This year’s NBA playoffs have been so boring, so uninteresting, that both fans and sports journalists have had to invent things to talk about. As a result there’s been a silly conversation about whether Michael Jordan is still the greatest basketball player of all time or if LeBron James has eclipsed him. As I said, silly.
But I do understand there is a phenomenon that causes us to assume that what we are seeing, what we are witnessing, what we are living through simply must be the best, most prolific, or most extreme. It’s the bias of the present.
And maybe that bias is the best explanation for what was otherwise one of the most absurd statements made in media following the James Comey testimony yesterday. On CNN, reporter John King spoke to Wolf Blitzer to share his take and said this:
I think it is very interesting to listen to the Republican argument today… What they are asking, Wolf, actually is for you to dramatically lower the standard for being President of the United States, acceptable behavior for a president of the United States and these are the same people, remember, who said Hillary Clinton couldn’t be President of the United States because her conduct was beneath the dignity of the office. They are asking you today, politically, to lower the bar for acceptable conduct for the president.
Lower the bar? “Dramatically lower the standard?” This man either doesn’t know the history of the office he is speaking of, or it is a raging case of present bias. If you want to talk about low bars, forget James Comey and Trump’s conversations with him, and consider just a handful of our previous executives.
He was a murderer , slave abuser, practical tyrant, and essentially ordered the massacre of the Cherokee Indians. He set the bar about as low as one can imagine.
Warren G. Harding
Mired with scandal and corruption in his two years as president, Warren G. Harding was a notorious womanizer whose affair with the wife of his best friend James Phillips led to the funneling of monthly hush money from the RNC to the Phillips. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Harding was apparently far more into gambling than he was governing. Among his most notable achievements was managing to gamble away a set of White House china that had been in the White House since the days of Benjamin Harrison.
Besides his infamous “enemies list,” Nixon and his aides were up to their armpits in trying to discredit and personally destroy newspaper columnists who were seen as uncomplimentary or overly investigative. Recent unearthing of a death bed confession from one of Nixon’s “plumbers” even suggests that the president and his aides went so far as to plot to kill one such journalist, Jack Anderson:
“Feldstein also has uncovered new evidence that documents one of the more outrageous schemes of the Nixon presidency: a plot to assassinate Anderson by either putting poison in his medicine cabinet or exposing him to a “massive dose” of LSD by smearing it on the steering wheel of his car.”
Johnson carved out a delightful little reputation for being the guy who can’t keep his private parts private. Seriously, if you want to talk about a low standard for who holds the office of president, surely a serial flasher would have to be towards the top, no?
On one occasion, some reporters asked Johnson in an off-the-record gathering to explain America’s participation in Vietnam. There was no satisfactory answer to that question in LBJ’s brain, so he unzipped, revealed his not-so private member, and stated: “This is why!” Like other presidents before and since, Johnson found that his libidinous behaviour could be a cause of political weakness.
John F. Kennedy
If exposing your sex organs like it’s part of your constitutional responsibility wasn’t enough, consider Johnson’s predecessor who was a nothing short of a sexual predator who exploited innocent interns like 19-year-old Mimi Alford. On Alford’s fourth day on the job as a summer intern, JFK took her virginity from her in his wife Jackie’s White House bed. Worse, while swimming with her, the president forced her to perform oral sex on his top aide Dave Powers.
And keeping with our theme of sexual weaknesses, Bill Clinton spent so much time fending off rape allegations, sexual harassment lawsuits, and desecrating cigars in the Oval Office that he earned the noble distinction as the only president to ever lose the country’s nuclear launch codes. No joke, for a month he couldn’t find them. It’s bad enough to fornicate in the White House and jeopardize your family. It’s a whole different level when your dalliances threaten the safety and security of the country and world.
So look, I understand the Democrat/Media Complex, of which CNN and John King are a part, feel as though it is their sworn duty to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump. But in the course of their efforts, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to limit their hyperbolic LeBron-James-is-better-than-Michael-Jordan nonsense. It doesn’t help their cause. It makes them look irrational and absurd.