Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bare-Chested, Flowing-Hair Hypocrisy

A flip-flopping, hypocritical politician is not a new thing and is in general not worthy of note in a fine journal such as this, but every once in a while someone takes insincerity and duplicity to a whole new level and we feel the need to acknowledge the effort. Mitt Romney is not nearly an idiot, so we can can't file this under Idiot Watch, but the man's speech yesterday to the National Rifle Association belongs somewhere in the Weasel Hall of Fame. It's not the substance – we won't debate his (current) stances – or the style – he has the usual demonization of Massachusetts, liberals, government, professors, newspapers, etc. that conservatives love. It's just the unabashed disingenuousness that makes his speech noteworthy. We won't go through all the details, but here are some Hypocrisy Highlights (his words indented):
I’ve noticed that the farther west I go, the bigger these NRA meetings get. I have to say the Boston chapter is a little on the small side these days, but its vigilance and impact exceed its size.
Gee Mitt, maybe that's because supporters of gun control like you didn't join until 2007. Did you really just have an epiphany the moment you decided to run for the Republican nomination and were no longer involved in Massachusetts politics? Some coincidence . . .
. . . we are committed to fight for freedom, defend the Constitution, and pass on to our children a legacy of liberty.
You've joined the ACLU? Or are you just quoting their charter?
No Constitutional protection is more often ignored, distorted, or disdained than the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Huh? Every single Republican candidate has to kow-tow to the NRA to get their approval and ever Democrat since Al Gore is afraid to even mention gun control.
Listening to our liberal friends sometimes, I’m reminded a little bit of the monarchists. Not because they want a king instead of a president, but because they place their faith in government. As they see it, government knows best. Government needs to protect us from ourselves. The supreme voice in the land is not the people, but the government.
Well, Mitt, you're half right. That's the reason some us aren't liberals. But you're conveniently missing the other half about conservatives wanting government to decide who can marry, what options you have when you're pregnant, what type of scientific research can be done . . . If you want limited government then blame the Liberals and Conservatives and call yourself a libertarian or (classical) liberal.
Will the economy come back? Of course it will, but not as quickly and as strongly as it could have. Why? Because the heavy hand of government is never as effective as the dreams and vision and hard work of 300 million Americans.
Except, of course, for the massive government intervention you supported back in September.
But the best path to health care reform is to let the American people make their own decisions, not have those decisions forced on them by government.
This one's a gem. One of Romney's proudest (at the time) achievements as governor of Massachusetts - the state he was educated in, made his fortune in, has lived in for almost forty years, and loves to trash on his tours around the country - was signing a bill that mandated insurance for a large segment of the population that chose not to have it for one reason or another and penalized small businesses that didn't provide it for their employees.
Did you see that California Republicans and Democrats finally reached a budget compromise? Salaries will be reduced for some state workers, and programs will be cut. But President Obama does not feel constrained by the Constitutional guarantee of federalism and states’ rights: he has dictated that California won’t get federal money because he doesn’t like the plan that they themselves have agreed to.
So small government Mitt thinks that federal money is guaranteed by the Constitution? Science help us!
In fact, whenever he adopts the policies of John McCain and George W. Bush like this, I’m glad.
Well, except for W's management of the Iraq war, right?
His administration has won the favor of liberal commentators by pledging what it calls reform in the treatment of terrorist detainees.
Well, this one's just kind of funny. The ACLU and lefty blogs have been hammering Obama for his positions on detainees and photos of abuse.
But here’s the problem. That is the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of September 11th. And the approval of left-wing law professors and editorial boards won’t be worth much if this country lets down its guard and suffers another attack.
Except that a Republican President and Congress were in power when we were attacked. If you want to argue that Bush immediately changed some obviously wrong Clinton policies upon taking office, but there wasn't enough time for them to protect us by Sept. 11, let's hear it. Otherwise, it's pretty tough to blame left-wing law professors for this one - not even the Harvard ones Romney moved to Massachusetts to learn from.
The jihadists are still at war with America, and we shouldn’t be worried about whether someone reads them their rights.
You're right, we shouldn't. And we (that's the royal we. I make no claim to speak for anyone else) don't. But we do care about the unlimited power of one person to imprison people forever without any due process. You know, those monarchical powers that those armed militias in Massachusetts fought against?
When we stay true to our principles, and state them forthrightly and fearlessly . . .
But here's the rub Mitt. Which “principles” are you talking about. The pro-choice principles you espoused as a Senatorial candidate? Mandated health care? Gun control?

Look, Mitt's got some qualities. He's very smart, was a successful businessman, and OMG the hair! But he's way out in front of the (very strong) pack when it comes to shameless pandering and hypocrisy. Find me another single speech so rife with contradictions!

Upon writing this post, I came across this gem from the Economist about the European Parliament's shameless hypocrisy over Canadians and the seals they club, when animal cruelty on a much broader and deeper scale goes on in Europe. Here's your competition for shamelessness, Mitt. Congratulations. You blow them away!

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