Archive for the ‘IOKIYAR’ Category

Different Rules

July 3rd, 2016 2 comments

Reading this CNN story about Hillary at the FBI today brought two points to mind:

1. “The timing … couldn’t be worse.” Gee, it’s almost as if someone engineered an investigation of her so that it would culminate at just the right time.

2. In the story, Bill Clinton’s meeting with Loretta Lynch and Hillary’s use of a private email server “fuel the narrative that the Clintons operate under different rules than the rest of the political world.”

They are correct: a string of Bush administration officials did the same thing as Clinton, and they never got investigated for it. Their Attorneys General just gave them a bye, as did their congressional ethics and other committees. Different rules indeed.

Remember when it was discovered that George W. Bush had a drunk driving conviction? He got away with that history and the fact that he hid it, just by crying foul at the timing of the release. All he did was to say, “The Democrats are playing dirty tricks!” and it all went away: the “liberal” media decided that a presidential candidate arrested for drunk driving and then lying about it was not worth reporting on. Different rules indeed.

Remember how, when Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in 2006, they launched massive congressional investigations into the Bush administration for every imagined misdeed?

Of course you don’t, because they never did—even though (a) Republicans warned that they would, and (b) they had a large number of very real, serious crimes to investigate: massive illegal warrantless wiretapping, torture, lying to get us into a war that killed thousands of troops, the mishandling of Katrina leading to many civilian deaths, various lapses in security, the outing of a CIA agent as political payback, the US Attorney scandal—and, oh yeah, private email servers. They held back, and did not use their power as a cudgel. What investigations there were were limited, and did not punish anyone.

Not so the Republicans—they immediately went hog-wild when they got control back, and as soon as they were able, began using that power to attack not just Obama, but in particular Hillary, the presumptive nominee after Obama. And not just once, but multiple times (at least eight different Benghazi probes, for example, new ones sprouting even after previous ones cleared Clinton of wrongdoing).

Can you imagine what Republicans or the media would have said if Democrats in Congress had investigated John McCain in 2006 for his own past scandals? Or better, in 2008, when McCain rather clearly violated election laws, then Bush fired the only FEC member who objected? Did Democrats hold hearings on that? Of course not—both Republicans and the media would have screamed “Dirty Tricks!” Instead, Democrats in Congress and the “liberal media” both gave both McCain and Bush a free pass on it.

Different rules indeed.

Stories like these very often bring me to ask that question again and again: “What if it had been the Democrats who had done that, how would Republicans have reacted?” The response is obvious: if Republicans do something, it’s no big deal; if Democrats do the exact same thing, it’s a scandal so big that investigations never cease. IOKIYAR.

Yes, the timing couldn’t be worse, and yes, they live under different rules. Just not how the CNN author meant, though.

Enforcement and Bias

May 27th, 2014 1 comment

Despite their constant cries of being persecuted, the fact remains that when conservatives protest, even disruptively and sometimes threateningly, they get more or less a free pass. When liberals protest, however, then the hammer comes down. Paul Waldman at The American Prospect details one rather notable example:

The latest, from the New York Times, describes how law enforcement officials around the country went on high alert when the Occupy protests began in 2011, passing information between agencies with an urgency suggesting that at least some people thought that people gathering to oppose Wall Street were about to try to overthrow the U.S. government. And we remember how many of those protests ended, with police moving in with force. …

If you can’t recall any Tea Party protests in 2009 and 2010 being broken up by baton-wielding, pepper-spraying cops in riot gear, that’s because it didn’t happen. Just like the anti-war protesters of the Bush years, the Tea Partiers were unhappy with the government, and saying so loudly. But for some reason, law enforcement didn’t view them as a threat.

He cites the more recent example of Cliven Bundy’s ranch, when protesters actually pointed guns at law enforcement officials—and got away with it. Liberal protesters sit quietly, and they get doused with pepper spray. Maybe they should have all brought AR-15s.

Nor is this the only example. When liberal protesters did literally the least offensive form of protest possible—wearing T-shirts—they were singled out by the secret service, detained, or even arrested. When Obama became president, conservative protesters went armed with handguns and semiautomatic rifles at presidential events. Nothing happened to them, aside from being “closely watched.”

