“Ethics” and Hypocrisy

For those of my readers who don’t know this, I am and always have been a Republican.  I also have rarely voted for a Republican candidate in the last 15-20 years, except in the primary, where I’ve cast my ballot for the least reactionary candidate [there are no moderate Republican candidates in Utah, nor any with any “liberal” traits].

Today, I only see a handful of Republican office-holders who are actually willing to call out both parties on their self-serving propaganda and who are promulgating positive and workable solutions… and they’re getting scarcer with every election. I support them… and keep hoping.

Back before I was involved directly in politics, the Republican Party had elected officials who ranged from the conservative to the moderately liberal, and even “Mr. Conservative” – Barry Goldwater – was Pro-Choice.  Back then, the GOP endorsed fiscal moderation, and was far less in favor of subsidies [except for those to farmers].  The party was for a strong national defense, but had a president who bluntly warned against the “military-industrial” complex. Most Republicans were perfectly happy to welcome the brains and bodies of bright foreign students who came to the U.S. to study and who wanted to stay.  The GOP believed in “God and Country,” but also in separation of church and state, and felt that NATO and other allies were important in opposing communist adventurism.  There were extreme “rightists” back then, such as the John Birch society, but ultra-conservative members of Congress were a definite minority.

That began to change about the time when I became the legislative director for a conservative Republican congressman after the 1972 election and came to Washington, D.C.  That was the time period when the far-right Republican Study Committee and equally conservative Heritage Foundation were created, largely in reaction to a Democrat-dominated House of Representatives and Senate. Over the next two decades, more and more liberal and moderate Republicans were defeated, and the GOP became more and more stridently conservative on social and religious issues, tacitly [and sometimes more than that] opposing the Equal Rights Amendment, and opposing as much as possible environmental and civil rights issues.

At the same time, any pretense of fiscal conservatism vanished with the Reagan administration and the idea that tax cuts for the wealthier Americans would bring prosperity to everyone, but, in the end, all that meant was that the Republicans wanted welfare for businesses and the wealthy and the Democrats wanted welfare for the poor and underprivileged…and both kinds of welfare were funded increasingly through deficit financing.  Both parties cooperated in adding to the Defense budget by keeping unneeded military bases open, by micromanaging defense procurement in order to maximize defense jobs in the districts of influential members of the House and Senate, and by often legislating the procurement of weapons and equipment not requested by military leaders.

In recent years, Republicans have pushed for more “deregulation,” especially financially, tax cuts for the wealthy, effectively cut back on antitrust enforcement and environmental protection, and failed to fund VA hospitals and health care for all the wounded veterans injured in various combat assignments  all over the world.  They’ve also pushed for “religious” provisions of all sorts in health care and education.

In short, they’ve abandoned fiscal prudence, and rewarded the rich, and created all sorts of indirect subsidies for businesses. They have tried to gut the separation of church and state. They’ve pushed for measures to make it harder for minorities and the less affluent to vote and be politically active.  They’ve tried to overturn and roll back air quality standards affecting the poorest Americans, and they’ve turned over public lands to mining companies. Most of all, they claim that they’re for “working Americans,” when almost everything they espouse these days will hurt those working Americans.   

The Democrats want to spend far too much, and they go too far in the area of political correctness, and they don’t understand that “culture” isn’t the same as “race” or ethnicity, but they’re trying, most imperfectly, to make life better for the majority of Americans, and they have plans to pay for what they want, which, imperfect as some of them are, are far better than the proven unworkable trickle-down economics of the Republicans. What the Republicans support, for all their rhetoric to the contrary, are measures designed to make life better for those who already have the good life and vague promises to dissatisfied workers that will do absolutely nothing for those workers, not to mention wasting money on a wall across the southern border that won’t deal with the real immigration problems and will create severe environmental difficulties. 

