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December 30, 2009


Some conservatives have argued that because liberals have abandoned so much of traditional morality, they have elevated hypocrisy as a mortal sin. Even partial or spurious inconsistency is now considered the worst form of hackery. This POV is so ingrained that Brendan doesn't even need to explain his point.

Brendan doesn't bother to evaluate whether either Barnes column makes sense. Even if they were totally contradictory, one of them might be reasonable.

Nor does he bother to note significant ways in which the columns are not at all inconsistent. In particular:

-- Barnes points out that today's Dems are acting unilaterally. In fact, passage of so enormous a bill as health "reform" without a single vote from the other party is unprecedented. OTOH Bush's tax cuts and Iraq invasion had bilateral support.

-- Bush's tax cuts and the invasion of Iraq were quite popular with the public when they were implemented. The public soured on Iraq later when it started to go badly. OTOH today's health "reform" is massively unpopular. E.g. see http://www.forextv.com/Forex/News/ShowStory.jsp?seq=1167633&category=Political+News

Brendan, while you obviously must see a substantial inconsistency between these two comments to label Barnes a "hack", it is unclear to me why you think one is a clear contradiction of the other, when one refers to the president vs. popular opinion and the other to a congressional majority vs. popular opinion. Could there not be institutional as well as situational reasons popular opinion should be weighed differently in these different cases.

David, remember that it takes two to bipartisango. The Democrats during the Bush years had no spine worth mentioning, whereas the Republicans of today oppose without offering any plausible compromise.

That some conservatives argue that liberals have turned hypocrisy into a mortal sin happens because it's the one sin that conservatives indulge in with complete relish, and they don't want their style cramped.

the Republicans of today oppose without offering any plausible compromise.

1. Republicans have offered alternatives. E.g., they proposed malpractice reform, which would actually reduce costs. Instead the Dems passed a bill that discourages malpractice reform. It's a payoff to the plaintiffs' attorneys who donated a lot of money to them.

2. The Dems' bill will increase costs and worsen treatment. Doing nothing would be a better than making things worse.

3. The idea that medical costs would bankrupt the country was a myth. It was never the case that something had to be done.

"...without a single vote from the other party...'

Wrong, David. Anh Cao, a REPUBLICAN member of Congress, voted for the health care bill. Happy New Year, by the way.

David, you're wrong. Dead wrong. Wow, this is easy when you don't need facts to back up your statements.

@jd: On the topic of hypocrisy where are your facts to back up your statements?

@Martyb: You make a good point, the analogy would be stronger if Barnes was stating that Bush should ignore bad poll numbers and a lack of congressional support on a domestic issue like the privatization of Social Security (which he did not).

@JP: That was the whole point of my post.

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