I have to agree that lots of people in Washington keep trying to fight fair, while Republicans in power keep fighting to win. There numerous examples, which NY Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd chronicles here:
“Comey also got tangled up on the issue of fairness, with disastrous results. Afraid that he would be blamed if it was discovered that the F.B.I. had been secretly investigating the woman expected to be the next president, the then-F. B.I. chief violated his own agency’s norms to announce that he was reopening the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails on the cusp of the election.
But he did not tell the public that the F.B.I. was also looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. As The Times has now revealed, the F.B.I. was worried enough to set up a honey trap, sending a comely government investigator posing as a research assistant to draw out George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in a London bar.
President Obama got similarly wrapped around the axle when he stayed mum on his administration’s investigation into Russia’s sabotage. Obama choked after the diabolical Mitch McConnell warned the White House that, if it went through with a plan to publicly shame Moscow, he would regard that as a partisan act.”
There’s a show on CBS All Access, The Good Fight, whose current season goes to the heart of the dilemma: how do you attempt to fight fair when the other side continues to engage in foul play? The show stars Christine Baranski as a progressive lawyer at a pre-eminent black law firm in Chicago. With co-star Audra MacDonald, Baranski becomes part of a group of subversive women willing to do anything to defeat Trump in 2020. In the latest Season 3 episode, the women hack into voting machines to try to install voting malware intended to correct for voter suppression in black precincts. They find malware already installed — by Trump supporters — to boost voter totals for their guy.
Baranski and MacDonald struggle with their legal ethics in supporting the malware move — Baranski particularly resists, at least until she finds that the other side has already gone there. Then she’s all in.
This is the dilemma we face. Do we become like Trump, and McConnell, and Jim Jordan and Mick Mulvaney and now William Barr, in order to prevail against them? The proposition is unattractive — and yet we’re losing big time by fighting according to longstanding ethical norms.
I have no idea what to do — especially when the upcoming 2020 campaign will be more vicious even than 2016. Taking the high road isn’t going to cut it.