Nor is it just when arms are present. When liberal churches had guest speakers, not affiliated with the church, whose speeches at the pulpit had a political tone, the IRS went after them rather assiduously. When leaders of conservative churches outright endorsed Republican candidates to their congregations, even when the Catholic church itself publicly inserted itself into the presidential campaign by condemning John Kerry, not a thing happened. When the IRS went after all political groups but, for a while, only the Tea Party tags were known, it became a full-blown scandal still pursued today, even after being disproven. But when the IRS clearly discriminated against liberal groups in favor of conservative ones… not a peep.

It is one aspect of the IOKIYAR mentality. Which perhaps is one reason that conservatives play up being persecuted all the time. Aside from rather common right-wing projection, it helps to deflect attention from your faults if you can claim that the real victims are doing it to you.

Categories: IOKIYAR, Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:


April 18th, 2014 3 comments

Below is yet another good xkcd cartoon, but it misses a point which is becoming more and more clear to me.

Free Speech

The problem is not that conservatives do not understand what free speech is; the problem is that conservatives have a built-in double standard, an innate hypocrisy, if you will.

They understand quite well that if somebody says something, and others disapprove, that person will be criticized and possibly punished by society as a whole. They understand this because they do it all the time. They try to get officials fired (Janet Reno and Kathleen Sebelius, to name a few), people taken off the airwaves (Gwen Ifill as a moderator of debates, for example, or more recently, Stephen Colbert), and to boycott or shut down businesses which do things they don’t like (Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, various sponsors of MSNBC, or more recently, Coca Cola for a multicultural ad, Girl Scout cookies for endorsing Wendy Davis, and Mozilla for the Eich thing).

No, they understand how it works just fine. It’s just that they do not believe that the same standards apply to them—only to people they disapprove of.

This is the key to understanding conservatives. Take “entitlements,” for example. If you’re a liberal and you claim entitlements at society’s expense, you’re a parasite, a taker, a leech. If you’re a conservative, a wealthy person, a corporation, then it’s simply a case of cleverly or justly utilizing resources that were available to you. My Medicare is a deserved right; yours is freeloading.

If you’re a liberal and you try to get raises for teachers, you’re an elitist, probably a union thug, and are just trying to “throw money” at the problem. If you’re a conservative and you suggest higher pay for corporate executives, you’re using the common-sense business strategies for getting the best performers. If you’re a liberal and you try to support the troops, you’re making them into dependent parasites. If you’re a conservative and just say you’re supporting the troops but vote for every land war that comes along, then you’re pro-military. If you’re a liberal and you use the filibuster to block a particularly extremist judicial appointment, you are against Democracy and are abusing the system; if you’re a conservative and you use filibusters on virtually everything as part of a concerted drive to make the opposition party fail, well, it just works for you, so fair game.

When liberals talk of income inequality, it’s class warfare; when conservatives propose eliminating taxes for billionaires, it’s economic good sense. When liberals criticize a Republican president, it’s treason; when conservatives call for assassinating a Democratic president, they are exercising their Second Amendment rights. When liberals run up a debt to fight a depression, they are wastrels; when conservatives run up a debt to pay for tax cuts and wars, they are doing what’s necessary.

When a Democrat finds and kills bin Laden, it’s all credit to the most recent Republican administration. When a Republican crashes the economy, it’s all the fault of the previous Democratic administration. Liberals calling conservatives teabaggers or even “right-wingers” are guilty of impermissible derision; but decades-long conservative movements to use “Democrat” as an adjective and change the very word “liberal” into a pejorative, well, that’s OK. Liberals say “Hitler,” they’re hysteric; conservatives say “Hitler,” it’s because it’s true. Romney does health care, it’s great; Obama copies it, it’s the apocalypse.

I could go on… and on and on and on… but you get the idea.

It’s not that conservatives do not know what these things are. It’s that they have a very specific worldview in which whatever they do is OK, and whatever liberals do is wrong, even if they are the exact same thing.

It’s very simple when you consider it.

Categories: IOKIYAR Tags:

The Bundy Thing

April 16th, 2014 1 comment

Correct me if I am wrong, but the whole Bundy Ranch situation stems from the fact that someone wants to use land that they do not own for their own profit, without paying for it.

The right wing seems to find this a cause célèbre because, I am guessing, (1) it involves land resource protection on behalf of an endangered species, an easy right-wing battle to win in the public eye; (2) the people who want to get something for free which they do not own are (a) ranchers, (b) hostile to the federal government / militia types, (c) invoking “state’s rights”; (3) it’s a general protest against the federal government, especially under the Obama administration; and (4) it has the potential to explode into a Waco-style conflagration which would be an ideal situation to make Obama and Democrats look evil.

