Friday, November 7, 2008

GOP Job Number one: address hypocrisy

Republicans obviously have not cornered the market on cynicism and hypocrisy in politics. I certainly wouldn't be foolish enough to state that Democrats or liberals or other parties are perfect. But over the last couple of decades the GOP has simply gone over the deep end.

A couple of examples include the "Patriot Act" and probably the most insidious "No child left behind." A few other examples follow:

Support the Troops: They embrace slogans like "Support the Troops" and then treat soldiers like crap in reality, failing to provide adequate armor, facilities, food, and so on. Remember Walter Reed, keeping troops in IRAQ indefinitely (in violation of both the 2008 Defense Appropriations Act and the 2008 Defense Authorization Act), inadequate help and support for soldiers suffering from war-related psychological injuries, the whole Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch affairs, and the list goes on.

Big Government: This is a good one. Republicans tell us they are against "Big Government" and against "Government Spending" - things that sound really good to a lot of Americans. But Republicans have become the party of big government now. Government grew faster in two years of Bush than it did in all eight of Clinton. Spending has been out of control under Republican leadership. They want to insinuate the federal government in all manner of peoples lives. It's Republicans who want to tell us all how to live, who to marry, who to sleep with, what to do with our bodies, and what god we should pray to. How can they cry for less government control and then insist on enforcing control in areas of peoples' lives the government should have no part of?

Ethics and Corruption: There are plenty of individual cases of corruption and illegal activies from all sides. The big difference is, it always seems to be the Republicans who love to sanctimoniously lecture everyone else about ethics and morality. They tell us they are the party to fix corruption in government, but then overlook some of the worst offenders from their own party. The list here is so long, there's no way I can put it in a single blog post. You might want to check out this site. Perhaps a good proxy for this category of hypocrisy would be the Department of Justice's partisan abuses of power:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey named a prosecutor yesterday [Septempber 29, 2008] to investigate whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, other Bush administration officials or Republicans in Congress should face criminal charges in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.


The above are just a few examples, but this is I think one of the biggest areas the GOP must address. Here's what Forbes writer Tom Coburn says in an article today:

The election also was a measure not just of the excellence of Obama's field operation but of the level of disgust with a decade of Republican hypocrisy. Voters expect Democrats to talk the conservative talk and backtrack, but they expect Republicans to do what they say in terms of enacting conservative policies. In many respects, the 2008 election was a continuation of the 2006 punishment voters exacted on Republicans who were saying one thing but doing another.


Republicans recently are all about do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. They often live in the biggest glass house, yet throw the largest stones. This kind of "kissing babies" politics is nothing new, but the GOP needs to clean it up. They need to have their actions match their words much more closely if they expect anyone but the hardcore to listen to them and, more importantly for them, to vote for them. The Republican brand rests in the balance.

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