If I’ve counted correctly, there are something like 37 individuals connected with the Trump campaign that have either been indicted or pled guilty to various charges of corruption, and they’ve been charged by a Republican prosecutor.  I’m fairly sure that’s a record for such charges, but then, the last time we had such a scandal was Watergate… and, funny thing, that was a Republican campaign and administration, too.  And, oh, yes, the last big Presidential corruption problem before that was the Teapot Dome scandal in which Republicans tried to sell-off, at cut-rate prices, U.S. naval oil reserves to oil moguls. 

But I guess that “ethical” for Republicans these days means cutting back on rights, benefits [including breathing clean air], and health care for the disadvantaged while providing subsidies and tax cuts to businesses and the wealthy and claiming that all those “new” jobs, most of which are “service” jobs that pay far less than the old manufacturing jobs, are a great benefit.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

6 thoughts on ““Ethics” and Hypocrisy”

  1. Matt Newman says:

    The political system appears to be irrevocably broken at this point and whilst the most egregious examples are currently within the GOP the rot runs deep in both parties.

    Political office has become a means to a financial end. Multi term Senators and Congress members are becoming millionaires and so all of their decisions are rooted in holding on to their position. I have no doubt that the majority of Republicans in Washington don’t want the wall but they know that to oppose it is to invite a primary challenge and risk losing their coveted position. The rush by so many of the Democrats to embrace the frequently naïve ideas of Alexandria Occasio-Cortez are rooted in the same fear.

    Responsible, ethical Government cannot be achieved it seems until we remove the money from the political process and enforce strict term limits. Sadly the people who can make these changes are the ones with their noses in the trough and so they will all keep fiddling whilst Rome burns.

    1. Damon Edwards says:

      Instead of term limits, we should fix gerrymandering and as you stated fix campaign finance.

  2. Wayne Kernochan says:

    As someone who as you know tends more towards the “liberal” side of the spectrum, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I will add that I believe that most Republican lawmakers are afraid not only of being primaried but also of straying too far from the official Republican position, which can lead to a lack of jobs in lobbying, media, or think tanks (which may pay better than Congress) if they lose their seats. And there is also the problem that I have found over and over in business that the lies you tell (in this case, in politics) you come to believe yourself. It’s like the Mark Twain story of the man who couldn’t stand his neighbors and so to get rid of them spread the rumor that there was gold in hell. A friend stopped by a little later and found him packing. “What are you doing?” the friend asked. “Going to check whether there’s gold in hell,” the man replied. “I got to thinking there might be something in it.”

  3. JakeB says:

    I have conjectured that it began when the Democrats put the Civil Rights Act into place and conservatives then had the choice of trying to go backward — in a direction that all decent people in their hearts know they shouldn’t be going — or admitting that here was a case where conservatism had indeed not served them well.

    I’d be much happier in a world where the two parties could debate honorably and sensibly according to older ideals of liberal and conservative: should we go faster or slower with these changes? Should we change at all?

    But the way things are now, in the end, if it doesn’t lead to the end of our Republic, the Democrats will end up taking everything, as they deserve to, when the national Republicans have become monsters. Consider what we’ve seen of Trump and imagine him in 1938, how he’d be sucking up to Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. And his boys in Congress would be saying, “Yeah, those fascists really do know how to run a country!”

  4. Tom says:

    So, we have identified some of our political problems but I recall that we are a nation governed by the people of and for the people.

    Fixing campaign financing may help but we would need to ensure in some way that we do not make the only electable politicians those who can afford to pay for the necessary advertising.

    How do we diminish the hypocrisy and ensure the ethics of our elected politicians? Perhaps we should start with our own behavior toward each other. If so is it cultural change or more diversity or a chicken in every pot in every home which will achieve this improvement in our behavior? Integrity starts at home and perhaps at school.

    In the end we may then get to elect politicians who have the appropriate stubbornness and ‘creative intensity’ to improve our lives (and our fellow humans all over the world).

  5. Hannabel says:

    Can the real ‘R.Hamilton’ please stand up?

    Ian too.

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