Column: Hypocrisy's Doubleheader on Capitol Hill

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Mr. Carpenter holds a Ph.D. in American History and is a syndicated columnist.

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Those zany congressional conservatives are at it again; again, that is, at unbroken pace. For when it comes to laugh-out-loud hypocrisy you just can't keep a good conservative down, and the hilarity mounts. Add George W. to the mixture as the elected packhorses' ideological guide and, well, there you have it: a full-blown Mel Brooks production of a political farce.

Here's the latest example of piled-higher-and-deeper Republican hypocrisy. And this is a bonus week. It's a doubleheader.

Addressing negotiations over the Medicare prescription benefits bill now in conference, the House Ways and Means chairman, Bill Thomas, chastised Democrats for snarling things up. Publicly, he said, they act as though they want to cooperate, while privately, as the New York Times put it, Democrats are "making unreasonable demands." (No doubt these include some statutory expression of a social conscience.)

With all the somberness of a burial plot salesman, Mr. Thomas lectured: "You have to practice bipartisanship all the time, not just in front of the cameras." Yes, he -- the same who days before called the Capitol Police to have Democrats ejected from the Ways and Means library -- said that indeed. He said it in relation to a House bill written almost in its entirety by House Republicans, now being conferenced almost entirely by G.O.P. lawmakers. The unremitting exclusion of Democrats from the negotiating process led Representative Charlie Rangel of the bad-boy crowd to joke that he only hoped Republicans would at least let his party know when and where decisions will be made.

Mr. Thomas's daft, over-the-top hypocritical show will, of course, only help to secure his reelection.

As an aside, Thomas issued his lecture after a meeting between the president and 17 members of Congress, in which Mr. Bush urged bipartisanship and a quick resolution of differences. When asked if the president offered any suggestions on how to achieve those goals, one senator reported, "No. None." It's leadership like that that has produced domestic tranquility, a peaceful postwar Iraq and international accord in general.

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The doubleheader's second part was played out by upstart conservative congressman Paul Ryan, also of the Ways and Means Committee. Said he about the prescription drug bill with a profundity little resurrected since Barry Goldwater's heydays, "If we don't get this right, we're going to get European-style socialism in this country." The congressman neglected to point out the pertinent downside, but I say amen to that and God bless America.

Yet the distinctively odd angle of Mr. Ryan's statement was reflected by his own colleagues. In the midst of pondering the evils of socialism, the Republican-dominated House passed a bill -- with no debate -- ensuring its own comfortable drug benefits way beyond Medicare benefits once members begin sagging and drooling beyond even Congress's pale.

Under Ryan's rugged individualist concept of a drug prescription plan, socialist Medicare beneficiaries would be required to pay premiums, deductibles and full costs from around $2000 to $6000 a year. That's only fair -- the slackers. They didn't take the good time and trouble to capitalistically buy their way into America's truest socialist institution, the United States Congress, where drug premiums be damned along with nagging deductibles and hellacious out-of-pocket expenses.

As if that slap in the face to America's seniors wasn't enough, the House justified its self-interested padding by saying if it dropped its dynamite coverage, then, in the words of an excellent (NY) Buffalo News editorial, "many private-sector employers also will drop their coverage in favor of Medicare." Integrity, always integrity.

If I were an "age-appropriate" target of conservative malice on Medicare, I doubt I'd see the same level of humor in all this. I would, however, return fire with malice on election day. Conservative hypocrisy -- which includes any sympathetic congressional Democrat -- has reached critical mass.

© Copyright 2003 P. M. Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter's column is published weekly by History News Network and

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J. Caramello - 10/14/2003

Just one question. WHY are taxpayer dollars given to PBS and NPR? Doesn't anyone give a damn that money is being spent on this trash while the country is supposed to be going broke. Stop the funding or fund ALL the stations even the hated Fox News. This should get the "progressives" and other assorted socialists screaming.

J. Caramello - 10/14/2003

Please correct me if I am wrong. The current President was not elected but was placed in the presidency by a vast right wing conspiracy involving the "closet Nazis" of U.S. Supreme Court. Mr Gore's attempt to be appointed president by the Left wing neosocialists of the Florida Supreme Court came to naught quite obviously because of this same vast right wing conspiracy. Mr Gore won 500,000 more popular votes than Mr Bush so Mr Gore should be president, Electoral College and that pesky constitution notwithstanding. The revered Senator Hillary Rodham (what was her last name again?) was rightously incensed by this raw power grab and she "vowed" to submit a bill to get rid of the Electoral College (is the constitution next?) I don't think she ever got around to it. Bottom line: who is addressing the peoples business while we suffer through endless backbiting and campaigning. The "sainted" Democrat FDR once said, "a plague on both your houses" you know,I think he was right. As far as stealing elections is concerned, read the history of the 1960 Presidential election. The "Gauleiter" of Chicago R. Daily ensured that the cemeteries of that city voted early and often for JFK. Neither the Right or the Left has a corner on the hypocrisy market.

Glenn Williams - 8/22/2003

Maybe the Sesame Street's word for the day should be "hypocrisy," or maybe "Nimby"? PBS, along with the rest of the liberals, cares so much about the plight of illegal aliens, that those who demand that they obey the law in order to enjoy the benefits the taxpayers shower, are accused of "racism," "bigotry," etc. How many prime-time specials and Bill Moyers lectures does PBS air trying to convince us that "illegals" are no different than the immigrants who followed the rules? A classic case of NIMBY (not in my back yard)liberal hypocrisy!

