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Let's say a CEO does a great job for stockholders; he increases profits five-fold, treats the employees well, and causes the stock price to skyrocket. He's a superstar. One day the public learns that the CEO killed a guy to get ahead in his career, but the CEO doesn't get convicted because his clever attorney gets him off on a technicality. Assume in this hypothetical situation that the public correctly believes the CEO killed a guy to advance his career. Should the board of directors allow the superstar CEO to keep his job? Or is killing a guy to advance your career always a firing offense?

Okay, keep your answer in mind.

The next question is for supporters of President Obama. Let's say your political views map closely to the President's positions. He's your guy. But suppose you found out he once killed an American citizen in the United States to help his reelection. And assume, as with the CEO example, that the facts of the killing are undisputed and the President found a legal means to avoid prosecution. In that hypothetical case, would you still vote for President Obama? Or would you say it is a firing offense for a President to kill a citizen to advance his career?

I predict that every one of you favored firing the hypothetical CEO for killing a guy to get ahead. My second prediction is that every Republican reader of this blog favored firing President Obama in the hypothetical and imaginary case of him murdering a citizen to get elected. My third prediction is that supporters of President Obama will quibble with the hypothetical example, or my comparison to the CEO, or say President Obama is still a better option than Romney. In other words, for most supporters of President Obama, I don't think there is such a thing as a "firing offense."

For the record, President Obama did not technically kill anyone to get elected. That was just a hypothetical example. But he is putting an American citizen in jail for 10 years to life for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in California where it is legal under state law. And I assume the President - who has a well-documented history of extensive marijuana use in his youth - is clamping down on California dispensaries for political reasons, i.e. to get reelected. What other reason could there be?

One could argue that the President is just doing his job and enforcing existing Federal laws. That's the opposite of what he said he would do before he was elected, but lying is obviously not a firing offense for politicians.

Personally, I'd prefer death to spending the final decades of my life in prison. So while President Obama didn't technically kill a citizen, he is certainly ruining this fellow's life, and his family's lives, and the lives of countless other minor drug offenders. And he is doing it to advance his career. If that's not a firing offense, what the hell is?

Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration. But he's enough of a chameleon and a pragmatist that one can't be sure. And I'm fairly certain he'd want a second term. He might find it "economical" to use federal resources in other ways than attacking California voters. And he is vocal about promoting states' rights, so he's got political cover for ignoring dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.

So while I don't agree with Romney's positions on most topics, I'm endorsing him for president starting today. I think we need to set a minimum standard for presidential behavior, and jailing American citizens for political gain simply has to be a firing offense no matter how awesome you might be in other ways.

[Update: Congratulations to Politico for being the first to take this post out of context. I'm a little disappointed in Jezebel, Gawker and Salon for being slow to the party. Are all of their context-removers on vacation or something?]

[Update 2: Nipping on the heels of Politico, Mediaite.com weighs in with their own out-of-context outrage. They managed to throw in some charges of racism and something about rape. Well done.]

[Update 3: Kudos to Reason.com for doing a good job preserving the context of this post while still quoting from it. Notice their story headline shows they understand the central point of my post. And since their readership probably overlaps a lot with mine, my writing makes sense in their environment too. That rarely happens. -- Scott]

[Update 4: Meanwhile, at Huffington Post, where context goes to die, a key point in my blog post has been summarized as: ". . . cartoonist Scott Adams said he's under the impression Romney would be softer on marijuana than President Barack Obama." Is that how you would interpret my sentence "Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration"? If not, you can't write for Huffington Post.

[Update 5: Daily Kos takes the context destruction trophy by proudly quoting from the Politico article's out-of-context treatment. Daily Kos scored a rare "double" by taking out of context a piece that was already out of context. Their under-informed readers chimed in to point out that they are sure I don't believe in evolution, which I've often publicly said meets the tests to be called a scientific fact. Another commenter points out that I must hate women because the Alice character is getting less time in Dilbert. You can't get that kind of insight anywhere but Daily Kos."

[Update 6: Newser.com gets an "A" for reporting the story objectively and even mentioning that context is an issue and readers can come here to see it in its native context. Nicely done.]

[Update 7: A little late to the party, but Gawker finally weighed in with a snarky dismissal of their misinterpretation of what I wrote. It's not a party until you guys show up. Can Jezebel be far behind?]

 

 
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May 21, 2014
Yeah, not very nice of those media outlets to take you out of context, Scott. That said, I refuse to accept most of the premises of your article here.

