Axis Of Hypocrisy
The Taunton Daily Gazette recently published an editorial asserting that presidential candidate Donald Trump is a hypocrite – a bulletin that surely induced pearl-clutching vapors and room-spinning dizziness throughout the Bristol County, Massachusetts, readership.
The silly end-game of presidential politics is upon us, and bold expressions of our collective ennui are to be expected. Hypocrisy as the subject of journalistic inquiry is, to borrow a favored editorial board trope, evergreen. If political hypocrisy is not the world’s second oldest profession, it’s in the top five.
What is overlooked during the quadrennial run for the presidential roses is that more nuanced cadre of institutional hypocrite who populates our national and regional seats of government on a semi-permanent basis. It represents in many ways an unrecognized hypocrites hall of fame.
Top of mind for many on this subject is the often Republican, mostly conservative, demonstrably pious politician who is brought to heel through some personal foible or weakness of character (think wide stances in public restrooms). It is for the reader to decide whether the pervasiveness of this holy-hath-fallen story line is a product of its own journalistic merit or of the preponderantly progressive bent of our national and local newspapers of record.
However assessed, these are the amateurs. The one-and-done headline stealers. The professionals, by contrast, have honed their subterfuge to a degree that avoids, in the parlance of naval aviation, the cheap kill.
Perhaps the longest surviving and most under-celebrated among this breed of professional hypocrite is the career progressive politician who has avowed both humility and industry to the cause of the poor and disenfranchised among us. It is from this group of liberal do-gooders that the all-star lineup – the axis of hypocrisy – is formed.
U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, who rails against the “megabanks” she holds responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, quietly fends persistent accusations that her relatives made millions by doing business with causes and companies – including banks – that Waters has assisted.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, scourge of the Second Amendment, spends millions of taxpayer dollars to surround himself with armed security.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose website prominently touts her “Leveling the Playing Field” policy position, apparently thought nothing of tilting the field ever slightly in her direction by claiming, problematically, Native American heritage.
U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are relentless in their support for a “living wage,” all the while paying their capitol hill interns nothing.
While the list goes on, they are but variations on a theme: unaccounted personal hypocrisy standing in apposition to publicly proclaimed anti-corporate, anti-gun, anti-unfairness, and anti-inequality liberal sanctimony.
Occasionally publicized though rarely published, these acts of institutional hypocrisy defy open scrutiny and rarely prove politically lethal. Today’s hypocritical liberal is inoculated, it would seem, by a constituency amenable to the morally and ethically relativist bargain that keeps the entitlements flowing and by a press establishment fixated on publishing election year pap.
Soon, thankfully, the voters will decide the question of which presidential candidate is best suited to revive a nation $19 trillion in debt and stubbornly at odds on all fronts, foreign and domestic.
One problem sure to remain unresolved by the election is that of political hypocrisy. The experts will see to it.