I often say that Republicans have retired the concept of hypocrisy and people titter politely, but I suspect they think it's a sort of glib slogan and not a serious observation. But I mean it literally.
Recently Michelle Malkin went ballistic over Joe the plumber's privacy being invaded. And many people pointed out that she was hardly the best messenger for such a complaint considering her own notorious history of stalking low income families to prove they weren't actually in need of government subsidized health care when they had the nerve to speak out politically.
One would have thought that would be enough for her to slither off in an embarrassed funk and let someone else carry the hypocritical wingnut banner personal privacy, but it apparently spurred her on to write a big op-ed in the mainstream media instead.
[W]hen freelance members of the Obama Goon Squad take it upon themselves to do opposition research on The One's citizen critics and rummage through government databases, where are all the privocrats? And how safe will your state tax and IRS records be if Dear Leader is elected?
Welcome to Obama's America.
Now, as it happens, I think that public employees searching through Joe the plumber's governmental records is absolutely wrong and that people should lose their jobs if they did it. It creeped me out too. And I thought the press treatment was overkill as well --- right up until the moment that Joe started grandstanding for the cameras, got an agent and started talking to people about a recording contract.
But, again, Malkin is hardly the right person to complain considering the absolutely horrific invasion of privacy she perpetrated against the Frost family. It's mind-boggling that, of all people in the right wing blogosphere, she has appointed herself to be the one to lead this story. The sheer brass of it, the unreflective audacity, is simply breathtaking.
This is why I say that they have retired the concept of hypocrisy. It goes far beyond double standards or duplicity or bad faith. There's an aggression to it, a boldness, that dares people to bring up the bald and obvious fact that the person making the charge is herself a far worse perpetrator of the thing she is decrying. There's an intellectual violence in it.
In a world in which the conservatives weren't such post modern shape shifters, we could come to a consensus on certain issues in this country --- like privacy, for instance. We could agree that it's wrong for government employees to use private information for partisan purposes --- or for the media, including bloggers, to stalk and publish private information of anyone who dares speak out for a political cause. But we don't live in a world like that.
We live in a world where the right wing ruthlessly and without mercy degrades and attacks by any means necessary what they perceive as the enemy, and then uses the great principles of democracy and fair play when the same is done to them. They leave the rest of us standing on the sidelines looking like fools for ever caring about anything but winning.
it's not that I believe liberals are purely good and decent. We have many, many faults and are almost preternaturally talented at seizing defeat from the jaws of victory before we even get finished celebrating. But failing to truly grok just how pernicious this right wing rejection of hypocrisy really is and how much power it gives them is a foolish mistake.
I think we're about to get schooled. Again. The torture loving right is dusting off its completely hypocritical "government is full of jack-booted thugs" playbook --- and it's going to drive us all completely crazy.