However, what it comes down to is, these people don’t own the land and yet seem to feel entitled to using it without paying fees or observing the rules set by the rightful owners of the property.

Good time to note here that conservatives only hate people who feel “entitled to take something from the government for free” when they are poor or generally liberal. When they are wealthy or conservative, well, it’s just patriotic Americans claiming a resource they have every right to, and any attempt to deny them this is a case of oppressive government regulating them to death.

Categories: IOKIYAR Tags:

Doing Something Bad Twice as Much Apparently Makes It Good, or, IOKIYAR Yet Again

January 5th, 2011 Comments off

Remember how the filibuster was unconstitutional and evil, until Republicans lost the majority and abused it like never before in history? Remember how Republicans thought reconciliation was fine when they used it, but was outrageous when Democrats used it?

They’re at it again, this time with a process called “deem and pass.” When Democrats used it, Republicans almost literally “demonized” it, calling it every name in the book; some called for Pelosi’s impeachment over the issue, even though Democrats eventually did not use the measure for health care passage.

Now that they’ve got the gavel back, guess what procedure is suddenly OK again?

Not that this is a surprise. When Democrats used the procedure in the 80’s and early 90’s. Republicans railed against the procedure. But when they took over in the mid-90’s, they used the procedure at about double the rate Democrats did.

This is the Republican SOP: call Democrats villains for doing something, then do it twice as much themselves. Because, after all, IOKIYAR, and the “Liberal Media™” which greatly publicizes Republican outrage will rarely if ever say anything about the hypocrisy once Republicans do the same thing but worse. Note the virtual absence of reporting on Republican filibustering in the media after the extensive coverage of Democratic filibustering at far lower levels.

A Traitor Several Times over? Of Course Not–Cantor’s a Republican, and IOKIYAR.

November 14th, 2010 25 comments

Remember when Republicans said that an American, while overseas, speaking against the American president was verging on treason, as we saw with the Dixie Chicks? That for an American politician to do so while abroad was traitorous, like Democratic congressmen did before the Iraq War? Or that even just disagreeing with the president’s policies in the U.S. while the president was on foreign soil was anti-American, as the Republicans accused Murtha of when he suggested a withdrawal from Iraq? Or when Daschle criticized Bush while Bush was in Europe? Or with local California Democrats while Bush was in Central America? Or that even criticizing the president at all while our troops were on the ground was tantamount to giving aid and comfort to our enemies? And let’s not forget the idea of members of Congress making policy promises to foreign leaders which oppose the president’s, something the Republicans have scalded Democrats for even coming close to doing, like they did with Nancy Pelosi while in Syria (where not only Republican lawmakers were also visiting, but where Pelosi did not oppose the president).

Would you be even in the least bit surprised were you to discover the Republicans to be utterly hypocritical in attacking Democrats for these things?

Probably not. If you have been watching the news, then you might be aware of the fact that Eric Cantor, current Minority Whip and likely Majority Leader next year, had a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In this meeting with a foreign leader, Cantor expressed his opposition to President Obama’s policies regarding the Middle East, promising to side with the foreign leader against the President of the United States. Cantor’s office later publicly announced what he said in the meeting.

Disagreeing with the president’s foreign policy. In a meeting with a foreign leader. While the president is on foreign soil. While there are troops on the ground. The only one Cantor missed was that he was not on foreign soil at the time–this took place in New York–but Cantor managed to breach every other rule that Republicans claimed were unacceptable for any American to violate.

Now, you might say that it was other Republicans who said these things were unacceptable, and Cantor wasn’t being hypocritical. Except that when Nancy Pelosi went to Syria–even though she made no statements about foreign policy and did not criticize Bush while she was there–Cantor himself wrote an article insinuating the opposite and suggesting she was guilty of a federal felony:

Presenting Assad with “a new Democratic alternative” — code for making President Bush look feckless — Mrs. Pelosi usurped the executive branch’s time-honored foreign-policy authority. Her message to Assad was that congressional Democrats will forbid the president from increasing pressure on Damascus to stop its murderous way. Several leading legal authorities have made the case that her recent diplomatic overtures ran afoul of the Logan Act, which makes it a felony for any American “without authority of the United States” to communicate with a foreign government to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States.

So, no irony there.

