From abortion to obstruction, politicians' hypocrisy is showing

From abortion to obstruction, politicians' hypocrisy is showing
© Greg Nash

Political hypocrisy is, in many minds, a redundancy. It’s certainly nothing new; it’s been around since before Plato penned The Republic. Nor does either team have a monopoly on it. Democrats, Republicans and independents all have more than their fair share of hypocritical actions and statements.

Democrats introduced the “nuclear option” to federal judicial appointments and then screamed bloody murder when the Republicans followed suit.

Small-government Republicans rightfully criticized Barack Obama’s use of his “little pen” to govern by fiat and executive action but were indifferent, at best, when George Bush or Donald Trump did the same thing.

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Since the 2016 election, hypocrisy has been at a fever pitch. The finger-pointing over every minute detail also has reached new heights. Accompanying it has been an increased level of cynicism, both from the perpetrators and from the public that witnesses all of this.

The public’s cynicism has been driven by their reaction to the media, which ignore or magnify incidents without consistency.

A Yale University study shows that, not surprisingly, the American people hate the hypocrisy they see on a daily basis. Inside that survey is an interesting suggestion: it’s not just the inconsistency that offends them, it’s the underlying notion that one side’s views are superior.

The political left has been unhinged since the election of Donald Trump. That explains at least some of the naked hypocrisy surrounding the march towards impeachment some on the left are attempting to lead.  

Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE’s quest to have Attorney General Barr held in contempt, belies the view he held on the subject just a few years ago. When Republicans held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, Nadler (D-N.Y.) was at the front of the line of a walkout by Democrats “outraged” over what Nadler called “the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding Holder in contempt.”

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Do they really think the American people will dismiss such patent hypocrisy as “that was then, this is now”?

The hypocrisy of the left is especially seen on the sensitive issue of abortion. While the media want a laser focus on Alabama’s stringent new abortion restrictions, there’s little said about New York and Illinois allowing late-term abortions.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment Biden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running MORE’s recent flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds for most abortions, is another case in point. Less than 24 hours after he defended his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden switched courses. “Things have changed,” he said in defending his move. And what might those things be, Mr. Vice President, other than the fact that you’re running for president in a field of far-left competitors?

The hypocrisy of Biden’s move is seen not only in his blatant pandering, but in the fact that it undermines one of his suggested core competencies — the ability to find common ground on tough issues and forge compromise as a result. While never completely satisfying to anyone, as compromises inherently are not, the “middle ground” of the Hyde Amendment has stood the test of time for a reason. Joe Biden knows that, even if his ambition overruns it.

A far more troubling example is the Pennsylvania State Representative, Brian Sims, who accosted a woman praying the rosary outside of a Philadelphia abortion clinic. Sims, a former college football player, carefully planned his harassment of a pro-life woman.

He confronted the woman, calling her “an old white lady” (attacks on age and ethnicity are considered hate speech in some quarters). He continued his diatribe as he videoed the incident, which he later posted on social media.  

But he didn’t stop there. He also went after teenage girls who were also outside the facility, promising a $100 contribution to Planned Parenthood if someone would provide their identities.

Imagine the cries of outrage that would have rocked the media if a pro-life advocate had done that to pro-choice demonstrators.

In fairness, many Democrats condemned Sims outrageous behavior. At least one prominent Democratic leader suggested a primary challenge to Sims is in order. Another called his actions “stupid,” but dismissed them as only being such.  

Stupid they were, but they were much more than that. This is the same guy who gave the vice president of the United States the finger as a welcome on his trip to the City of Brotherly Love. His antics are not a stupid spur-of-the-moment rant. They are premeditated and intentional.

Another Pennsylvania legislator, Republican Rep. Jerry Knowles, recently filed a resolution to have the state House censure Sims. He had some difficulty gathering a large number of co-sponsors and his resolution may never make it to the floor for a vote.

There’s a certain measure of hypocrisy there, too. There are too many who trumpet the pro-life cause and others who condemn Sims’ vile actions, but refuse to actually do something about it in the form of a censure or other public condemnation. It’s a good bet some of them criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the U.S. House for not doing more when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made remarks some considered to be anti-Semitic.

And, of course, Sims’ justification for his actions, based on trying to “defend the constitutional rights of women,” flew directly in the face of his bullying other women trying to exercise their constitutional rights.

The heightened level of blatant hypocrisy and habitual finger-pointing is exacerbating the political divide. A return to debates centered on shared values and defined principles is necessary if we are to escape this downward spiral.

Charlie Gerow, first vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, has held national leadership positions in several Republican presidential campaigns. He began his career on the campaign staff of Ronald Reagan. A nationally recognized expert in strategic communications, he is CEO of Quantum Communications, a Pennsylvania-based media relations and issue advocacy firm. Follow him on Twitter @Charlie_Gerow.