First of all, you claim that Obama is putting away a guy in jail for 10 years to win re-election. Um, hogwash. Well over a dozen people in California have been prosecuted for similar reasons, not just this guy, and not just during election season. This happens when a.) their stores become a magnet for average recreational users with no medical excuse, and b.) their stores become well-known chains across the state. That's called "sticking out your neck and daring someone to chop it off".

This guy has an additional problem going for him, which makes his case extra special: He refused to plead guilty. Simply put, he felt it was "unconstitutional" for California law to allow this kind of thing and federal bans on it to supersede that. The court, disagreed, for reasons of basic constitutional fact. Other people who've been prosecuted have pled guilty, and gotten off relatively easily. This guy didn't, and voluntarily decided to become a martyr to the cause of mellowing hallucinogens. More power to him.

You may think all of that is wrong, and that the federal government has no business cracking down on chain stores that are magnets for recreational smokers, in violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of even the state law. That's fair enough, even though I disagree. But implying that Obama went after the guy to show off his law/order bonafides in advance of election time contradicts both a.) fact and b.) basic political common sense, given the Democrat base's general position on these things.

What's worse is your moral reasoning on this. We need to set a standard of basic unacceptable behavior for chief executives, you say. So let's make a first example out of Barack Hussein Obama, a man who, for all his multiple faults, a.) succeeded a president who, if he didn't lie outright to justify war, misled himself, his entire executive branch, and about $2 trillion of taxpayer dollars into it, b.) succeeded a Democrat president who, for all his abilities in the job, lied twice under oath, and c.) rare slips notwithstanding, has been cleaner on the issue of lobbyists in his office than pretty much the last. . . oh, five or six people that have occupied it.

I think the real problem you have with this guy is the over-the-top love some of his followers have for him, and how unjustified that unconditional love is, for him and for that matter, every other political figure. He's been called the "Messiah", you perceive that some of that gets to Obama's head, he then does a few things wrong, and you consider such hypocrisy more of a "firing offense" than all the blatantly ruthless things that Clinton and Bush have done in the office combined.

In other words, it's better to be a blatant jerk, like Romney, than a hypocrite, like Obama. Even for one instance. Like this one.

Um. . . no, Scott. I know you feel strongly about this story, but no. Not worth it.

Jeez Louise, this happened like two years ago. Why am I commenting on it now? I just become a fan of Dilbert, decide to read the entire strip from beginning to end along with some of the blog entries, and look what happens to me.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 24, 2012
Well, you have to admit that the piece on mediaite is kinda funny:

"Thus, the premise of Adams’ endorsement is that President Obama has been too tough on medical marijuana dispensaries, but Mitt Romney will be better because he sucks so much. Or something like that. Also, the President kinda killed a guy, but not really. But he totally killed a guy:" (then comes a quote from your blog)

To me, this shows that mediaite is more entertainment then information. Which also goes for yourself, as you have repeatedly said. So the bunch of you are fighting eachother for our entertainment, that's what I get out of it.

So all of this is entertainment, not information, and we're all better off voting for Obama (allthough this last remark will bring me the thumbs down).
 
 
Oct 23, 2012
I wouldn't be surprised if the legalization of marijuana becomes a hot, states rites issue the next few years. Out in colorado we have a amendment that legalizes marijuana throughout the whole state. Not quite sure it will pass, but if it does i'm curious how it will pan out with the feds...

We have a moderate democrat governor John Hickenlooper, who I hope, just might put up a bit of a stink with the federal government meddling with dispensers out here.
 
 
-10 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
@alexegz

...Where have you been the past four years? You don't even have to look to find Obamabashing all around you. Scott has been Obamabashing here since Wednesday.
 
 
+25 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
I, for one am grateful the O man is on his way out. We had 8 years of president bashing from both sides which sometimes made sense and other times not, but with Pres B, all I hear are excuses. We are supposed to hold the big guy responsible for problems that come along. Was there an oil spill? Anyone care? How many terrorist attacks took place? Were there any? How about the cost of living? Anyone notice? Am I the only one struggling? I remember hearing the old Clinton lady shouting about how we are American and have a right to criticize any president of any administration to a cheering crowd.

I'm waiting to sigh with relief when I can see that again - when Romney is in office.
 
 
-15 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
I didn't think the company should fire the CEO. Why should they? There job is to choose the most effective possible CEO. To do otherwise is to reduce the amount of money they will make. SO naturally your analogy takes on a somewhat different tone for me - are you willing to accept a president who will actively harm America, in order to punish someone for pragmatically furthering his political career? If you want to argue Romney will, in fact, be a better president, that's an entirely different matter.
 