But not to worry–Cantor violated the remaining rule a little over a year ago, criticizing Obama from Israel. Just so you know he has covered all the bases. Just not all at one time–Cantor is only human, you know.

Blindly Jerking

June 18th, 2010 8 comments

Seriously, if Obama were to announce a plan to fight serial killers who target nuns and orphans, Republicans would take the side of the serial killers, just out of reflex.

Obama scored a coup with the $20 billion escrow fund (who knows how much of that will actually be paid, or if it’ll be enough to pay for what can be paid for, but hey, we can hope). Several prominent Republicans immediately took the side of BP. Palin, Limbaugh, Bachmann and others on the right were opposed to BP paying for the oil spill.

Wow. How knee-jerkingly tone deaf can you be? I mean it, seriously. And it’s not just that: they actually got upset that Obama mention God so much.

The only down side: they probably won’t pay a political price for this. Most people in America are too comfortable with the whole “It’s OK If You’re A Republican” bit. Really, a right-winger would have to sexually molest an infant on live TV to cross the line these days, and maybe not even then.

Not that I’m complaining: anything right-wingers can do to screw up the midterms for themselves is OK with me. But after Republicans succeeding by acting like hysterically demented idiots for the past year and a half, I’m not holding my breath or anything.

He Did WHAT?!?

June 9th, 2010 1 comment

What do the following have in common?

  • Using budget reconciliation
  • Speaking to schoolchildren
  • Schoolchildren sing songs about you
  • Using TelePrompTers
  • Having “Czars”
  • Corporate bailouts
  • Bowing to foreign royalty
  • Prosecuting terrorists in civilian courts
  • Interring terrorists in civilian prisons
  • Reading terrorists their Miranda rights
  • Criticizing specific media outlets for unfavorable coverage
  • Not wearing a jacket or tie
  • Not wearing a flag lapel pin
  • Putting your feet up on your desk
  • Not going to church all the time

If you guessed “things Obama has been criticized for,” you’d be correct, but incomplete. The full answer is, “things Obama is criticized for though other presidents were not.” Even more specifically, “things that Bush did to the same or a greater degree but no one noticed, but when Obama does them, the right wing goes berserk.”

This came to note recently when Obama was castigated by right-wingers for not doing anything to mark the anniversary of D-Day or the Normandy invasion. And it’s true, he didn’t. He marked the day last year, but didn’t this year. So, Obama is an ass, right?

As it happens, he’s doing exactly what every president does: he marks the occasion on special anniversaries, like last year when it was the 65th anniversary of D-Day, and like Bush did on the 60th anniversary. But Bush only observed D-Day twice in his eight years–in 2001 and in 2004, and nothing was made of it the other 6 years when he did nothing. When Obama followed suit this year, it’s a “snub,” and Obama is an insensitive cad, insulting veterans, America, and living up to his Hitler image.


The ODS (Obama Double Standard™) was also an issue recently when it was found that the Obama administration had offered a job to Joe Sestak to coax him from running against Arlen Spector; the right wing thought this was worthy of special investigation as if it were a major scandal, despite that kind of deal being an everyday occurrence in D.C. politics and there being nothing wrong with it. Similarly, Obama was castigated by the right wing for not going to Arlington on Memorial Day, despite the fact that presidents often don’t go.

Not to say that any of this is new, or a surprise. Just noting what others are noting about now, which is that Obama is being attacked for stuff which is done (or not done) all the time by presidents and nobody cares. It’s a double standard, it’s hypocritical, it’s dishonest, it’s stupid. In short, the right-wing SOP.

Categories: IOKIYAR, Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:

Excusing Republicans

May 5th, 2010 Comments off

Something I’m hearing a lot is people excusing Republicans for the Arizona immigration law because a few Republicans are speaking out against it. For example, take this diversion by Jake Tapper from This Week:

To be fair, to conservatives, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican, and Florida Congressman Connie Mack have had some tough words about parts of this law … these are conservative Republicans, nobody would question Bob McDonnell’s bona fides as a conservative, and they are voicing serious concern about those laws.

Tapper, who leans to the right himself, said this as the conservatives at the table nodded sagely and voiced assent. But the whole claim is BS, frankly. Think about it: if a Democratic legislature in a Democratic state passed a bill banning guns, and a Democratic governor signed it into law while a large majority of Democrats across the country approved, would conservatives agree that Democrats were not responsible just because Brian Schweitzer and Jim Webb spoke out against it? Please.

