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Ideological Hypocrites

Posted on Feb 19, 2012
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

When we talk about hypocrisy in politics, we usually highlight personal behavior. The multiply married politician who proclaims “family values” while also having affairs is now a rather dreary stock figure in our campaign narratives.

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But the hypocrisy that matters far more is the gap between ideology and practice that has reached a crisis point in American conservatism. This Republican presidential campaign is demonstrating conclusively that there is an unbridgeable divide between the philosophical commitments conservative candidates make before they are elected and what they will have to do when faced with the day-to-day demands of practical governance. Conservatives in power have never been—and can never be—as anti-government as they are in a campaign.

Begin by asking yourself why so many conservative politicians say they’re anti-government but spend long careers in office drawing paychecks from the taxpayers. Also: Why do they bash government largesse while seeking as much of it as they can get for their constituents and friendly interest groups? 

Why do they criticize “entitlements” and “big government” while promising today’s senior citizens—an important part of the conservative base—never, ever to cut their Medicare or Social Security? Why do they claim that they want government out of the marketplace while not only rejecting cuts in defense but also lauding large defense contracts that are an enormous intrusion in the operation of the “free market”?

The contest between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum is unearthing all sorts of double standards of this sort, and I salute each of them for drawing attention to the other’s inconstancies.


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Santorum scored a direct hit on Romney last Thursday in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club. Both Romney and Santorum opposed President Obama’s rescue of the auto industry, a form of direct government intervention whose success Republicans (though not, it appears, Michigan’s voters) have a hard time acknowledging.

But Santorum raised a good question. “Governor Romney supported the bailout of Wall Street and decided not to support the bailout of Detroit,” Santorum said. “My feeling was that ... the government should not be involved in bailouts, period. I think that’s a much more consistent position.”

Indeed it is. Romney can offer all sorts of rationales for the difference between the two bailouts, but once he backed the Wall Street rescue, he could no longer claim free-market purity. The financial bailout he thought was so vital created the very “dependency” and sense of “entitlement” within our privileged classes that he condemns when it comes to the less well-off.

Many conservatives—including, bravely, George W. Bush—pushed for the bank bailout because the alternative was a catastrophic collapse of the financial system. But having done so, could they please stop claiming they are free-market virgins? They gave that up long ago.

Santorum has a long list of ideological heresies of his own to defend. They include his eagerness to win federal earmarks, a habit he shares with Romney, as The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman recently reported.

There is also the critique that Romney’s super PAC is making in an ad airing in advance of Michigan’s Feb. 28 primary: It attacks Santorum for regularly voting to increase the debt ceiling when he was a senator from Pennsylvania.

This is the same Santorum who supported congressional conservatives last year when they blocked a debt-ceiling increase in pursuit of more budget cuts. “We cannot continue to write blank checks that our nation cannot cash,” Santorum said—the very blank checks he freely endorsed when he was in the Senate. True, both parties have played games on the debt ceiling, but never to the point of undermining the federal government’s credit standing, as the Republicans did last year.

Of course Santorum was only doing the responsible thing when he was a senator, but he cannot really defend what he did in the past without acknowledging that what he said more recently is flatly contradicted by his own behavior.

Can conservatives finally face the fact that they actually want quite a lot from government, and that they are simply unwilling to raise taxes to pay for it?

This is why our political system is so broken. Conservatives keep pretending that they can keep anti-government promises that they know perfectly well they are destined to break. We won’t have sensible politics again until our friends on the right bring their rhetorical claims into closer alignment with what they do—and what it takes to make government work.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne(at)
© 2012, Washington Post Writers Group

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By BR549, February 25, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ, February 25 at 8:08

“Obama on the other hand, in spite of lock-step Republican obstruction and advocacies of the very same policies that caused our economic difficulties to begin with, is leading our economy to recovery little by little .......”

I do not defend the Republicans at all; in fact, I have voted Republican, Democrat and Independent over the decades, seeking only the best candidate for the position at the time. And as much as you’d like to continue portraying Ron Paul being part of the Republican problem, he is, after all, a Libertarian at heart using the Republican Party as an election platform. The fact that he manages to get reelected year after year obviously says something, since he must surely be having a hard time bringing home much bacon; the price of integrity.

