A little hypocrisy, the worst of human nature, is in all of us. It's just that inside the Tea Party, there's a lot more.
Colombus, OH - We are all hypocrites now and again.
It seems to be a key ingredient of human nature, to ignore those who
advise us to "judge not, lest ye be judged" -- as we look at our friends,
neighbours and political leaders with the scowl of Simon Cowell, as if
we're Charles in Charge and they're Tyler Durden from Fight Club.
But I digress. Yes, human beings are hypocrites. If we weren't, we
wouldn't get so darn offended when we find out our favorite athlete
went to the team that paid the most money or senator such-and-such said a
bad word. Lord knows neither of these offences would ever befall any of
Yet, that group of grey hairs re-enacting their very own libertarian Woodstock, also known as Tea Party faithful, seems to almost delight in its hypocrisy. Often, we talk about this in terms of their not-quite-personally-valued family values fetishes. For if you added up those lucky duckies who have, at one time or another, been enjoined in marital bliss to Bob Barr, Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh, you could probably start a small village of home-schooled Jesus-campers.
But on the economic front, this do-as-I-say-not-as-I'd-ever-think-of-doing is just as pernicious, if not more.
Hypocrisy runs rampant
On Wednesday, Sam Stein of The Huffington Post made this abundantly clear on that day's edition of Morning Joe. Stein was on the panel with former (and kind-of-still-current) Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who has compared Social Security to slavery, and had just gone on a long exposition about how it was unconstitutional, abrogated our freedoms and was just a downright terrible idea in general. So Stein asked Paul a simple question: "Are you on Social Security?"
I bet you know the answer. Of course Ron Paul cashes his Social
Security checks. Sure, he has the means not to have to accept them. As a
former doctor, and from those kindly old newsletters he published in
the 1990s that helpfully warned us about all those criminally inclined
and "fleet of foot" black men walking - or perhaps running - among us.
But much like his idol, the late Ayn Rand, who thought Social Security
was evil, until she accepted it and Medicare under her husband's name, and more recently Congressman Paul Ryan, who utilized Social Security survivor benefits to attend college, Ron Paul is a hypocrite of the highest order.
Social Security was a-ok for them, as it currently is for millions of US citizens in providing a necessary income supplement to retirement, or benefits for children who have lost a parent -- but won't do anymore for hoi polloi if the Pauls and Ryans get their way. They are not trying to eliminate it, but they are trying to privatise it, which in light of what happened in 2008, is a swell idea.
Of course this is a widespread trend. Tea Party hero-cum-lunatic Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, who screams at constituents about spending like Chris Christie screams at constituents about, well, everything, was found to be delinquent by a judge in paying child support to the tune of $100,000 (how's that for some personal responsibility?).
Or Michele Bachmann of the Children-Of-The-Corn eyes, who happily accepted hundreds of thousands of
dollars in farm subsidies for the family farm while thinking this kind
of government spending for anyone else to be a conspiracy on par with
the moon landing. And, of course, all you have to do is look at the
members of Congress who repeated Tea Party slogans while killing the
public option, only to accept their swanky government-provided health
insurance, thank you very much.
Hypocrisy is the worst of human nature. And it is in all of us. It's just in the Tea Party a lot more.