The press was all over Democratic Indiana U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly for hypocrisy because he criticized American companies for exploiting cheap foreign labor at the same time his family ran a business that depends on some of the very trade policies he has denounced, including low-paid foreign labor.
Then it picked on Indiana Republican U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, one of Donnelly's two main competitors in next year's race for that Senate seat, because of the obscene amount of money his wife makes as a part-time town attorney and because his family lives in Washington more than it does in Indiana.
Now, it's the turn of Indiana Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, Donnelly's other main competitor.
He is, The Associated Press reveals, one of the worlds most horrible bosses: “Staffers in tears. Pay cuts for small mistakes. Aides who walked out of the office — and never came back.” Working for Rokita “is an exacting job with long hours, made more difficult by a boss known for micromanaging and yelling at his staff, according to 10 former aides who spoke to The Associated Press.”
Rokita's abrasiveness is apparently not limited to staffers. He has rubbed many Indiana Republicans the wrong way, too, leading the GOP-controlled Legislature to cut him out of his district when they redrew congressional maps after the last census. His temper has also flared when meeting with students, according to those in attendance.
Then there is the set of instructions Rokita gives anybody unlucky enough to draw chauffeur duty, a detailed eight-page memo covering everything from his demand for black coffee, his expectation of always-handy gum and his desire not to be distracted by unnecessary chit-chat.
Don't get us wrong. We enjoy reading these kinds of stories as much as the next person. It doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things whether a public official is a hypocrite or a mean person, but personal traits give us a hint of someone's character, and that can be a factor in whether we choose to put our faith in them. And it's always nice to get a glimpse of politicians as real flesh-and-blood people with ordinary weaknesses just like the rest of us.
But how about a few stories on what the three men stand for and how what they might do could affect us?
You know, just for kicks. It's called journalism.