Ron Paul may not have been able to get much accomplished in his career, but his reputation as Dr. No represented a massive departure from “politics as usual”, where he felt that the functionality of earmarks, pork, and excessively verbose and contorted tomes of legislation was being virtually ignored by his peers; not always because of the content of the legislation, but because, if the people were supposedly being represented by these legislators, perhaps, as the representation of the initial Democrat Party had claimed, they were to only represent the people as far as the people were able to understand the legislation themselves. What you see as a Democrat Party today is in name only, since all we really have are two factions of the same fascist party and any other parties’ opinions are actively suppressed by the fascist owned media. I doubt you’d understand such a concept since you are so hopelessly lost in defending the current dysfunctional two party voting system that stifles any free thinking.

.... and you call me an ass.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 25, 2012 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

RE: BR549, February 24 at 2:50 pm

I will not condemn you or accuse you of having a mentality similar to that of a fascist because of your most recent comment. I’m assuming that your mindless hyperbole regarding your apparent wonder about me being “allowed” to “vote and breed” is merely more braying coming from a jackass unable to think on a higher level or to offer a cogent argument based on fact and that recognizes reality.

I have never asserted that Clinton had “No part in the destruction of our economy” quite the contrary, but I will assert that Clinton’s part had to do with his yielding to right-wing Republican economic philosophy. Obama on the other hand, in spite of lock-step Republican obstruction and advocacies of the very same policies that caused our economic difficulties to begin with, is leading our economy to recovery little by little and if Democrats achieve “real” obstruction proof majorities in Congress that recovery will come much faster. Are you of the school of thought that the global economy should have been allowed to collapse with little concern for the consequences of that collapse? If so you are right in step with right-wing Republican senile Ron Paul types, compassionless Ayn Rand worshipers, and juvenile twits whose thinking is very similar to the juvenile twits who thought it intelligent for vote for Richard Nixon in 1972.

There is a certain validation that comes from being correct in thinking time after time throughout the course of one’s history but being correct when so many have been proven wrong leads to extreme frustration not “Bliss,” “Multiple orgasms” are not an issue and asserting that they might be an issue can only be considered more braying from a jackass. Unlike you I am aligning myself with a political party but that alignment has to do with a well reasoned and knowledgeable preference but such is not a total endorsement. Apparently you are aligning yourself with a futile counter productive nihilism leading not to the Left, not to the Right, and not to anywhere except futility. You and your ilk claim a principled stance but that principled stance will only facilitate those most opposed to the principles you espouse. Any claim of intelligence on the part of you and your ilk can not be taken seriously. Pointing out that things suck with no rational or viable political strategy for making things better is not intelligent.

Incidentally, my sources of News come neither from Fox or MSNBC. Nor am I influenced by the falsehoods of demagoguery coming from the Left, the Right, or from the braying of jackasses.

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By BR549, February 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

@ JDmysticDJ, February 24 at 9:15 am

Nice, thank you for that encouraging intellectual retort. It only goes to show that if there are too many more with opinions similar to yours, this country has absolutely no hope of recovery. And to think you’re allowed to vote and breed.

I wasn’t aligning myself with EITHER party, but you seem well entrenched in the belief that Obama and Clinton had absolutely no part in the destruction of our economy and that this demise was entirely due to the Republicans. If ignorance were bliss, you’d be having multiple orgasms.

Somewhere along the way, people have to see the larger pattern. Whether Democrat or Republican, each and every candidate that has opposed NAFTA has been unceremoniously shown the door; whether it was Kucinich, Gravel, Nader, Barr, McKinney, Baldwin or any of the rest. NAFTA is the single major reason for the collapse of our economy. You really have to start getting at least some of your news from other sources beside Fox and MSNBC.

While you may have no clue at all why the huge number of military members, who support Ron Paul, are being selectively reduced from the ranks of “qualified” voters, you can rest easy at night in the belief that the pablum excuse for news you’ve become addicted to is going to help pull us through all this by keeping everyone so well informed.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 24, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

RE: BR549, February 22 at 5:13 pm

The issues at stake are far too serious to kid about. Republicans are again beating the drums for War.

I reiterate: “Compared to Republicans the Democrats are: [See below]…

BR-549 was the telephone number advertised during a running skit on the television program “Hee Haw” featuring professional moron Junior Samples.

You need to stop braying like a jackass and think about the consequences of what you are doing.

