There’s this thing about modern American conservatism: it’s clueless appropriation of liberal complaints. You see it all the time in countless ways. But I want to talk about hypocrisy today, because of something I just saw. But before I get to that, I want to go back almost three years.
At that time, I wrote an article about the religious scholar Robert M Price. He’s incredibly knowledgeable on Christianity, but also other things like New Age belief systems and H P Lovecraft. And in this way, he’s what one would have to call a liberal — some would say a radical. But politically, he’s conservative. But he’s not a smart conservative. Whenever he talks about politics, it’s clear that all his information comes from right wing radio.
And on one occasion, he said something that I had heard so many times before. He was talking about hypocrisy as it related to the Bible. And then he gave an example.
I wrote at the time:
This is a clear example of fake hypocrisy. The Democratic members of Congress (Remember: not a single Republican in either house voted for it.) weren’t treating themselves any different than they were treating people who work full-time at Walmart.
Now sure: if Congress had passed single-payer healthcare and forbade people from buying private insurance (something that would never happen) and then kept their previous insurance, that would have been hypocrisy. But that wasn’t the case. Price thought it was hypocrisy because he didn’t know what he was talking about.
And so we come to the present day. On Monday, Sarah Kliff wrote, Republicans Exempt Their Own Insurance From Their Latest Health Care Proposal. She put it simply, “House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.” What she’s talking about is the provision that allows states to opt out of “Obamacare’s ban on preexisting conditions.” You know: so that sick people in Alabama and Idaho could be further screwed over. I guess in the fantasyland of Republicans, that’s called “Choice!”
But Kliff continued:
I wish that Dr Price read the newspaper instead of getting all his news filtered through Rush Limbaugh. Because here is a case of real hypocrisy. In fact, it is a case of stunningly wicked hypocrisy. This is Old Testament kind of hypocrisy — you know: David and Bathsheba hypocrisy.
It’s All Different Now
Of course, now everything’s changed. Yesterday, Kliff wrote, GOP House Member Says He’ll Fix the Exemption for Congress in His Health Bill. The member in question is Tom MacArthur himself. But the only reason he’s removing it from the bill is because he got caught. If it hadn’t been reported on, it would have stayed. MacArthur put it in the bill because, like most Republican politicians, he’s a real hypocrite.
To make matters worse, MacArthur appears to have lied about the reason he put it in. He blamed the Senate Budget Committee. The Senate Budget Committee spokesperson said in no uncertain terms that this was absolutely false. It was not, as Ben Bradlee would say, “A non-denial denial.”
A liberal friend of mine doesn’t like it when I go after Republicans so harshly because she has Republican family members and friends. But the funny thing is that as I’ve become less partisan — feeling like I’m floating out there far to the Democratic Party’s left — my opinion of Republicans has cratered. The politicians are — with almost no exceptions — simply evil. And the voters are stupid, ignorant, or both.
I just don’t have the time for it anymore. If the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire, the United States is the Evil Empire. And that’s certainly what the world thinks. But like all evil empires throughout history, we think we’re just spreading peace and love. We are an ignorant people. It’s not surprising that half of us can’t tell the difference between fake hypocrisy and real hypocrisy.