An acquaintance asked me why my letters often associate the word “hypocrisy” with the Tea Party. “Everybody’s a hypocrite,” I’m told.
No, not everybody. To be a hypocrite, a politician has to publicly preach one way about a subject, but do exactly the opposite in private. Both Elliott Spitzer, former governor of New York and David Vitter, GOP senator from Louisiana, were caught frequenting prostitutes. Spitzer, who never preached morality during his election campaign, nevertheless lost his job over his pecadillo because of the fake outrage of FOX and right wing talk radio hosts. Vitter, on the other hand, who had run on “family values” saw his visits to the “Washington Madam” barely, if ever, mentioned by FOX. That’s hypocrisy writ large.
Limbaugh, a Vicodin and Percocet addict, was nevertheless comfortable ranting against drug addicts as “weak sisters.” That’s also hypocrisy.
This past week, Rep. Trey Radel, of Florida, a Tea Party darling, was caught buying cocaine in downtown D.C. Mind you, Radel voted in favor of drug testing people on welfare and for cutting $39 billion from the food stamp program aimed mostly at kids and women. Radel’s campaign featured ads deriding “Washington’s typical politicians,” asking voters to vote for him because he would bring to Washington “values that come with integrity.” How’s that for hypocrisy?
Also this past week, we had a story from Frederick County, Md. a very wealthy, mostly white, enclave near D.C. In 1832, the county was given, in perpetuity, 80 acres on the condition that the land be used only for the care of the poor, the indigent and the sick. Until today, the land has been used for those purposes: It has an assisted-care facility, a homeless shelter as well as a clinic, all of them subsidized by federal, state and county grants as well as from money obtained from leases of unused land; the enterprise has been a success at its intended purposes ever since it took care of disabled Civil War wounded and veterans.
Unfortunately, in 2010, Teahadists took over the Frederick County Council. Their first order of business was a no-bid sale, $8 million below the appraised value, of the 80 acres to a private, for-profit enterprise, thereby breaking the terms of the original will — nevermind what happens to the poor, the sick and the homeless now living there. How’s that for hypocrisy? The philosophy of the Tea Party was enunciated by the Frederick Council president: “It is not the job of government to take care of people.” What he really means, of course, is: “It is not the job of government to take care of poor people, only of rich folk and their banks, enterprises and tax shelters.”
Are there any Democratic hypocrites? Sure, here and there. But the GOP manufactures them on an industrial scale.