Are Scandals Just a Part of Politics?

What makes a scandal and how does it affect trust in the government?

Capitol Bureau Chief for Michigan Public Radio Network  Rick Pluta and Publisher of Gongwer News Service and political reporter John Lindstrom, speak with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today about the investigation into state Rep. Todd Courser’s sex scandal and the bizarre attempted cover-up that followed. Hear their views on what makes a political scandal and listen to some callers give their opinions as well:

  • Salacious Hypocrisy: Courser’s strange behavior and attempts to deal with his blooming scandal involved a self-smear campaign that included admissions of drug use, drinking, and gay affairs. He admitted to the cover-up in his audio statement and Pluta notes that some believe he used similar distraction tactics during his election primaries.
  • Crime and Punishment: Lindstrom explains while the affair with Rep. Gamarat itself isn’t a crime, the cover-up operation may have used public resources. Michigan’s laws regarding the misuse of public resources are much more stringent than federal guidelines and if they are found guilty, they could be asked to leave or could even be forced out from their seats.
  • Trusting the House: Callers expressed a variety of views. One caller feels that if they aren’t punished for their questionable behavior it says something about the entirety of the U.S.’s governing body. Another expressed that money, power, and sleaze have always been a part of the government, he says “It’s part of politics in this country.”
  • Republican Infighting: Although they do represent a portion of the republican body, Pluta says within the actual party, Courser and Gamarat were isolated. Lindstrom says the two of them have always thought they represented a right-wing majority that feels its views are repressed by the establishment.

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation