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On Politics and Hypocrisy

We, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," love it when ideological folk offer deceptive rationales for their favored politicians. If you ask us, those with deeply held political beliefs vote for candidates essentially for one reason: These candidates' views most closely resemble their own.

Everything else is just hogwash. "I like Al Gore because he's more articulate than George Bush," a committed liberal might have said in 2000. To which we respond: Nonsense. If George W. Bush could speak like Alan Keyes, you'd still favor Gore.

The same is true, we think, for ideological voters across the political spectrum. Thus the same people who blithely plumped for George W. Bush in 2000 despite his comparatively meager political CV will inform you that they can't vote for Barack Obama because he lacks experience. If you ask us, this is all garbage.

Provided a candidate hasn't committed any galactically horrible offense--say, murder, rape, or attending a Phil Collins concert--he can count on the support of his ideological confreres. Political partisans of every stripe can justify almost any action, as long as its perpetrator is an ideological soul mate.

We had reason to reflect on this anew when taking in Bill O'Reilly's recent hectoring of the devilishly handsome John Edwards. According to Mr. O'Reilly, John Edwards is a "phony," a hypocrite who pretends to care about the nation's poor whilst living it up in extravagant style.

Quite frankly, we can see Mr. O'Reilly's point. The recent press clippings on Mr. Edwards--outlandishly expensive haircuts, a well-remunerated hedge-fund gig, lavish fees for speeches on poverty--don't exactly make Mr. Edwards seem like a beacon of integrity.

Now, in one sense, perhaps the charges of hypocrisy are a mite unfair. After all, any presidential candidate with the faintest hope of winning election will be a rich man. Does this mean that such men and women, by virtue of their backgrounds, cannot bring up the subject of economic inequality? That strikes us as foolish.

At the same time, however, it seems more than a bit dubious of Mr. Edwards to make poverty his campaign's central focus when, given his staggering wealth, he personally could do more to alleviate it. Does the man really need to live in a home the size of the Koresh compound? Why not give some of that money away to the "Other America"?

Naturally, though, committed liberals will see our criticism as an example of "shooting the messenger." They'll make all sorts of justifications for Mr. Edwards' behavior.

Ah, but they wouldn't do so for, say, Bill Bennett. You remember the old brouhaha: Mr. Bennett, the country's erstwhile unofficial morality czar, proved to be a formidable gambler. And, despite the fact that Mr. Bennett had never taken issue with gambling per se, our liberal pals pounced. We recall Michael Kinsley gleefully consigning Mr. Bennett to the dustbin of American political history thanks to his gambling transgressions.

But wait: Weren't liberals such as Mr. Kinsley merely "shooting the messenger"? Why can't Mr. Bennett's criticisms of American culture still be valid, despite their author's supposed moral failings?

It's exasperating, but it's a fact: The leftists who label right-wing virtue-crats hypocrites will be the same people to exonerate liberals for their economic hypocrisy. And the same is true regarding right-wingers.

Can't we all admit that we vote for those who share our political views, hypocrisy be darned?

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently willing to bet Bill Bennett $400 that John Edwards will not win his party's nomination. All proceeds will go to Mr. Edwards' tonsorial fund.)


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Comments (29)

"If you ask us, those with ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"If you ask us, those with deeply held political beliefs vote for candidates essentially for one reason: These candidates' views most closely resemble their own.-Hatemongers Quarterly Robot"

I feel like a New Buddha! A Buddha of Hate for the Hatemongers Quarterly Robot!


Politics is hypocrisy.... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Politics is hypocrisy.

Its is these rambling-throu... (Below threshold)
serfer62:

Its is these rambling-through-the-bushs before arrival at the single sentence that explains the issue that condemn further examination.

All you had to say was people vote for people like them...the rest was boring BS.

"Can't we all admit that we... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"Can't we all admit that we vote for those who share our political views, hypocrisy be darned?"

I thought most people vote that way, I do.
The rest is all spin and noise. I'm tired of endless debates and circle jerkin of the same topics over and over trying to CONVINCE others to change minds.

Just look at the candidates, whoever thinks and stands closest to your own personal views on the issues gets the vote. Pretty simple actually.

Why not give some of th... (Below threshold)
marc:

Why not give some of that money away to the "Other America"?

I agree, Edwards should give a few bucks to the guy that lives across the street.

But then he would have to face the wife, and we KNOW how she feels about the Republican across the street.

