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Opinion: US presidents have and will fail us ethically, morally
01022018 WHITE HOUSE

One of my recent letters listed some of President Joe Biden’s greatest gaffes. A respondent suggested Biden’s mental lapses are “trivial” compared to President Donald Trump’s lies. 

Well, over the past six decades, there have been ethical lapses by several U.S. presidents:

President John Kennedy had numerous extra-marital affairs. Married to Jackie, a beautiful brunette, Kennedy boasted: “I got into the blondes.” The most famous one was actress Marilyn Monroe.

President Lyndon Johnson made this promise during his 1964 campaign: “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” More than 500,000 U.S. troops went to Vietnam, where 58,318 were killed.

President Richard Nixon declared: “I am not a crook.” But the Nixon tapes revealed his involvement in the Watergate scandal in which federal agents broke into the Democratic Party offices. Nixon resigned in disgrace rather than face impeachment. Amid controversy, President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon.

President Bill Clinton proclaimed vehemently: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman … Miss (Monica) Lewinsky.” Clinton did have sex with that young intern in the White House. He was impeached, then acquitted because the U.S. Senate placed politics above principles. 

Other women accused “Slick Willy” Clinton of sexual misconduct, including Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones, who received $850,000 from Clinton to make the case go away.

President Barack Obama, during the “Obamacare” debate, said: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.” Obama surpassed that whopper when he claimed to have a “scandal-free” administration. Really?

There was ATF’s “Fast & Furious” fiasco, State Department’s Benghazi debacle, Hillary-gate and the FBI spying on Trump and associates. Let’s hope John Durham’s investigation produces some indictments. There were also scandals at Obama’s Justice Department, NSA, IRS, VA, TSA and Secret Service. 

President Joe Biden has lied repeatedly throughout his long political career. Biden said he was arrested in South Africa while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. Not true. Biden said he opposed the Iraq War. Not so. Biden said he marched in the civil rights movement. Another lie. Biden plagiarized a 1987 speech by using lines from British politician Neil Kinnock. Biden said he finished in the top half of his law school class; he placed 76th out of 85. Biden claimed to be a unifying moderate, but that blatant lie is being exposed every day.

James Madison observed in Federalist 51: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” No president has been angelic. Unquestionably, politicians should be held to the highest ethical standards, but we shouldn’t be shocked by their moral failures. 

Romans 3:23 (NIV) states: “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” When our political leaders disappoint us — and they will — “we the people” have the power to vote them out of office. Choose wisely!

Dick Biggs

Gainesville

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