 
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
@KingFisher

A person who strays too far from the wishes of the people who elected him will soon find himself without a job. All I'm saying is there is no necessity for a politician to vote the will of the constituency on every single issue.

Assuming I was crazy enough to run for office I'd make it very clear that if they elect me I intend to vote my conscience, and I'd do my best to convey what my value system and beliefs are so people could make an informed decision. I would certainly listen to my constituency, but I would never vote for something I find immoral or unjust even if 90% of my voters were for it. If that's a problem for somebody they're welcome to never vote for me in the first place, and they're certainly welcome not to vote me back into office if I was elected.

Not that I could ever get elected anyway. Voters seem to have an aversion to the truth and I'm not much of one for lying.
 
 
Oct 20, 2012
@ EtherGnat

Democracy by representation is not about opinion polls (that's no better than a direct democracy - which doesn't work) But it does require an elected representitive to be in tune with his constituents. Not every issue comes up in an election, and even if it did - some are considered more important than others.

There is an attitude at all levels of government that I feel is very bad - that being elected gives a person a mandate to do everything they campaigned on. So lets say that I ran a successful campaign on platform stressing one issue in particular that is important to voters - like the economy. Does this give me the right to pursue my pet policies that my constituents aren't crazy about?

An elected dictator is still a dictator.
 
 
-42 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2012
OK, I take one of the baits:
I quibble with the CEO example. While reading it, the example turned in my mind into "Would I, as a shareholder, want to fire this guy?" and I have to admit I found it non-obvious. That guy is legally innocent and in a rule-of-law-country this ought to be enough to treat him as innocent. Furthermore, from a company or its personnel I don't expect any tree-hugging or associated activities, after all, it's capitalism.

But a politician is (at least for me) supposed to be a moral model too, behaving in such a way that the vast majority of citizens think of him as well behaved and everything.

As for the drug guy, I don't know enough of the situation. Nor do I know that Obama thought. Maybe he feared a precedent for state law superseeding federal law and wants to keep the republic together? Did he say anything at all about this? Did it turn up in the election fight? It ought to.

Personally, if I were an american, I'd still vote for Obama because a repeal (or sabotage) of the health care law would create a lot more misery. It's triage situation.
 
 
+36 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2012
"For the record, President Obama did not technically kill anyone to get elected."

How do you know?
 
 
-18 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2012
@pltrgyst

[As Anthony_32 just said, "On the other hand, if you are actually supporting Mitt over the president because of this one issue, you may not be the paragon of rational intellectualism I believed you to be."

He's dead right.]

Hard to say. On the one hand, I agree that Scott is wrong to endorse Romney and his immunity to some of the better arguments in Obamas favor suggest to me that theres something going on in his head that hes not telling us. OTOH even after endorsing Romney he has defended Obama on a number of controversial issues, which strikes me as pretty rational. And perhaps we expect too much from him. Hes human. And if Im right and hes acting from a sense of betrayal then his blogs and comments make sense.
 
 
-35 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2012
It's difficult to believe that anyone -- particularly anyone with your supposed political involvement and sensitivity -- is sufficiently naive and ignorant to think that *anything* said during a campaign is a promise; it is not. It is a statement of objectives and positions, yes, but it cannot signal commitment, and it cannot be binding. This is because upon assuming office, the politician becomes bound by his oath to defend the Constitution and the realities of holding office and governing.

That said: yes, Scott, the president -- any president -- is sworn to uphold the law, and must do so. He may work to have that law changed, but that is another matter entirely.

As Anthony_32 just said, "On the other hand, if you are actually supporting Mitt over the president because of this one issue, you may not be the paragon of rational intellectualism I believed you to be."

He's dead right.
 
 
+21 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 20, 2012
Of course Representatives should be deciding things based on their own beliefs and morals. There is nothing that says Representatives must be slaves to opinion polls. The only issue I see is if they've misrepresented their beliefs to voters prior to being elected.
 
 
Oct 19, 2012
@nasch

In a republic or a democracy, an elected representative or official should not be deciding things according to their own interests, which includes moral and ethical beliefs.

To use a very hot button issue, lets say a governor is personally opposed to gay marriage, but leads a state very much in favor of it. A representative is his own constituent, of course, but to say that the opinion of one man counts for more than the opinion of many is not democracy or republicanism - it is moral dictatorship.

Of course many people on both the right and left seem to long for that...
 
