Religion, Republicans And Hypocrisy Rant

<rant> We all know that Religion and Hypocrisy go hand in hand. Religion has no choice. It is impossible to be religious and consistent at the same time, because any religious claim is usually self-contradictory, requiring a pull in two directions. Against abortion? Sure, every life is sacred (except those on death row, service men fighting in war, innocent civilians in Iran and Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc.). Voila’! Instant Hypocrisy.

But lately Republicans have become extremely hypocritical. Appallingly so. Take the recent underwear bomber, and the government response. A lone wacko from Nigeria manages to finagle himself and his lumpy underwear onto a trans-Atlantic flight, but is inept enough to bungle a simple bombing. Does this sound familiar? Remember Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber? He’s the reason you have to take your shoes off before going through security every time you need to board a plane.

Well, Republicans are criticizing Obama and his administration for what they believe is an inadequate response to the Nigerian bomber, when, as Ed Brayton and others have noted, every single criticism could be made, in spades, about Bush’s response to the shoe bomber, with not a peep out of Republicans at the time. Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?

It’s not coincidental that Republicans are, for the most part, extremely religious, usually of the fundamentalist variety. God and Country is their motto. So what is there about the religious mindset that melds so seamlessly into the Republican mindset, resulting in almost mirror image hypocrisy? Why is there a strong correlation between high divorce rates, teenage pregnancy and pornography, and those states that vote Republican, the so called “red states”? Could it be that the very religious are trained from birth to rationalize their religious beliefs, despite their inherent contradictions, to the point that such rationalizations become second nature? They seem to be able to compartmentalize two contradictory ideas, holding both at the same time, without batting an eyelash or triggering an attack of conscience. Theologians even have a word for it – Apologetics. On the political side, we have  – Republigetics.

I used to think that Republicans were just another side of the same political coin. They simply saw things different, but usually had the best interests of the country at heart, and despite having minor policy differences, the country rarely took abrupt turns noticeable to the populace when the other party assumed power after an election. Past Republican Presidents are still thought of highly. Think Eisenhower. Even Hoover wasn’t a bad guy. He just inherited a tough situation.

Since Nixon (who, I contend, opened the door to wacky political thinking) and, more notably, the rise of the Religious Right, the Republican party has become more and more mentally unstable, more obviously greedy and power hungry, more clearly willing to fuck us all over as long as they get elected. Or so it seems.

Like a zit, it rose to the surface and popped during the Clinton years. Clinton didn’t do us any favors by snuggling up to an intern, but he didn’t really harm the country in any way either. Like Tiger Woods, his peccadilloes were of a private, behind closed doors, nature, and if ignored, would have had absolutely no impact on the country. His marriage may not have survived, but the country would have.

But Newt Gingrich and his Republican thugs couldn’t let it alone. They knew an opportunity for a power grab when they saw it. They employed Kenneth Starr to dredge the sewers and white backwaters of Washington, making sure to create political hay out of non-political scandal. This led to the stupidest application of the Constitutional procedure of impeachment, which did not result in the removal of Clinton from office, but did result, most likely, in George Bush’s election, and worse, the polarization of American politics we are experiencing today.

Barack Obama, no more than 30 seconds after his inauguration (probably even before) was being castigated as the worse President in American history. Republicans openly prayed (yes prayed) that he would fail, ignoring the honeymoon new Presidents have always been given by their opponents after an election. Country Last, Party First is the new de-facto motto of the Republican Party. Every lie that can be told, every scurrilous rumor that can be whispered, is being advanced by the Republicans towards their hypocritical ends. Teabaggers are being whipped into a hysterical frenzy by – Republicans. Gun sales are going through the roof,  and are being pointed in the direction of Washington.

Despite the fact that almost everyone agrees that health care is in crisis mode in this country, only one single Republican in both chambers of Congress had the courage to cross party lines and vote for one of the Health Care bills. Republicans did their damnedest to scuttle the process from the outset, (including prayer) claiming it was too expensive. Then, when they were reminded of their votes in favor of the deficit expanding Medicare prescription drug benefit program when they were in power, they resorted to lies, obfuscation and, yes, hypocrisy.

