Who needs rules in politics?

By WND Staff

Whoever said that rules are made to be broken was not raised in the same house that I was. My parents took a dim view of any of their children who bent the rules or pleaded technicalities of the law. When one of my brothers took a candy bar from the A&P one summer afternoon years ago, just on the grounds that he was “hungry,” he was marched right back to the store by my mother to pay for it. I don’t think he saw daylight for the next couple of weeks. Today, he is a stellar citizen.

Most baby boomers were raised in similar circumstances by parents of the “greatest generation” who brooked no nonsense when it came to the rules. Adherence to the rule of law, based on the strictest possible interpretation of the statutes, was instilled early and often until it became automatic.

For those of us to whom lawful existence is a way of life, it can be shocking to hear how others break the rules, and especially so when lawmakers themselves try to game the system.

The New Jersey senatorial race is the latest example. The Democrat leadership decided to force out their own candidate, Sen. Robert Torricelli, who was way behind in the polls, so that they can put in someone with a chance to win. The only hitch is that they missed by a mile the deadline for such changes. Plus, Torricelli was duly chosen by the voters in the primaries, and absentee ballots have already been mailed out. Some voters have already completed and returned their ballots.

Despite all that, and even though this is a self-inflicted wound, the Democrats have persuaded the New Jersey Supreme Court to overturn the rules and let them bring in a ringer.

Can you imagine the brouhaha if the Yankees tried to add a pitcher to their post-season team after the deadline for roster additions had passed? No one would stand for that.

Yankee lawyer: “But you see, Mr. Commissioner, our old pitcher, Lefty, is coming off a bad year. He gave up homers in droves all summer, and he can’t hold anybody on base. Whereas our new guy shows much more promise. We’re sure that we can do better in the post season if we can just make this teensy change.”

Commissioner: “Sorry. The deadline has passed. The rules allow for no changes after the deadline except in the case of death.”

Yankee lawyer: “We thought of that, Commissioner. We were going to kill Lefty, but we weren’t sure you’d buy that. Instead, we have decided to change the argument. We now think that the real issue here is not the rules but making sure that we give the fans a competitive post season. What’s a few late roster changes one way or the other as long as it helps us win – er, be competitive?”

Commissioner: “Hmm. You may have a point. I have just received a note from the manager of the team you’ll be facing in the playoffs. Seems they just signed three 20-game winners from the National League, and they want to add them to their roster.”

Yankee lawyer: “What! They can’t do that. That’s cheating. Surely you won’t allow it, Commissioner.”

Commissioner: “We’ll have to see. One must lead by example, you know. After all, you set the precedent.”

These Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs that year, and the commissioner made them sit out the following season to boot. My brother could have told them that.

Graham Marlow, a bookseller in Salisbury, Conn., is a former reporter who has written commentary for the Hartford Courant.