Political bloggers love to play pin the tail on the hypocrite. I do it too. I admit it. Nothing pleases us more than to be able to say that someone we disagree with has fed the goose but starved the gander. Given that there are very few human beings who can be absolutely consistent, there are always opportunities.
It's not a bad thing. Taking a principle and asking whether it applies to a different situation is a perfectly good way to clarify it.
But it does have this tendency to degenerate into a game of gotcha. Recently, I played the game to point out that there seem to be some rather serious legal questions surrounding Jennifer Morales proposing and voting on the extension of health benefits to the domestic partners of MPS employees. I looked at the state ethics code and the interpretations of the code by the ethics board. My point was not so much to accuse Morales of selling out the public for her own private benefit (I suspect that she'd favor domestic partner benefits even if she wasn't living with an MPS teacher) as to point out that there are apparently some problems with her acting on the proposal. I can see an argument in her favor (the city attorney has supposedly made it) and we know that legislators and public board members have to set their own salaries but, yet, there seems to be a rather substantial argument that she shouldn't act on this. And, even if she has a legal out, it certainly doesn't look good.
To the extent anyone has responded to this point, it has generally been to say that domestic partner benefits are a good thing. But that's no response just as it was no response to say that the cases that Annette Ziegler should have recused herself on but did not were decided correctly.
So I - and other people who raised the issue - were playing the game.
Anne Quimby Mathias has taken the game to a new level. She is playing a meta-version of the game, trying to pin the tail on the tail on the one who pinned the tail on the hypocrite. (If that's hard to follow, think of a dog.)Charlie Sykes raised the point about Morales' conflict. She is now accusing Charlie of inconsistency for never raising the fact that there are other board members who are married to MPS employees and who presumably act on employee compensation matters.
The domestic situation of those board members wasn't implicated by the domestic partner proposal. But I think the proper response to this is to double down.
Of course, the same issue applies to them. In fact, doesn't it seem a little cozy to have MPS board members married to MPS employees? If we are concerned with high ethical standards and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, shouldn't these board members (or their spouses) resign? I know that Pundit Nation is concerned about integrity in public office because it has repeatedly weighed in on the Ziegler issue.
The tail, Ms. Mathias, is to you.