In short, Republicans don’t mind spending $70 million of taxpayer funds on a political witch hunt that benefited the country not one iota, if it will put them back in the seat of power. But they’ll fight tooth and nail to defeat a health care proposal that will benefit the country when they are out of power if they think it will whip the masses into a mood to vote Republican.

So what’s wrong with a little hypocrisy? Well, for one thing, it’s intellectually dishonest. And intellectual dishonesty paves the way for actual dishonesty – dishonesty that affects the lives of other human beings in a negative way. If Republicans are hypocritical about the battles they wage, presumably on behalf of their constituents, then their motivations are suspect. How can you believe anyone that cries bloody murder when Obama does anything, but stands silent when their leaders do the same thing? They seem to be more concerned with themselves; whether they will get re-elected, whether their cronies that pay for their elections will benefit from their association with them, and whether they will continue to maintain power as a party. The country, in the meantime, be damned.

I hate hypocrisy. It was the primary attribute of religion that pushed me away from it. It is still the main aspect of religion that boils my blood. So when I see it being embraced, knowingly, in a calculating manner, by the Republican Party, well, I react viscerally the way I do towards religion.  That’s not to say that there aren’t individual Republicans who I admire and respect, just as there are many individual theists who I admire and respect. But Republicans, like Religion, seem to be extremely hypocritical at the top.

There needs to be a major shakeup in both arenas. </rant>

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16 thoughts on “Religion, Republicans And Hypocrisy Rant

  1. I remember in October 2008, before the election, I was arguing with an acquaintance at my uncle’s wedding who claimed that Barack Obama was a Muslim because he went to a Muslim school in Indonesia as a child.

    I was like “And I was raised Catholic and now I’m an atheist, so what does that have to do with anything.”

    Here’s one of the problems with these Tea Party people taking over the Republican Party. Inevitably, the voters will put a Republican majority back in Congress because they will have grown dissatisfied with the Democrats, but the Republicans who get elected will be in thrall to these Tea Party types, which means the nuts will be running the asylum.

  2. And then you have statements like this the other day from Beltway Villager Cokie Roberts:

    Well, it’s always politically difficult for Democrats when they are dealing with an issue like terrorism. It remained the Republican’s only winning issue through most of President Bush’s second term, and it’s a particular problem for a Democrat who hasn’t served in the military

    Why wasn’t it a problem for Bush and Cheney, when they didn’t serve in the military either? And I recall at least one Republican politician (whose name escapes me) opining a couple of years ago that we needed another terrorist attack on our soil to make us appreciate Bush’s policies. And yet when a failed attempt occurs on Obama’s watch where nobody dies, it is because Obama isn’t being tough enough. The cognitive dissonance of these people is simply amazing.

  3. Even hypocrites sometimes get things right. They’re correct. Obama’s administration fucked up big-time with the Nigerian would-be bomber. It also screwed the pooch on health care, on bailouts, on global warming, on “oversight,” on earmarks, on “transparency,” on Afghanistan, and on just about every other governmental function.

    The Democratic response to pointing out any of their failings is to scream “hypocrite,” and to show a Republican parallel during the years from 2001-2008. That’s an oh-so-easy deflection of useful criticism — and equally hypocritical.

    Both parties use the same tactics, and they both suck.

    • Mr. W.

      Jeez, what do you want? I ranted for over 1100 words against Republicans. Do you know how long this post would be if I included Democrats?

      Then I’d have to go after the Libertarians.

    • Not much disagreement here. Napolitano’s statement that “the system worked” was incredibly dumb and ranks right up there with Bush’s “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie.”

      The system failed. And now, as a result, new procedures are and will be implemented that won’t really make air travel safer but will result in more hassles for law abiding passengers.

      Where I disagree with you somewhat is that there is nothing wrong with pointing out Republican hypocrisy. You have to remember that voters have short attention spans, so they are not likely to remember that the Bush Administration handled Richard Reid the same way that the Obama Administration is handling the Nigerian man.