 
Oct 19, 2012
Is it coincidence that Scott writes a blog about us living in computer simulation and endorses Romney in next? :)
 
 
-22 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2012
Hey Scott Adams,
You're right Obamma is not doing what he said in regards to marijuana and his actions since taking office are totally at odds with each other and what is best for the American people (on this issue and a couple of others). But you are dead wrong to endorse Mitt, who's marijuana policies will be the same or worse. He has stated several times he is against marijuana law reform even for medical uses, and this is one issue he hasn't backtracked on. Besides that there are the whoppers he keeps tellin' as well, why endorse someone you know is lying to you and everyone else, who represents a giant leap backwards for American kind?

Please consider endorsing the Gary Johnson and Jim Gray ticket instead. These guys I think, are the real deal. Not just on the Marijuana issue, but in the integrity and common sense aspects of this mess as well... just sayin...
 
 
Oct 19, 2012
I'll start by saying that while I don't consider myself an "Obama supporter", I frequently find myself in the position of supporting Obama where I feel he is being unfairly attacked, and my positions align more closely with Obama than Romney (or at least whatever positions Romney appears to be holding today). I see no practical difference between your CEO and Obama example. Although I would be interested in learning the !$%*!$%*!$%*! in both cases, in general I would feel neither should keep their job.

I'm also a big supporter of the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. I've never used any illegal substances, and in fact I barely drink, but I believe marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, adults should be able to make their own decisions, and the negative impact of the war on drugs has far exceeded the downside of marijuana legalization. I'm pretty disgusted with the President on the issue.

In fact I cast my vote for Gary Johnson (even though we differ on a great many important issues) partially on the marijuana issue, and largely because he has the balls to stand up for what he believes in. If you want to endorse somebody on the issue, endorse somebody who is actually for what you believe in. At any rate I think it's more likely for Obama to come out in favor of decriminalization--similar to his switch on gay marriage--than it is for Romney to support the cause. I find your entire line of reasoning silly.
 
 
+46 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2012
Anthony_32 says [I am an Obama supporter, and I would vote for him even if he shot a child holding a puppy on Christmas Eve on live television (the child holding the puppy, not the president). PRESUMING that the alternative was for Mitt to win the election, that is. If his opponent were Ron Paul, I would be torn...]

Wow! No use in even talking facts or trying to have an intellectual discussion with this guy then...

 
 
+43 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2012
@whtllnew - [Republican presidents tend to cut taxes and increase spending. Obama may or may not bring the deficit under control but he is more likely to than Romney.]

On what grounds can you even say with a straight face that Obama "may" bring deficits under control? How about the $1.1 trillion he has borrowed every year he's been in office despite the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan? CBO estimates that Obamacare will add ANOTHER $1.6 trillion over ten years to the deficit. When was the last time the federal gov raised taxes and then NOT turned around and spent even more than what they raised? As a percentage of GDP, the federal government is now at the same level as during WWII when we were building battleships, tanks, and bombers and fighting a world war.

At least Romney promises to cut spending whereas Obama does not. Obama only promises to "work with the other side" which is a complete farce as we have seen him ram Obamacare down our throats and labeled everyone who objected as irrational at best and racist at worst. To vote for Obama would be to say you don't care that the government is financing it's current lifestyle at a cost to today's children. I find that selfish and despicable.

To quote Thomas Sowell..."I never understood why it is considered 'greed' to want to keep the money you earned while it is not greed to want someone elses money".
 
 
+20 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 19, 2012
@whtllnew - [Republican presidents tend to cut taxes and increase spending. Obama may or may not bring the deficit under control but he is more likely to than Romney.]

On what grounds can you even say with a straight face that Obama "may" bring deficits under control? How about the $1.1 trillion he has borrowed every year he's been in office despite the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan? CBO estimates that Obamacare will add ANOTHER $1.6 trillion over ten years to the deficit. When was the last time the federal gov raised taxes and then NOT turned around and spent even more than what they raised? As a percentage of GDP, the federal government is now at the same level as during WWII when we were building battleships, tanks, and bombers and fighting a world war.

At least Romney promises to cut spending whereas Obama does not. Obama only promises to "work with the other side" which is a complete farce as we have seen him ram Obamacare down our throats and labeled everyone who objected as irrational at best and racist at worst. To vote for Obama would be to say you don't care that the government is financing it's current lifestyle at a cost to today's children. I find that selfish and despicable.

To quote Thomas Sowell..."I never understood why it is considered 'greed' to want to keep the money you earned while it is not greed to want someone elses money".
 
 
 
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