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By BR549, February 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

@ JDmysticDJ, February 22 at 10:36 am

You HAVE got to be kidding. The political scenario, particularly since those pre-NWO control freaks managed to dance Reagan on the end of their strings, has been nothing but a tag-team event starring both parties and managed to keep the population at loggerheads over who is to blame and who would be best to lead us from our downward spiral. Clinton and Obama have quite obligingly carried the baton for this race to oblivion and are just as complicit as the Bush family morons.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 22, 2012 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

RE: Samson, February 21 at 2:05 pm

As compared to the Republican Party the Democratic Party is: The party of peace, the Party opposed to Wall Street, the Party for the people and opposed to Big Business, the Party advocating increased taxes on the rich, the party that has banned torture, secret prisons, and the party who’s leader tried to shut down Gitmo, the party of “successful” Homeland Security, and the Party that believed Osama bin Laden was “determined to strike in the U.S.” (George W. Bush’s response to CIA briefer was “Alright, you’ve covered you ass now.” Six days later he was reading “My Pet Goat” as an interlude during one of his many lengthy vacations.)

If you prefer the return of Republicans to dominant political power then, by all means, continue with the counter productive hateful ignorance.

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By Knutz, February 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

I blame the 2 or 3 wars the last republican president got us into , remember him ? And now they bring on dumb , dumber and dumbest . hell makes me proud to be a liberal. I’m not sure what a liberal is but it sure pisses off the conservatives so it has to mean something intelligent .

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By Samson, February 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

to BigChin ... no, Mr. Dionne is not ashamed to be a
Democrat. Today’s Democratic party is the party of
war, the party of wall street, the party of big
business, the party of tax cuts for the rich and
deficit reduction for ordinary Americans.  Today’s
Democratic party is the party of torture and secret
prisons and Gitmo.  Today’s Democratic Party is the
party of Homeland Security and of constant spying on
Americans.  Today’s Democratic Party is the party of
indefinite detentions by the military.

Nope, I’m sure Mr. Dionne is indeed a proud Democrat. 
And he’s well paid to be one.  It the rest of the
people who should be asking why on earth they are
supporting this party and these policies.

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By gerard, February 21, 2012 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Now that you brought up the subject of hypocrisy:

A convenience store sells cigarettes to a teen-agers and gets ..... time in jail.

The government repeatedly sells vast quantities of deadly weapons to various foreign countries and gets .......tons of money.

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By Outraged, February 20, 2012 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Yes they are outlandish hypocrites!  You have to admit that there are those days when, if you happen to follow politics (by that I mean these bogus presidential candidates) that it’s comical.  My off-the-wall favorite thing to do is to interpret their jargon, I see that others are entertained by this as well.


Democrats want to tax “what they call a million dollars”  (really… is a million dollars different for a Republican?  or a Democrat for that matter?)

People are not hungry… they suffer “food shortages” ( oh.. is that all, and here I thought that people without food would be hungry…just goes to show ya, just when you have it figured out they throw you that “curve” ball.. and don’t worry it only happens once a month, for a few days)

“Not supposed to be a factual statement”  (Is this their way of saying, “I was lying you dumbass!”)

Of course, the list goes on and on. It’s going to be a long year.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, February 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment


How about that?

Another article at firedoglake

About Rocky Anderson. For president. Interviewed on the Real News Network.

Along with an update on the ballot access latest.

Imagine that. Articles. About. Rocky. Anderson. For. President.

On the progressive political blog firedoglake

Can ya dig it? As in TruthDig it?

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By diman, February 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Morpheus, I’m afraid your outcry has fallen on deaf ears, everybody is still at the mall or watching “The Voice”, my friend.

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By Ken Schultz, February 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hypocrisy is character flaw that I simply cannot accept in others.

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By BrooklynDame, February 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

Boundless hypocrisy; the GOP is just incredible—as in, without credibility.

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By BR549, February 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

“Many conservatives—including, bravely, George W. Bush—pushed for the bank bailout because the alternative was a catastrophic collapse of the financial system.”

No, the “collapse” was not just some random event that occurred in spite of all the well-meaning attempts by Wall Street and politicians to avoid it. Far from it.

As former British Defense Minister (from 1964-1970) and Bilderberg founder, Denis Healey, once said, “World events do not occur by accident: They are made to happen, whether it is to do with national issues or commerce; and most of them are staged and managed by those who hold the purse strings.”

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By bigchin, February 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Repulsive progressive hypocrisy…  don’t look now, but the guy you’re gonna endorse for Presdient is a war criminal… which makes the Democratic Party… well…

the company one keeps.

I’m just sayin’

Khader Adnan and now-normalized Western justice
“Each year, the U.S. State Department, as required by law, issues a “Human Rights Report” which details abuses by other countries. To call it an exercise in hypocrisy is to understate the case: it is almost impossible to find any tyrannical power denounced by the State Department which the U.S. Government (and its closest allies) do not regularly exercise itself. Indeed, it’s often impossible to imagine how the authors of these reports can refrain from cackling mischievously over the glaring ironies of what they are denouncing (my all-time favorite example is discussed in the update here).