Edwards isn't opposed to pe... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Edwards isn't opposed to people getting rich; he's opposed to people doing it without regard for their fellow human beings' welfare. If he's rich by virtue of having exploited others, he's a hypocrite; if his wealth is fairly gotten, the charge is unfair.

if his wealth is fairly ... (Below threshold)
Gringo:

if his wealth is fairly gotten, the charge is unfair

The merit of the charge will be determined by the People's Committee on Financial Fairness

Are you disputing that some... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Are you disputing that some wealth is ill-gotten, Gringo?

All that I meant to assert was that if people play by the rules (pay their taxes, don't exploit legal or illegal workers, etc.) and get rich, they are not a hypocrite for deploring poverty; nor are they a hypocrite for raising questions about the social and economic conditions under which market competition occurs.

Fairness and exploitation are fuzzy concepts about which people can have reasonable disagreement, but that doesn't make them meaningless or unhelpful.

True enough, but this disco... (Below threshold)
Robert the Orginal:

True enough, but this discounts other factors known to be in play:

1) We laugh at Edwards, but it is known that Kennedy crossed the margin on sex appeal.

2)Some will vote on the guidance of their union.

3)Priests and Ministers have an impact, particularly with black voters.

4) Women's groups will have an effect.

So, it cannot always be said that voters vote their interests, sometimes it is in the interests of others.

Politics and hypocrisy?... (Below threshold)
marc:

Politics and hypocrisy?

Where have I seen that before...

This is a good place to start. Sen. Schumer on the TB guy crossing the border:

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said the mistake at the border was a sign that the Customs and Border Protection bureau was stretched too thin, with just 4,000 agents along a northern border that is required by law to have 5,000.

"The agents of the Customs and Border Control bureau are our first line of defense," Mr. Schumer said. "We cannot afford even one mistake in an incident such as this."

Sen. Schumer consistently voted against strengthening border security and has voted for measures that would encourage illegals to cross to gain benes he voted for.

Schumer... duplictious fool is thy name.

Provided a candidate has... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Provided a candidate hasn't committed any galactically horrible offense--say, murder, rape, or attending a Phil Collins concert

Does it count as a crime if it was during the "Genesis" period?

Sounds like we need a candi... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Sounds like we need a candidate that stands for courage and change, got any ideas ?

"we, the crack young staff ... (Below threshold)
rob:

"we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly,"love it when ideological folk offer deceptive rationales for their favored politicians."

this is priceless coming at the same time as the idealogical right tries to turn a detached, opportunistic Fred Thompson in the the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan

I agree with your first 2 e... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I agree with your first 2 examples regarding articulateness and experience. Those definitely seem like bogus issues to make a decision on.

Hypocrisy or phoniness, on the other hand, is something that I consider a deal-breaker. There's no way I would vote for someone as phony as Edwards, even if I was a liberal. It's the same reason I can't vote for McCain, and to a lesser degree Romney. Phoniness has to do with the candidate's character. If you can't trust the guy, you can't vote for him.

I would agree with your mai... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I would agree with your main thesis if written in the 90's but at this time some people vote AGAINST someone then for someone. In 2004 I remember dimmers saying "Anyone but Bush" which I took to mean it did not matter who ran against Bush, that person had their vote. No thoughtful deliberation there. No ideology on the line. Just hate. ww

C'mon, Matt, haven't they t... (Below threshold)
kim:

C'mon, Matt, haven't they taught you yet that you can't accumulate without exploiting? Maybe next semester?
============================

Edwards oft-bleated asserti... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Edwards oft-bleated assertion that "there are TWO Americas" is what set him, in this case, apart on the hypocrisy scale.

He disclaims the existence of the American MIDDLE Class...which remains THE most vital engine in the history of economics. Thus, by his definition if you are not fabulously wealthy like him you are in the "other America". Then, of course, he claims that HE is the champion of that "other America".

Since wealth disparity is THE central (in fact SOLE) theme of his campaign, his obscene flaunting of his wealth is, well, obscene!

The obvious association wit... (Below threshold)
kim:

The obvious association with guilt is what's obscene; someone get that family some help.
====================

"at this time some people v... (Below threshold)
John S:

"at this time some people vote AGAINST someone than for someone"

Sort of like how the entire Republican race has been reduced to choosing whoever can best prevent Bill Clinton's third term?