Republicans thought up this law. They passed it, against a solid wall of Democratic votes. A Republican governor signed it. 75% of Republicans who have heard of the law approve of it, and are the only ones I hear defending it. That there are a few right-wingers who see the true ramifications of the law and object hardly make this not a Republican matter. This may be the right wing of the Republican Party, but it is the Republican Party which produced it, and most Republicans approve of it.

What we’re seeing is Republicans trying to disavow the more radical actions of what is frankly the majority of their party while not really doing anything to stop or reverse those actions, so they can appeal to a broader base and not be taken to account for what the party is as a whole. Good midterm election strategy, but not the truth.

Bill Maher, in that same round table discussion, made a few excellent points about the racism inherent in the law. Imagine a law, maybe based on militia activity, that would pressure the police to pull over white males in pickup trucks indiscriminately, asking them for their papers and jailing them if they fail to produce. Like they’d be OK with that, wouldn’t scream “reverse racism” or some government plot to oppress them, and create widely-believed conspiracy theories about Obama and this is what happens when you put a black guy in the White House. The Tea Party crowd would be in an uproar about that, unlike now, when we’re not hearing a peep out of most of them. No, only when it’s people of another color whose rights are trampled when 3 out of 4 of in the party as a whole give hearty applause. As Maher pointed out, if the large masses of hysterical, gun-toting radicals calling for government overthrow were almost all black, you think they would be treated like the teabaggers are? Would Fox News be organizing for them and upholding their Second Amendment rights? Hell no.

But, remember: IOKIYAR. And being white helps a lot. Not that the two are different data sets, mostly.

Isn’t It Rather Obvious By Now?

January 3rd, 2010 2 comments

In the fallout from the failed crotch-bomb plot over Detroit, many have pointed out the fact that right-wingers have been particularly dishonest and hypocritical. Conservatives have been putting outright blame on Obama for the failure to catch this beforehand, whereas they blamed Clinton for the 9/11 attacks, not Bush; where Obama is to blame for an intelligence agency ignoring the father’s warning, Bush was somehow not to blame for ignoring a plethora of warning signs, several of which were delivered directly to him. Where Bush was hailed as “keeping us safe” even while the Shoe Bomber, in almost identical a fashion to the Crotch Bomber, attempted to blow up a plane to the U.S., Obama is criticized for not keeping us safe. And while Republicans excoriate the Obama administration for the lack of security, they brazenly ignore the fact that they themselves voted down more funding for airport security. Not to mention the fact that criticizing Bush on terror or security was seen as near-treasonous, while criticizing the president today is apparently not at all a problem.

I look at these criticisms and reflect on why I don’t blog on politics quite as much now: it’s all trite. Of course they’re acting like that. Of course the facts don’t matter one bit. Of course Republicans are being hypocritical, lying bags of scum; hasn’t that been all too well established? Just like it’s been established that Democratic politicians are generally weak-kneed sissies afraid of their own shadows.

The pattern is pretty simple: anything a conservative does: good; anything a liberal does: bad–even if the two acts are identical. Just claim they’re different somehow, ignore logic and consistency, blame any evidence to the contrary as an artifact of the “Liberal Media,” and there you have it. The neoconservative narrative. Throw in some social religion for further control, a few more tax cuts for the rich, disregard a few more civil liberties (while always steering clear of the control-irrelevant gun ownership), deepen the dependence on corporations, and you’re getting close to seeing the overall sheep-herding architecture of the New Conservative Society. Within that twisted framework, even Sarah Palin makes perfect sense.

IOKIYAR Squared and Cubed

October 29th, 2009 Comments off

It’s hard to express as often as I would like the absolute horror we barely dodged last November. While tea-baggers and assorted wingnuts rant and rage and rend their hair over imagined, hare-brained delusions about Obama, the fact is, he’s been one of the most respectable figures in the Oval Office for quite some time. Before he came to office, the wingnuts created out of whole cloth a host of racist names and stereotypes for relatives populating his family; none were true.

Bush 43… well, he was Bush. Himself a former substance abuser, the family has lots of bad apples and skeletons, and way too much drama, between his wayward twin daughters and the brother involved in banking scandals, something which plagued the elder Bush 41 as well. Clinton had his affairs and other assorted scandals. Reagan had a dysfunctional family, and Carter had brother Billy. Ford’s wife had substance abuse. Vice presidents have added their own woes, though usually they are less colorful than the primary, they can be a distraction when something does turn up.

