The Eleventh Commandment

Has anybody noticed that the "Eleventh Commandment" has dropped out of public discourse in recent months?

The Eleventh Commandment, credited to none other than Ronald Reagan, goes like this: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican".

Reagan intended it as an admonition against the kind of backbiting and internal feuding that commonly cripples political organizations and movements. But for many years the Eleventh Commandment has been widely abused as a means of covering up for assorting malefactors operating under the GOP umbrella. It seems that no pervert, thief, hustler, or bribetaker could swing into action without voices being raised to tell us to "obey the Eleventh Commandment". Foley, the boys on Abramoff's payroll, Cunningham, Craig... everybody from the Speaker on down knew what they were up to, but everybody also knew that you don't "speak ill of another Republican".

Although it was the last thing in the world that Reagan meant (and although he was in no position to defend the words), the Eleventh Commandment was twisted to act as a defense for criminal elements who chose the Republican Party as their turf. And party officials and conservative spokespersons went along with the joke.

But now, in a case involving someone who truly meets all standards, who really merits the treatment, that phrase is nowhere to be heard. Sarah Palin, as a reformer, an honest politician, and in many ways the public face of the party, would seem to deserve at least as much consideration as a Cunningham or an Abramoff. But somehow, the Eleventh Commandment comes up neither in words or in practice.

I don't get it. I mean, it can't be due to ignorance. Some of the people making the nastiest attacks actually worked for Reagan, didn't they?

But I wouldn't  worry about it. Like all good things, the Eleventh Commandment will make a comeback. The next time somebody is picked up with a pocketful of hot cash or for pawing a twelve-year-old in a men's room, we'll hear it again in all its glory: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican."

We just have to keep our priorities straight, that's all.
Has anybody noticed that the "Eleventh Commandment" has dropped out of public discourse in recent months?

The Eleventh Commandment, credited to none other than Ronald Reagan, goes like this: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican".

Reagan intended it as an admonition against the kind of backbiting and internal feuding that commonly cripples political organizations and movements. But for many years the Eleventh Commandment has been widely abused as a means of covering up for assorting malefactors operating under the GOP umbrella. It seems that no pervert, thief, hustler, or bribetaker could swing into action without voices being raised to tell us to "obey the Eleventh Commandment". Foley, the boys on Abramoff's payroll, Cunningham, Craig... everybody from the Speaker on down knew what they were up to, but everybody also knew that you don't "speak ill of another Republican".

Although it was the last thing in the world that Reagan meant (and although he was in no position to defend the words), the Eleventh Commandment was twisted to act as a defense for criminal elements who chose the Republican Party as their turf. And party officials and conservative spokespersons went along with the joke.

But now, in a case involving someone who truly meets all standards, who really merits the treatment, that phrase is nowhere to be heard. Sarah Palin, as a reformer, an honest politician, and in many ways the public face of the party, would seem to deserve at least as much consideration as a Cunningham or an Abramoff. But somehow, the Eleventh Commandment comes up neither in words or in practice.

I don't get it. I mean, it can't be due to ignorance. Some of the people making the nastiest attacks actually worked for Reagan, didn't they?

But I wouldn't  worry about it. Like all good things, the Eleventh Commandment will make a comeback. The next time somebody is picked up with a pocketful of hot cash or for pawing a twelve-year-old in a men's room, we'll hear it again in all its glory: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican."

We just have to keep our priorities straight, that's all.