Have you heard that earlier this summer, Sharon Rockefeller, CEO of WETA, the Washington, DC PBS station, and member of the PBS board of directors, blasted the Arlington County government for voting to build a pavilion for day laborers, mostly Hispanic immigrants, in which to congregate while waiting for work, right next door to WETA’s studios where they tape PBS NewsHour and Washington Week, and their corporate offices? The County promised Mrs Rockefeller an enhanced police presence, which they admit they don't do at other places day-laborers gather. They added that the cops won't take on the role of INS officers, however, although they admit that many of those using the facility are here illegally.

Mrs. Rockefeller appeared at the County board meeting to testify that the presence of all these Hispanic men would create a “pretty hostile environment" for WETA employees who could be accosted by day laborers while walking from one building to another. She also complained it will inconvenience PBS's "high-profile" (and liberal?) guests who arrive to be interviewed on the “NewsHour." “This is not going to be a good solution," Mrs. Rockefeller said. “It would absolutely complicate our lives."

Yes, Mrs Rockefeller is a member of the family that owns, endows and runs the Rockefeller Foundation. You know, the one that forces other communities to be more "accepting" of those who come here illegally, and blasts those who advocate that all immigrants should follow the rules in order to reap the benefits we citizens pay for as "racist" or "xenophobic."

She is also the wife Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, (D-WV). If she were Mrs Delay or Mrs Hatch, would ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, NPR and especially PBS, the House and Senate Democrats, and all the Democratic political action front groups posing as civil rights organizations be as silent?

Glenn Williams - 8/21/2003

What is meant by the "military deserter" comment? If you want to talk about that "Urban Legend" that appeared in the Boston Globe, I'll take you on about it point by point, because neither the author of that article, nor you apparently, know how one satisfies his/her military obligation, and even less about how one does it in the National Guard or Reserve, or what constitutes "desertion," etc. Like my hero, "GW" says, "bring it on!"

If the story about the pregnancy isn't also another urban legend - don't you think the left would have trotted it out with the DWI story in 2000 if it WERE true? - what the hell do you lefties care? You tolerated Clinton's serial pandering, and nullified Clinton's perjury after convincing enough of the public "it was only about sex." Even NOW forgot how they convinced everyone else during the Clarence Thomas confirmation that a male boss having sex with a female employee was always guilty of "sexual harassment," even if "consensual," because of the "power differential": but that's only if the supervisor is a Republican, I guess.

Remember, the left all tried to get GW on his DWI that happened 20+ years ago, in which no one got hurt and prompted a life-style change to one of sobriety, while Ted Kennedy, whose DWI related accident cost the life of his passenger, he's still a drunk, yet he remains one of the Left's champions!

George Oilwell - 8/2/2003

"Wait until the women start coming forward next year, accusing Dubya of sexual harrassment, rape, paternity, etc."

There is good reason to believe that bush The Younger impregnated a 15 year old girl in Houston, in 1972. Obviously, if true, that means that he is not only a military deserter, but is guilty of statutory rape. The abortion he paid for her to get was also prior to Roe v. Wade, back when such procedures were a crime in Texas.

The woman above is today married to an FBI agent. Her name is not a secret at all.

Most Americans who know about bush Family values don't seem to care, and are very likely to vote for him again in 2004.

Which might be proof that the public is far more progressive than the right-wing "Grecians" who pontificte and obfuscate here.

Stephen Kriz - 8/1/2003

After 8 years of slinging any kind of mud thye could find at Bill and Hillary Clinton (and their underage daughter too, I might add), I find it amusing that the poor wittle conservatives think their unelected president is being picked on. Or, as Cordovan might say, "focusing on anything, no matter how minor, they can use to attack the president and those of us who are right of center." Too bad.

The right-wing created this poisonous atmosphere, and by God, they are going to suffer the consequences. Wait until the women start coming forward next year, accusing Dubya of sexual harrassment, rape, paternity, etc. If you want to talk about issues, I believe you owe the Clintons and the Democrats a huge apology.

Corevan - 7/29/2003


I think my point is clear. Mr. Carpenter and those who are left of center have lost focus. And the only message they have is that whatever Pres. Bush and the Republican Party say is wrong.

Instead of a solid political platform with ideas and ways to achieve those on the left have rhetoric and ad hominem attack.

Do you have a point sir?

George Oilwell - 7/28/2003

If this country had a few modern-day LBJ style Democrats with access to the conservative-owned liberal media, the fascists running the country today, would be running for the Border tomorrow.

Thank you, Mr. Carpenter. As they say down south, bless your heart. (and all of your other vital organs, too)

Martin Sausage - 7/28/2003

What IS your point?

Corevan - 7/28/2003

Mr. Carpenter. What is your real point? I don’t disagree that by their very nature politicians are contradictory, they have to be in order to survive, but your assertions here are a waste of time and your degree. Your article supports my thinking that on the left of center people are focusing on anything, no matter how minor, they can use to attack the president and those of us who are right of center.

Lets look at some hypocrisy that has relevance to political discourse.

The Democratic Party's assertion that it is the party of African Americans and the number of prominent African Americans in their party leadership. As well as the less than noticeable change to scocio-economic conditions of inner city African Americans over the last 30 years.

The Democratic attack on the Bush Government’s assertion that we went to Iraq to stop terrorism and the proliferation or use of WMD, while those same critics and Pres. Clinton used the same arguments to launch a few missiles into Iraq, stopping none of the aforementioned threats.