Compared to most recent presidents, Obama easily sails above the rest and wins hands-down as the most respectable in his personal life.

However, had we elected McCain… or, more to the point, in a few years, if somehow Palin were to be elected… Holy crap. I blogged on this before, the white-trash soap opera that is life in the Palin compound, and it just gets more and more lurid.

What’s new in the week’s episode? Well, Levi says that he has the goods on Sarah, stuff that would destroy her… while he signs on to pose Full Monty in Playgirl magazine. As you recall from previous episodes, Levi was the father of Bristol’s illegitimate baby, born out of wedlock after mommy raised Bristol on abstinence-only principles. Propped up to be Bristol’s husband for show on the campaign trail, that quickly fell apart and since then the Palins and Johnstons have been feudin’ something’ fierce. Yes, Palin would bring back real American family values to the White House! After those sluts Sasha and Malia have befouled the First Family’s abode, think how refreshing it’d be to have the nice Palins in residence.

I know, I know–melodrama is aside from the important issues. The reason I bring this up, however, is the same reason people make hay of the adulterous and other sexual dalliances among right-wingers: not because the acts themselves are really anything worth paying attention to, but because they highlight the rather stark hypocrisy inherent in right-wing culture.

In this case, it’s that the right wing constantly makes crap up about Obama in order to look down on him, while they adore someone like Palin, whose personal-life antics are extraordinarily scandalous.

Imagine if Obama’s daughter were 17 and became pregnant with some high-school jock after Obama went lecturing everyone about not having sex before marriage, and that after trying to effect a shotgun wedding, that fell apart and the boy starts spewing dirt and a whole-out family feud erupts. The right wing would experience a year-long orgasm of strutting the Superior Dance, while endlessly going on about how Obama is disgracing the White House and should resign.

But they can’t wait to elect someone whose family scandals are exactly that and far, far more.

Imagine that Michelle had belonged to a political party that promoted secession. Imagine that her brother were arrested on felony charges, or the boy who knocked up their daughter posed nude while his mother got arrested on drug charges.

Seriously, IOKIYAR.

Categories: IOKIYAR, Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:


August 7th, 2009 2 comments

Atrios is making an excellent point.

In 2004, sponsored a contest called “Bush in 30 Seconds,” asking for people to submit 30-second ads which criticized the Bush administration. The videos were submitted in an automatic fashion and were not reviewed by before they were visible to the public. Two of the ads compared the president to Hitler and the Nazis. The reaction (Fox News story):

Republican groups and Jewish organizations expressed outrage over the ad, which has been removed from the Web site. The Republican National Committee (search) called on all nine Democratic candidates to condemn the ads.

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (search) called the ad, “the worst and most vile form of political hate speech.” … noted that those ads were voted down by the group’s members and the public, who submitted nearly 3 million critiques while choosing the 15 finalist entries.

“We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process,” the statement said. “In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system.”

Right-wing organizations such as issued ad campaigns demanding apologies. Other right-wing politicians and pollsters attacked the reference, calling it “hateful, vitriolic rhetoric” and worse. Right-wing pundits and representatives went ballistic–and claimed that Republicans would never stoop to calling the president a Nazi:

“[The Hitler references are evidince that] right now in America the Democratic party is being held captive by the far, far left.” —Bill O’Reilly

“You guys on the left are going so far over the cliff. You’re making comparisons to the president and Adolf Hitler.” —Sean Hannity

“If they stoop to the kind of despicable tactic like morphing a candidate into Adolf Hitler, yes, absolutely, I will tell you right here on the air. Have me back if any organization does that, I would repudiate it.” —Ed Gillespie, Chair of the Republican National Committee.

Republicans must really respect the office of the president; after all, this hyperbolic outrage was just because two ordinary Americans made 30-second videos which compared Bush to Hitler. MoveOn did not approve the ads nor did they air them (though Gillespie and other Republicans made sure the ads saw lots of air time), and no prominent liberal politician, pollster, or pundit even came close to endorsing them. MoveOn even apologized and made sure the content was taken down.

