Integrity in presidential candidates
To consider the subject of integrity and its relation to presidential candidates, let’s examine a well-known and (at least at the time) respected candidate, George W. Bush. When he began his first run for President, he claimed he could speak Spanish. By the time he announced that Diez y Seis de Septiembre referred to the 15th of September (it is the 16th) it was clear to nearly everybody that he could not, in fact, Speak Spanish.
He claimed to have no criminal record. When the news surfaced of his arrest for drunk driving, his defenders said that record was brought out into the open for “political purposes”. Well, duh. There was an election in progress.
He claimed to have fulfilled all of his military obligations. When the person who was the base commander at the time, along with several other men who served a term at that base doing the job Bush claimed he went there for, all said Bush was never there, the fact that he did not bother to show up for an assignment while he was in the Air National Guard was largely ignored.
At one point, his spokesperson claimed that he had spent some of his time on active duty in the Air Force. The Air Force stated definitively that he was never on active duty. The spokesperson then said that one of his assignments required him to be on temporary active duty Air Force status. Again, the Air Force stated that was completely false.
Throughout most of his two terms, Bush was well-liked by a lot of citizens. He claimed tax cuts for the very wealthy would make us all better off and eventually balance the budget. It did not happen. He told us he had proof Iraq had vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. They did not. He told us Iraq had close connections to al-Qaeda. That was not true, either. He told us “Mission Accomplished” after the opening battles were finished. It was more like “Mission Barely Begun” and “What are we supposed to do now?”
After the war dragged on and the economy tanked, Bush’s popularity dropped dramatically, but for most of his time in office, a lot of people thought he was a great guy and a wonderful President. When he ran for re-election his recent lapses in honesty were glossed over. He was, and is, a remarkably lazy and ignorant man, who is proud of his laziness and his ignorance.
So what does integrity have to do with the success of a presidential candidate? Nothing at all. In fact, a candidate in the not-so-distant past who said budget problems would probably require a tax increase was soundly defeated by a candidate who steadfastly opposed tax increases. The winner then signed what was at the time the largest tax increase in the history of the nation. Integrity is a handicap if you want to actually win an election.