-supported, human spaceflight. My attitude was that I wanted Culberson to win if Rs kept control of the House, but if it made a difference in control of the House then I didn't. Had I known about this ad then I probably would have (should have) said something.

Fletcher didn't make this ad, it was by Michael Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC, and they should be ashamed for attacking science. Stick to attacking Culberson on earth-bound issues issues instead.

And then there's the gray area which is Keith Ellison and the domestic violence allegations against him that came up around the same time as the Kavanaugh disaster. There are two ex-girlfriends who say he abused them, which is a hell of a lot of smoke, although it's not 19 women either. The more recent accuser pretty much destroyed her credibility IMO by repeatedly talking about a video of the abuse and then refused to produce it, even in edited form or even for a private viewing by investigators. The earlier one appeared to have credibility problems too.

Personally, if I were in Minnesota I would've voted against Ellison in the Democratic primary and, with the limited information I had, voted for him in the general. I don't need to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Ellison was an abuser in order to support the Republican, but I'd want more than I had, given the damage the Republican Attorney General would do. And we need to watch Ellison very carefully moving forward.

As for Bill Clinton, please go away.


David B. Benson said...

I certainly agree with the last line.

Victor Venema said...

As far as I can judge the war on science is mostly used to signify organised efforts to reject scientific findings.

That is very different from having policy disagreements on how money should be spend or how money should be spend within science.

Most of the money for planetary exploration also does not go to scientists, but to the military contractors who build the probes. That is probably one reason why Washington normally likes space exploration.

It is getting better, but in the atmospheric sciences it used to be common to spend money on satellite (private sector, thus good), but not to budget in any scientists to use the data (public sector, thus bad, in the elite debate). Fortunately nowadays at least some of the money is spend on building an infrastructure to process and access the data and actually do some science with it. It is still normally a small part.

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