Law School Discussion

Presidential "private" misconduct

jgruber

Presidential "private" misconduct
« on: July 29, 2004, 06:44:47 AM »
Should presidential misconduct, sex, drugs, etc. be critical factors in elections or are they just fodder for critics?

Should previous conduct, like dubya's DUI, Clinton's pot, be relevant?  If we say those are too far in the past, how far back do we go to examine their conduct?

Re: Presidential "private" misconduct
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2004, 06:54:54 AM »
Personally, I do believe they are relevant.  Those situations explain a great deal about the candidate.  Mistakes are nature; however, the courses of actions taken after the mistakes are what I want to know about.  If a candidate makes a mistake early in his life (as we all do), I just want to know how that person has dealt with the situation and how they have lived their life since.

I didn't have a problem with Bill Clinton smoking pot as a youth (I did find his "I didn't inhale" comment preposterous though); I just wanted to ensure that it wasn’t a reoccurring problem with him.  I dislike the fact that Bush would make a grave mistake of driving while intoxicated; however, I applaud his attempt at living a moral life now.

To answer your question – yes, I believe the instances should be factors.  However, I believe we need to evaluate their mistakes with their actions since.  And I don't believe any major issue is "too old" to be considered.

buster

Re: Presidential "private" misconduct
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2004, 07:00:29 AM »
Hey SectionEight, we agree again!

I also think the way in which they address those prior behaviors is relevant. For example, Bush's refusal to acknowledge (beyond "when I was young and irresponsible I behaved young and irresponsible") and discuss his earlier failings bothered me, as did Clinton's ridiculous pot-smoking non-denial denial.

If, on the other hand, I am running for president in 25 years or so, and I acknowledge that I tried marijuana and cocaine and that I firmly believe in drug legalization, I expect to be criticized for that by those who oppose such activities, which is fine, but I also expect to get credit for being consistent and candid.

Personally, I do believe they are relevant.  Those situations explain a great deal about the candidate.  Mistakes are nature; however, the courses of actions taken after the mistakes are what I want to know about.  If a candidate makes a mistake early in his life (as we all do), I just want to know how that person has dealt with the situation and how they have lived their life since.

I didn't have a problem with Bill Clinton smoking pot as a youth (I did find his "I didn't inhale" comment preposterous though); I just wanted to ensure that it wasn’t a reoccurring problem with him.  I dislike the fact that Bush would make a grave mistake of driving while intoxicated; however, I applaud his attempt at living a moral life now.

To answer your question – yes, I believe the instances should be factors.  However, I believe we need to evaluate their mistakes with their actions since.  And I don't believe any major issue is "too old" to be considered.


GentleTim

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Re: Presidential "private" misconduct
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2004, 07:20:27 AM »
Should presidential misconduct, sex, drugs, etc. be critical factors in elections or are they just fodder for critics?

Should previous conduct, like dubya's DUI, Clinton's pot, be relevant?  If we say those are too far in the past, how far back do we go to examine their conduct?

If they're relevant for me, I'll let them influence how I vote.  If they're not relevant for you, then base your vote strictly on performance in office, or whatever else you'd like.  But regardless, I think we ought to have the information.

Personally, I think that the decisions that a person has made privately can be indicators of how they will excecute their responsibilites in office.  I want to know about them, and then I'll make up my own mind.  For instance, I don't hold Clinton's pot smoking against him, nor Dubya's DUI.  I'm not against chemical mood enhancers, and though I know it's stupid, there have been nights I've driven home drunk from the bar.

I would be likely more likely to hold infidelity against someone, and I think it's fair for me to want to know that before I vote for them.  If you'd rather vote for someone who "steps out" on his wife from time to time, but doesn't do any drugs, you're free to do that.

I don't see how it's unreasonable that we ask our candidates for office to tell us these things.

jas9999

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Re: Presidential "private" misconduct
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2004, 09:37:03 AM »
i actually read an article that included in interview with one of the guys at the party where clinton tried pot. the said they were trying to teach him to inhale, but he couldn't because of his asthma. he'd just end up coughing and choking when his lungs closed off from the smoke. i certainly knew people like this in college, who couldn't smoke if they tried...