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None of Our Business

Bush Guests Include GOP Backers.

by Barnabas
August 21, 2002

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None of Our Business_Barnabas-Bush Guests Include GOP Backers.
“Bush Guests Include GOP Backers”
AP headline, August 17

This report is beneath comment, but a columnist pledged to comment on absurdities in the news is required to take on subjects that are beneath comment.

In the Microsoft Dictionary, synonyms for “absurd” are listed under “foolish.” It was foolish when the houseguests of the Clintons were being dissected in the public press; it is even sillier now, because apparently we learned nothing from that shabby example of American journalism.

What is Mrs. Bush to say to acquaintances, according to the specious standards set by these reports? “You know, of course, that if you have given a lot of money to our campaigns, you are not welcome in our home.” Then the news would at least be news: “Bushes Refuse to Invite GOP Backers to the White House.”

If we furnish the President’s family with a home they are required to live in, then that is what it must be: their home. The guests are their guests, whom they may have in their home for any non-criminal reason whatever. They are no more required to distinguish between public and private friends than we are. In their own home, they are to be judged by the same standards that we are in our homes: unless we are committing crimes, what we are doing is nobody else’s business.

As long as we finance our political campaigns from private contributions, every candidate from County Register of Deeds (an elective office where I live) to the President is going to rely to some degree on rich friends. Every candidate who doesn’t have rich friends will go and try to make and keep them. When you are doing this, it is fund-raising; when your opponent is doing it, it is influence-peddling.

We need to draw the line, though, on the bedrooms in the President’s home -- to keep score on who is sleeping in which bed, and how often.
I said last week concerning Congress that where there is no honor there is no shame. The maxim applies equally to editors, reporters, and pundits.

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