In 2010, the State Department included a long section on the oppressive detention practices of China. The “principal human rights problems” of the tyrannical Chinese government include “a lack of due process in judicial proceedings” and “the use of administrative detention.” Indeed, “arbitrary arrest and detention remained serious problems. The law grants police broad administrative detention powers and the ability to detain individuals for extended periods without formal arrest or criminal charges.” Can one even find the words to condemn these Chinese monsters?

Time‘s Tony Karon today writes about the case of Khader Adnan, a 33-year-old Palestinian baker currently imprisoned without charges by the Israeli government on accusations that he is a spokesman for Islamic Jihad. To protest his due-process-free imprisonment and that of thousands of other Palestinians, Adnan has been on a sustained hunger strike and is now close to death.”


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By felicity, February 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Hypocrites, of course.  But what they’re telling
their minions is what their minions want to hear. 
How else can politicians get elected? 

Blame the government.  People can identify that
entity to hate because they know what it is and it’s
really big and they have no idea how it really

Blame liberals.  That’ll work because everybody’s
heard the word, besides, nobody knows what a
‘liberal’ really is.

Blame the ‘bail-out’ because no one can possibly
really know what would have happened if there hadn’t
been any.

The optimum of political campaigns is to create an
environment of “sound and fury signifying nothing.”

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By Michael Cavlan RN, February 20, 2012 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

EJ Dionne

Ideological hypocrite. Very worst kind of Obama/Democrat apologist.

Gets articles posted on Wash Post on a regular basis. Also gets articles published here on TruthDig as well. Big Eddie Shultz, Rachel Maddow etc etc get time on MSNBC and Air America all the time. Almost as though the 1% are providing some “acceptable” progressive dissent. To keep progressive dissent contained.

Articles about Rocky Anderson? Never.

Let us talk of ideological hypocrites shall we? Can ya dig it? As in TruthDig it?


As a starting point, a rally point, an organizational tool.

To take back (or to start to create, if you like) our democratic Republic.

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By balkas, February 20, 2012 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

i do not see a gap between US ideology and hypocracy of the politicians.
lies, deception, empty promises, evocation of perils by them if their will not
be done, stems from the ideology; thus, i affirm, ALL [or nearly all] US
politicians are fulfilling bill of rights, declaration of independence,
constitution, and ALL salient US laws; in short, obeying US ideology.
all american politicians have lied to american people about salient issues. so,
why pick on just a few republicans whom the system or ideology teaches or
demands of them to say even the stupidest things imaginable.
mind you, i haven’t read word of what romney, et al say; so, i’m not so sure
that what they say is as stupid as i say.
i had to read what paul had said. and after i read what he says, his wishes on
low caste americans is no better than of that of mussolini, bush, hitler, or

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By Anarcissie, February 20, 2012 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Once one confuses ‘right-wing’ and ‘Republican’ with ‘conservative’ one has lost the ability to do rational political analysis.  Conservatives are people who want to keep things more or less the same.  In the United States, keeping things more or less the same means preserving government programs like Social Security, which has been around for going on 80 years.

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By ReadingJones, February 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

Who ever wins I think it highly likely that Social
Security will be effectively cut. Here’s how. The
Predators will or have already moved the mass of
their wealth to solid assets like precious
metals,land, some foreign currencies and so on. The
index(s) for adjusting “entitlements” for inflation
will be tweaked till they are essentially
meaningless.  Next step is to induce hyper inflation
which is not difficult with a thirteen trillion
dollar debt and a cooperative Chairman of the Fed and
POTUS on board. Some years ago a real conservative
(not the trash that now calls themselves
conservative) said,”...inflation is theft..” The
Predators are truly adept at thievery.

BTW here is a way to grasp the magnitude of a
trillion dollars. During the IRAQ war our government
transferred a billion dollars in hundred dollar bills
to the Kurds in northern Iraq. After it arrived in
country it was loaded on a C130 Hercules cargo Plane.
It was one complete load-about 40,000 pounds. So a
trillion dollars is very roughly 1000 Herc loads of
$100 bills. This is of course a horseback guess.

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By Morpheus, February 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

More of the same!

Memo to America: Stop waiting for Democrats and Republicans to save you. It’s bad for your health and your future. Can’t you tell? You have another choice - use it!

Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

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