Juxtaposition in the News: The Ethical Senator and the Mayor


There’ve been a couple of interesting stories in the paper the past few days about ethical decision making by political leaders.

Senator Max Baucus:

A spokesman for Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, said early Saturday that the senator nominated his girlfriend, a lawyer who worked for him at the time, for a United States attorney position last March.

Miles City Mayor Joe Whalen:

Miles City Mayor Joe Whalen has offered to resign after receiving three traffic tickets.

In his offer of resignation, contained in a letter sent to the Miles City Star newspaper Thursday, Whalen said he was cited on Dec. 2 for driving with an expired registration, an expired driver’s license and no proof of insurance.

I suspect we’re in for a long couple of weeks of half-hearted legalistic justifications and rationalizations for what was clearly an unethical, disappointing act by the senior Senator. One has to wonder if the members of the world’s greatest deliberative body ought not spend more time thinking about their personal lives and ethical obligations.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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