Legal Law

Profiles in cowardice

We have a president who spits madness in the world: he spits out wild conspiracy theories about the elections that actually have no basis.

Republicans in Congress have refused to condemn this behavior, and many have supported it positively.


Because they’re scared of receiving a nasty tweet.

Honest to God, we have soldiers all over the world who risk injury or death to defend America.

And Republican Senators scared of how a tweet might hurt them?

It’s breathtaking.

Say the worst happens: a nasty tweet hits its mark. Egad! Instead of being Senator Jarndyce, you lose your election and become a former Senator Jarndyce. You retire to a couple of corporate boards and give speeches for 10 or 20 grand. Is that terrible?

What are you risking

Soldiers risk life and limb; You risk being forced into a comfortable next phase of your life.

I agree with presidents who serve as role models.

When an epidemic hits the United States and literally thousands of lives could be saved by wearing a mask, the president should wear a mask. I don’t care if a mask is a little uncomfortable or could be turned into a political point: on one side of the scale there is a little discomfort or a political point; On the other hand, there are literally tens of thousands of lives. Which side weighs more?

Lest you fear that I am terribly partisan, let me be non-partisan in my criticism: when President Bill Clinton is asked under oath about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he must tell the truth. He must model good behavior for all Americans. (There is a difference here between committing perjury and perjury charges. I’m just saying that Clinton should not have committed perjury; reasonable opinions may differ as to whether perjury is sufficient to warrant impeachment.)

As a trial attorney, I have spent decades instructing people strictly to tell the truth under oath. I have spoken to people on occasion who are at risk of losing their jobs if they tell the truth. But I said to middle-level managers who are likely to be fired for telling the truth that they have an obligation to tell the truth. They were under oath.

President Clinton only risked impeachment: if he told the truth, he could lose a vote in the Senate. He would be forced to be a past president, serving on more prominent bodies than the former senators and giving speeches for a hundred grand a pop. A middle-level manager with kids in school and a mortgage payable is at serious risk for telling the truth. a president is not.

Or, of course, this could be argued as a threat rather than a principle: when you take an oath to tell the truth, you promise your immortal soul that you will not lie. How do you respond to the following question, which is threatened by eternal damnation?

I am not counting on posthumous retribution for our petty or affidavit politicians.

But I wouldn’t mind a little karma.

Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner in a leading international law firm and is now Deputy General Counsel in a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon Guide to Legal Practice and Litigation liability strategy for drugs and devicesand (Affiliate links). You can reach him by email at [email protected].

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