John S: "Sort of like ho... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

John S: "Sort of like how the entire Republican race has been reduced to choosing whoever can best prevent Bill Clinton's third term?"

Actually, that will be the FINAL determinant!

Loosely based on the Miss America pageant. Sure, we'll have a talent contest, resume review, and panel questioning. But it will all boil down to the SWIMSUIT review!! :)

In this case the "swimsuit review" will be who can WIN. The previous "rounds" will weed out the Ron Pauls and Sam Brownbacks. Then Fred, Mitt, Rudy and even John can do the old "runway walk" (including kick-turn).

I hope that clears things up! :)

As much of a political junk... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

As much of a political junkie as I am, I've come to the conclusion that the people who are most qualified to lead our country wouldn't even get near it. Therefore we are fated to endure the egotistical, flip-flopping, hypocritical, and hyper-ambitious from both major parties. Of course I think that some are better than others, and that there are important differences between parties, and I've learned that half a loaf is better than none, and no bill is better than a bad bill.

my trend in voting: Vote ag... (Below threshold)
Dave:

my trend in voting: Vote against someone who wants to turn our country into a socialist country.

Therefore i cannot vote for hillary or obama

I'm a born and bred democra... (Below threshold)

I'm a born and bred democrat and the reason I voted against Al Gore in 2000 was his condescending attitude during the debates. It wasn't just the way he spoke to then Governor Bush, but the way he addressed the cameras and us. He can't seem to speak without talking down to his audience.

Kerry had the same problem in '04 and most of the Democrats running for 2008 are the same way.

It seriously disturbs me that there's not a single democratic candidate who seems willing or able to express a workable alternative to what we're doing in Iraq. And those heading for the far left just give me the willies.

I've been voting Republican for the past few years mostly because the Dems don't have a single serious plan that doesn't include leaving Iraq swinging in the breese.

What do you have against Ph... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

What do you have against Phil Collins?

Timmer:

Good for you for seeing through Al Gore. He hid his true self from Tennesseans for years. Only after his ascension to Washington did he permit himself to be fully revealed. Scary.

Ah, but they would... (Below threshold)
jpe:
Ah, but they wouldn't do so for, say, Bill Bennett.

There's a good reason for that. Bennett thought it immoral for people to engage in vices. As far as I know, Edwards doesn't think it's immoral not to give away all of one's wealth to charitable causes.

That's a fairly obvious distinction; I guess ideology blinded your reason.

actually, jpe, Bill Bennett... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

actually, jpe, Bill Bennett didn't label people "immoral" who engaged in certain vices...but rather wrote and lectured that people should lead more moral lives. There is a difference between asking people to change their ways, and in labeling them sinners if they do not do so. Please find me a link where he declared people so.

He stresses in his later book that people should strive towards certain virtues:
- Self-Discipline
- Compassion
- Responsibility
- Friendship
- Work
- Courage
- Perseverance
- Honesty
- Loyalty
- Faith

not a bad list, frankly. He appears to be striving to live up the standards he is asking others to, including rejecting gambling of late. And, uh, he is NOT running for President

Then again, Edwards has made his "Two Americas" speech the cornerstone of his campaign. And he IS running for President

Gee. All this time I though... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

Gee. All this time I thought that people voted for the politicians who are capable of delivering the pork.

Actually, when it comes to voting, at times I feel like I am voting for the lesser of two idiots.

For example, last year during a primary, I had to choose between two people who wanted to hold a particular state office. Well, I voted against one person, who lost in the primary, and then I voted against the other in the general election. I was pleased when the other lost in the general election.

Speaki8ng of Sen. Biden as ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Speaki8ng of Sen. Biden as I was up thread.

I just caught a bit of then Dem debate, a question from the audience was what the U.S. should do about Darfor.

Biden's only concrete idea was to establish no-fly zones over the area.

As expected no one asked him how many A/C those that are doing the killing flew to do their dirty deeds. The answer of nearly ZERO would have embarrassed Biden The Idiot.

Gov. Richardson's answer? Bush's fault (SHOCKING). According to what many have claimed as the most "experienced" of the Dem candidates he said the U.S. has no moral standing in the world and to solve the Darfor problem he would close down Gitmo as his first action as president.

Asshats, one and all!

Anyone who thinks AL GORE i... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Anyone who thinks AL GORE is telling the truth is also the one who thinks the earth is flat




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