Well, Ed, time to get your soapbox out: four years later, the president is being called a Nazi again. Except this time, it’s not just by a few jokers with video cameras, it’s by a prominent radio personality, the unofficial head of the Republican Party, apparently with the full approval of his network, which is not punishing him:

“Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate. His Cabinet only met once. One day. That was it. Hitler said he didn’t need to meet with his Cabinet; he represented the will of the people. He was called the messiah. He said the people spoke through him. …

”Obama’s got a health care logo that’s right out of Adolf Hitler’s playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? … Obama is asking citizens to rat each other out like Hitler did.“ —Rush Limbaugh

And Limbaugh is not the only one. Beck is making the comparison, and numerous right-wingers are making thinly veiled comparisons, some going with the outright message.

Ed? Ed? Where are you? Sean Hannity? Want to comment?

Of course not. Because It’s OK If You’re A Republican.

Categories: IOKIYAR, Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:

So Many Things Wrong

June 27th, 2009 Comments off

Patrick Ruffini, a Republican, argues that Mark Sanford should not resign, and complains that Republicans are unfairly put upon:

At the core of the Sanford and Ensign episodes is the cloud of “hypocrisy” that hangs over any Republican who strays from the bonds of their marriage. (Quickly forgetting that all who commit adultery are hypocrites, having taken a solemn vow of marriage.) Because Democrats are perceived as more socially libertine, they get off easier.

This is a structural disadvantage that, on the margins, hurts Republican officeholders, forcing them into resignation or disgrace more easily than their equally adulterous Democratic counterparts.

Simply put, it is a strategic error to sanctify the idea that it’s worse when Republicans cheat. The hypocrisy charge exacts a double penalty on Republicans where none exists for Democrats — first, in the accusation of hypocrisy itself, and second, in the media whipping social conservatives into a frenzy in a bid to belatedly “enforce” their moral code — exactly the thing the secular media believes you shouldn’t do 364 days out of the year — to hound a Republican out of office.

Some will argue that conservatives should enforce a higher standard upon themselves. In cases of corruption or illegality, I have agreed. The stench of systemic corruption can be grist for severe electoral losses, as it was in 2006, and from a party-strategic perspective must be purged immediately. But adultery is different — a human failing that strikes Democrats and Republicans equally, and one in which there is a certain presumption of privacy unless there is illegal behavior (Clinton, Spitzer) or it affects job performance (Sanford). Do Republicans want to purge their ranks based exclusively on a test of personal moral conduct? How exactly does this help solve the (inaccurate, IMO) perception of the Republican Party as intolerant and dominated by the religious right?

There are many things wrong with what this guy is claiming. Let’s go through the list.

The hypocrisy charge exacts a double penalty on Republicans where none exists for Democrats

What Ruffini glosses over is the key point in why Republicans pay a double penalty: they exalt themselves as the party or moral virtue, they claim they are the guardians of family values, and they conspicuously make one of the greatest issues in politics today the idea of the sanctity of the institution of marriage and how gay marriage threatens that sanctity. Mark Sanford himself was a strong opponent of gay marriage, and was even scheduled to be a speaker at the “Values Voters Summit” which would focus, among other things, on the sanctity of marriage. Not to mention that Sanford, like most other Republicans guilty of adultery, is on the record openly criticizing Bill Clinton and others for their adultery. Democrats in general do none of these things–and if one did and was caught in adultery, he or she would be just as–if not more–sharply condemned for the hypocrisy.

In short, the “double penalty” Ruffini complains about is amply justified and richly deserved.

Because Democrats are perceived as more socially libertine, they get off easier.

What, like Bill Clinton? John Edwards “got off” only because he was no longer in any position of responsibility when he was discovered–he was no longer a candidate nor an office-holder. But quite frankly, I don’t see any evidence of Democrats “getting off easier” (no pun intended, I am sure), and Ruffini conveniently provides none.

This is a structural disadvantage that, on the margins, hurts Republican officeholders, forcing them into resignation or disgrace more easily than their equally adulterous Democratic counterparts.

Really? Like Vitter, who didn’t resign? Or Craig, who refused to resign? Ensign doesn’t seem likely to, just as Sanford likely won’t. The only Republican adulterer of note who’s resigned recently for his affair is Eliot Spitzer. (Oops. Spitzer is a Democrat. Seriously, that was not an intentional goof. It only just happens to make my point even sharper.) Fact is, Republicans usually don’t resign when they’re caught in adulterous affairs, even when the hypocrisy in their particular case is as striking as it is in Sanford’s. The claim by right-wingers that Democrats are not hurt or are even helped by adultery is specious and unsupported.

