Friday, February 19, 2010


Few things frustrate me more than hypocrisy. I do agree, like Walt Whitman says, that we are large and we contradict ourselves. Anyone that has ever struggled with a complicated issue finds themselves contradicting themselves as they intellectually tackle a subject. It is merely human nature to paint yourself in the corner when you intellectually attempt to delve into a challenging subject. This is not what bothers me. What bothers me, infuriates me, are the people who spend a good part of their careers saying one thing in public and doing the opposite in private. I am talking about the politician that is outspoken opponent of gay rights while in private he is having illicit affairs in airport men's rooms ....or the Governor who as an Attorney General became famous for this prosecution of prostitution johns while secretly being a long time member of the The Emperor's Club .... or the politician who touts his family-life as politic capital but supports a secret love child, pounds every women on his staff or has a Argentinian mistress. It is contrasting realities between the public image and the private reality that makes voters so skeptical. I have few doubts that this a major cause of our low turn outs at the polls ... the on-going belief that nothing that they say or do has anything to do with who they really are.

The year 2009, in politics, could easily be called the Year of Hypocrisy although I do not know if it was worse than any other. We may remember the year by the improprieties of Tiger Woods or David Letterman. They certainly deserve some scorn for their behavior, but neither of them preached a chaste life. The public will probably forget the Larry Craig's, Elliot Spitzer's, Mark Sanford's and Jon Edwards' scandals. Sex scandals generally don't bother me so much because it is usually someone's personal life and that is none of my business. But if we are talking about someone like Idaho Senator Larry Craig ... it really is our business. The man was outspoken against gays while meeting gay prostitutes in airport men's rooms around the country. Again, the hypocrisy is maddening.

These are just sex scandals. When the hypocrisy involves a much bigger issue ... like the federal deficit ... it is more than maddening. It is something that obsesses me a little. Like I want to reach out and choke someone. If you turn on Fox "News" (I put in quotes because they are really not a news channel) you would think that the deficit spending that President Obama is doing is out of control. I agree the amount of spending his administration is doing is concerning but compared to the previous administration's flippant spending, I am not too concerned.

Here is a good article from the New York Times that puts it in perspective. It was published about a half year ago so I am sure some of this has changed some. It puts the current deficit in four categories of causes:
  • Recessions or the business cycle (37%);
  • Policies enacted by President Bush (33%);
  • Policies enacted by President Bush and supported or extended by President Obama (20%); and
  • New policies from President Obama (10%).
So only 10% of the current deficit is based on Obama policies. But if you watched (and were stupid enough to believe) Fox "News", the Republicans and the Tea Bag crazies, you'd think that it was 100% Obama's. It is a current Republican talking point that Obama's spending is driving the deficit out of control and they are very good at staying on message, but they are being complete hypocrites on this subjects.

Here is the hypocrisy, Bush spent in the following manner and came up with no way of paying for these:
  • the war in Iraq
  • the war in Afghanistan
  • the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003
I don't remember any Republican pundits being outraged by Bush's spending. I remember a lot of reasonable people I know, some Republicans, some Democrats and some just concerned citizens being outraged. But Fox "News" not a word. Apparently, they only get outraged when black Democratic presidents spends money.

Here is a great graph I stole from Wikipedia (thank you). It shows the growth of the deficit. Notice how Bush inherited a surplus from Clinton. He also inherited a thriving economy. But come 2009, Obama inherits two very expensive wars which have never been paid for but also an economy in the tank.

You can take each of the things that Bush spent our money on and debate their virtues or lack thereof, but whatever a President spends money on ... shouldn't they also come up with a way of paying for it? If they can't come up with a way of paying for it ... like your household budget ... shouldn't the President just not do it. If it was an emergency, like stimulating an economy on the way to a depression, I can understand. If Roosevelt can do this during WW II shouldn't Bush have been able to do it.

I am not a huge fan of the Democrats. I mainly vote for Democrats because the Republican alternative is just not acceptable. Their hypocrisies don't cost me as much money.

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