      But back to the original post, SI is simply pointing out his concerns (which I share) of the current Republican Party, which is increasingly in thrall to fundie whack jobs. Give me a competent Republican presidential candidate in 2012, and I will happily pull the lever for him or her if the Obama administration has not done a good job by then. But if the Republican party is going to be the party of Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Michelle Bachmann and Joe the (Not) Plumber, then I don’t want any part of them.

      • Yes. Criticism of Republicans doesn’t necessarily imply non-criticism of Democrats. The hypocrisy of the Republicans, however, seems to be so much more slimy than that of the Democrats. There’s an ick factor there that just repulses me.

        Now here’s another take on the health care aspect of it.

  4. Both parties use the same tactics, and they both suck.

    I agree. There’s little discernible difference between Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats may speak more eloquently and less shrilly than the Republicans, but all of them are mostly mouthing platitudes and taking care of themselves rather than the public. We need at least one viable alternative to these two parties, but that’s hard to accomplish because the Republicans and the Democrats have the system rigged in their favor. But, the real reason viable alternatives don’t arise is that most Americans don’t really care. As long as they’re drinking cheap beer and eating cake, ice cream, potato chips, nachos, wings and Twinkies, and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas on their 72 inch plasma TVs, they’re content, or, at least, not discontent enough to take any action.

  5. I agree with the Colonel, both parties suck; however, ANY admission of failure these days seems to be instant political suicide, so you will not see either party ever acknowledge a less than stellar report of their own performances. I think for those with half a clue, it would be refreshing to hear accurate self-assessments, but I think we’re in the minority. Also, it would take a very bold politician to be openly self critical, and I think that species has gone extinct.

    One glaring contrast though between the two parties is the Republicans, when they’re in power, don’t give a damn what the Dems think and when they’re not in power, all they’re concerned with is cock-blocking the Dems and engaging in any kind of sabotage of their initiatives, regardless of their merits, in order to regain power. The Dems, on the other hand, pussyfoot around when they have power and are completely inconsequential when out of power, seemingly biding their time until it’s their turn again.

  6. Here’s one crazy Idea. What would happen I wonder, if every 4 years the two parties HAD to relinquish the presidency to the other party. Oh, wait that’s democratic thinking, but – I’m not exactly a democrat. This framework could maybe tone down the power struggles we’re seeing today. There would surely still be majorities in the house and senate, but a president from the opposing side(possibly) would provide leverage. Like I said, it’s a crazy idea. It goes against the constitution and the democracy of the people; it takes away choice. But sharing and equality are at the core of this country.

    • 1. That implies there are and will only ever be the two crappy parties we’re currently stuck with, or are you suggesting that the Green Party gets a turn? The Teabag Party, too? The Communist Party?

      2. Sharing and equality are NOT “at the core of this country”. In fact, this ridiculous notion of equality championed by so-called liberals is complete nonsense. Everyone should be seen as equal in the eyes of the law and everyone should get the same basic opportunities but that’s where equality ends. As for sharing, I have no idea where you got that from. There’s nothing in our Constitution about sharing and if you ask the so-called “real” Americans, they view Social Security and Welfare as being robbed by the government so no, sharing is most certainly NOT at this nation’s core.

    • Briar

      I think I know what your suggesting, but I don’t think that’s the answer. You think that if we took away a source of polarization at the Presidential level, it would take the heat off the President.

      But I agree with Philly, and this system has worked quite well for over 200 years. It’s designed well, and should continue to work well. The problem right now is not that of The President’s making, so why change the Presidential election system?

      The problem is that one of the parties is presently in the hands of outright loonies, who believe so strongly that they possess the “truth” they are willing to shut down our system of government to prove it. It’s a weakness in the system, as the Constitution as written assumes that the people we elect are relatively intelligent, and will strive mightily to fulfill the wishes of the Founding Founders.

      The Republicans at the moment seem to have lost sight of that, are clearly unhappy with the culture of America, and wish to use their political position and power to effect changes to that culture. I don’ t think that’s what the Founding Fathers had in mind for our Constitution. Culture will be what it is, independent of the political state.

      It may take awhile to get this across to the people who do the electing, but I have every confidence that this too shall pass, and the ship of state will aright itself and continue sailing on an even keel.

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