…the media whipping social conservatives into a frenzy in a bid to belatedly “enforce” their moral code — exactly the thing the secular media believes you shouldn’t do 364 days out of the year…

The obligatory attack on the secular liberal media. Again, no evidence or examples of exactly how the media (1) is secular, (2) pushes a moral code, (3) fails to live up to that code, or (4) believes people shouldn’t abide by that code. As you can see, Ruffini’s statement here is convoluted on inspection. It’s what happens when you have a long-standing criticism that is based on an unstructured, unevidenced, and ultimately false set of accusations.

But adultery is different — a human failing that strikes Democrats and Republicans equally…

Here’s the old False Equivalency charge. Initially used most by the media in attempts to be seen as “not liberal,” it has been picked up by conservatives trying to explain off all the Republican malfeasance: if Republicans are found guilty of something, claim that Democrats do it just as much, so it’s a problem with politics or people in general, and not a Republican issue. This was rife during the last election; McCain and Obama went equally negative, right? Or how about the old biased media canard–compare Fox News with Dan Rather and the National Guard story–the two are equal, right? The Bush administration guilty of torture? Hey, Nancy Pelosi is just as guilty, right? On and on and on.

But in this case, does it stand up? After all, people are people, right? Well, if so, then it should be supported by the facts. And in this case–not really. Look at senators who are in office or have recently held office. Who are the ones with a history of adultery? On the Republican side, there is Mark Sanford, John Ensign, David Vitter, John McCain, Larry Craig, Bob Dole, and Elizabeth Dole (they were in an adulterous affair before they got married). All adulterers. On the Democratic side of the aisle? John Edwards is the only one I can find.

Keep in mind also that two of the Republican front-runners in the last election–including the actual candidate–were not only adulterers, but serial adulterers, and Gingrich, who was rumored to want to run and is likely going to in 2012 is also an adulterer. The non-titular head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, is an adulterer. The fact is, adultery is conspicuously rife in conservative circles–as is divorce and remarriage. There is the general stereotype and assumption that Democrats are the philanderers, but the evidence says otherwise.

How exactly does this help solve the (inaccurate, IMO) perception of the Republican Party as intolerant and dominated by the religious right?

Inaccurate in your opinion? Your evidence, Mr. Ruffini? None? Gee whiz, really? I wonder why not.

The thing is, Republicans are usually the ones calling for such people to resign because of the marital infidelity. Democrats in general tend to forgive the adultery part altogether. At my office, which tends to be pretty liberal, the attitude was that there was no problem with the guy’s adultery, but leaving his post for five days like that was unforgivable.

If Sanford had not committed the hypocrisy–had he publicly forgiven others who had affairs, had he not made the sanctity of marriage a political issue–then there would be little if any criticism on the left about him specifically, save for those who did not know his views and/or spoke of conservative values in general. Had he not gone AWOL for five days and lied every which way about it in silly and stupid way, there would be no criticism on that, either.

If you have an affair, that’s a personal issue; it doesn’t speak well for your character, to be sure, but it doesn’t speak to your performance in your job. That tends to be the liberal view of the issue, which is why liberals are not tagged as hypocrites as much when caught in adultery. It is decidedly not the conservative view on the issue, which is why conservatives are seen as hypocrites when they have affairs.

Near the end of his article, Ruffini stops dancing around the phrase and gets to his central thesis, calling this a “double standard.” But this is not a double standard; a double standard is when you have two different sets of consequences for the same failing.

If I say that drinking is bad and you say it’s no big deal, and we’re both caught drinking, is it unfair to call me a hypocrite? Nope. If the shoe fits and all that.

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June 8th, 2009 2 comments

When visiting Germany, Obama shunned plans to visit a concentration camp, instead insisting on a visit to a cemetery where Nazi SS soldiers are interred. Even after it became clear that no U.S. soldiers were buried at the cemetery, Obama defended his decision to visit the site and not to visit a concentration camp: “Hey, let’s remember that the soldiers in the Nazi SS were victims, just like the Jews killed in the Holocaust. They were forced to carry out Hitler’s orders, so I’m sure they suffered just as much.” Obama later, reluctantly, added a quick stop at a concentration camp to his itinerary.

Oh, no wait–I have that mixed up. It was Reagan who did everything I wrote about above. In 1985. But just think of how the right-wingers would be reacting if it had been Obama and not their savior!

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