Date: Tuesday, November 22 2005
By Art Buchwald
Tuesday, November 15, 2005; C02
As if the president doesn't already have his plate full, he now must deal with ethics in the White House. His popularity is at an all-time low and members of his team are under a cloud.
Mr. Bush has ordered his staff to take a "refresher" course in ethics and the handling of classified material.
Here is how it might go:
"Loyal members of the White House staff. Welcome to the crash course in Remedial Ethics 101. As you know, the president feels our ethics are not up to snuff and you people, by staying the course, have lost your moral compass.
"If he can get us out of the war he got us into, solve the energy crisis, and save Medicare and Social Security, he can recoup his popularity and go down in history as the greatest president of all time.
"Now, what is ethics? It is not lying to the American people, unless you have to for a greater good.
"Being president of the most powerful nation in the world is hard, hard, hard work. And having his people indicted by a grand jury doesn't make the job any easier.
"I am going to give the class some hypothetical cases, and I want you to respond with the first thing that comes to mind.
"Someone in the government has written an op-ed piece in the New York Times making us look trigger-happy for going to war in Iraq. What is the first ethical thing to do? Stinman?"
"Have press secretary Scott McClellan deny it?"
"No, the first thing to do is find out who the writer is married to. If by chance he is married to an undercover CIA agent, what is the second thing you do? Boomlaw?"
"Call Robert Novak and leak it to him?"