The Moral Phonies of the Republican Right

We approach a historic test of whether the religious leaders of the conservative movement have the moral bearing to act like Christians and condemn the party that repeatedly breaks faith with faith, or whether they are nothing more than Republican partisans who invoke God to maintain their place of power at the table of the party of moral corruption.

Now we learn that another Republican has copped a plea for disgraceful acts, in this case perverted behavior while sitting on the toilet in a men’s room. If he believes he did nothing wrong, prosecutors should allow him to withdraw his guilty plea and let his case go to trial.

There is no need to repeat the litany of names of Republicans engaged in immoral, corrupt, disgusting, and morally reprehensible conduct. Even when young congressional pages were the victims of abuse, the Republican response was one of the most pathetic coverups of all time, with senior Republicans pointing fingers at each other while they stonewalled and prayed the public would forget. Many of the so-called leaders of the religious right did little more than hold their noses and look the other way.

It is often said the problem is hypocrisy and this is dead wrong.

Hypocrisy is and should be an issue. Never before in political history have partisans such as these tried to demonize groups such as gays, and tried to foment hate toward groups to seek partisan advantage, while they were hiding in closets, men’s rooms and houses of ill repute committing their own illicit acts.

But the problem is not only the hypocrisy, but the corruptions and abuses themselves.

In Iraq, war profiteering his reached epidemic and disgusting proportions while wounded troops suffer and homeless veterans rise in numbers.

Now the Petraeus weapons scandal expands into a major criminal investigation, and while he is no doubt personally honest, he is guilty of incompetent and negligent management that allowed criminals during his watch to make vast sums of money while our weapons disappeared and no doubt ended up in the hands of those killing our troops.

In short, Petraeus’s mismanagement involved some under his command, profiting by stealing many of our weapons that ended up being used to attack heroic troops, also under his command.

In my view, the corruption involved from top to bottom in this war, leading to preventable deaths of our troops, is far worse than what a Republican senator does on the toilet, or whether a Republican senator does business with a madam, though abusing pages would not unfairly be punished by legal castration if such a punishment could be meted out under law.

The problem is the hypocrisy of those who preach God yet violate God's rules and use God to direct hate toward their political opponents and toward groups they deem as vulnerable. The problem, though, is not only the hypocrisy but the corruptions and the crimes that involve evil, with or without the hypocrisy.

The coverup of crimes at Abu Ghraib continues, and with the attorney general gone, the pressure will now mount on the vice president.

America does not do torture. Torture is denounced not only by every democratic nation in the world, not only by the Geneva Convention, not only by the commander of every branch of our military services dating back to George Washington when he led the Continental Army.

Torture is denounced by every leader of every denomination of every religious faith except the spiritual advisors to terrorists. The fact that crimes were committed, criminal coverups are continuing, and those who believe God wants the wars they initiate continue to break God's law is a far greater sin than what a Republican senator does on the toilet.

The CEO of Countrywide Financial, the darling of CNBC while his company was foreclosing on average Americans, reaped more than $400 million of personal wealth by exercising cheap stock options granted by his insider board of directors, then dumping this stock on the open market, and then being rewarded, again, by a government bailout.

Meanwhile, the hot new star of CNBC questions whether Americans should have a right to a home, and worries on air that if we stop defective Chinese toys from hurting and possibly killing our children, prices might rise at Wal-Mart.

Of course, this performance is rewarded by a glowing profile of this person in the Style section of The Washington Post, the hot new star, a sign of the times we live in, a sign of the decadence in some sectors of the media.

So while some public officials cop pleas about their weird acts on the toilet, our children could be killed by Chinese toys directed as weapons against our kids by corrupt trade policies and corrupt government that scorns regulation as a matter of their religion.

We have mines that kill our miners while our regulators are controlled by mining companies.

We have toys that endanger our kids.

We have average Americans who get ripped off by unethical loan practices from sharks in silk suits with multimillion dollar banks accounts while they are treated like heroes by the media, treated like kings by the politicians they give money to, treated like wards of the state by the same sneering conservatives who say to hell with the foreclosed and smirk while they say average Americans don't have a right to a home.

How ironic, the phrase from the right, on Wall Street, and in the salons of the Gilded Age is “moral hazard.” It is a moral hazard to stand up for those who were foreclosed, in this world of ideologues who believe that the homeless deserve to be homeless, but it is conservative economics to bail out the multimillionaires who manage their business with dishonesty and incompetence.

They call it moral hazard to help average Americans, and to help the poor Jesus spoke for in the Sermon on the Mount, but it is clever fundraising to have gilded dinners with mining operators who oppose regulation so miners suffer preventable deaths, and it is what they call free enterprise and free trade that endangers our children, while celebrated stars of the idiot cable news worry that saving American kids from death-inducing toys from China might raise prices at Wal-Mart.

Wounded troops, foreclosed homeowners, endangered children, the mourning widows of miners — these are the Americans asked to endure injustice and hardships that are the real moral hazard in the Gilded Age brought by the philosophy of George W. Bush and those who support him, which are far more deadly than what Republican senators do in bathroom stalls on toilet seats.

It is time for change.