It is an issue

I haven’t blogged about the Mark Foley scandal. It seems superfluous; the badness of it is so obvious, and the media and the public’s insatiable appetite for sexual titillation provided wall-to-wall coverage of all aspects of the case, so what more can I add?

But I do want to comment on an issue, including, but much broader than, the Foley scandal. It is as old as time itself, and one of humanity’s most dangerous sins: hypocrisy.

The Holy One hates him who says one thing in his mouth, and another in his heart.

Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 113b

The hypocrisy and thick irony of the recent news is apparent:


  • While Congressman Foley was cyber-molesting young boys, he served as chairman of the House caucus for exploited children, and pushed the toughest legislation on online predators in the world into law, the law that may land him in court now. He was such a prominent child advocate, campaign ads for him said, “Protect our children. Vote Mark Foley.” (I’m not making this up.) Hypocrisy.
  • Christian leaders, like James Dobson, who spent years making a career out of vigorously bashing Clinton’s sexual immorality from the pulpit, aren’t bashing Foley’s infinitely-more-troubling behavior, aren’t even mentioning it unless cornered, and then are blaming the victims, and “the liberals.” Hypocrisy. (source)
  • On October 5, Speaker Hastert accepted “responsibility” for not acting on info of Foley’s behavior. In that same exact press conference, he said, “of course, I haven’t done anything wrong.” Hypocrisy. (source)
  • The fact that Hastert turned to Rush Limbaugh for moral vindication after all this boogles my mind. Glenn Greenwald’s blog put it better than I could: If the term ‘moral degenerate’ has any validity and can be fairly applied to anyone, there are few people who merit that term more than Rush Limbaugh. He is the living and breathing embodiment of moral degeneracy, with his countless overlapping sexual affairs, his series of shattered, dissolved marriages, his hedonistic and illegal drug abuse, his jaunts, with fistfulls of [illegal] Viagra (but no wife), to an impoverished Latin American island renowned for its easy access to underage female prostitutes. Yet that is who Hastert chose as the High Priest of the Values Voters to whom he made his pilgrimage and from whom he received his benediction. The difference between Rush Limbaugh and Mark Foley, to the extent there is one, is one of hedonistic tastes, not moral level. Rush Limbaugh isn’t just tolerated within the party that stands for religious piety and moral strength. He is a leader of it, arguably the leader of its most righteous wing.” HYPOCRISY.
  • George W. Bush proclaimed “Our changing world requires virtues that sustain our democracy, make self-government possible, and help build a more hopeful future. National Character Counts Week is an opportunity to recognize the depth of America’s character and appreciate those who pass on our values to future generations. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2006, as National Character Counts Week. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.” Read the official announcement. During “Character Counts Week,” George W. Bush went to Pennsylvania to campaign and unabashedly endorse Congressman Don Sherwood, who paid millions in compensation for trying to strangle his mistress, and is now running sappy piano-laden TV ads (watch) apologizing for his adultery and denying he choked his mistress. “Character Counts,” eh? Hypocrisy!
  • Clinton wagging his finger that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” when he totally did was hypocrisy too, and he’s now admitted that and apologized profusely, and even gave an anatomy of the self-deception in his autobiography.
  • ADDENDUM: Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid criticizing “a culture of corruption,” while illegally siphoning campaign money to condo employees (breaking news).
  • The White House at the highest levels employs gay men (source), allowed male prostitute Jeff Gannon press access for two years (source) while they made the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage the centerpiece of their 2004 campaign. Anti-gay Senator Larry Criag (R – Idaho) just got outed. While we are at war, one of the most crazy fervert opponents of “the gay agenda,” Tom Coburn, says “that agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today.” And he has a gay legislative director drafting his anti-gay legislation. Former Washington state senate leader Jim West pushed a bill banning gays from schools while he was trying to give young men government jobs in exchange for sex. McCarthy aide Roy Cohn was an anti-gay activist who secretly was a promiscious homosexual and died of AIDS. The list goes on and on. As the New York Times’ Frank Rich said, this isn’t just hypocrisy, it’s pathology. I’ve often wondered why anyone would spend so much time out of their daily life trying to squelch homosexuality if it didn’t affect them at all. Evidently, it does affect them; in their twisted world of denial, perhaps feverish opposition of homosexuality is the only way they could feel a semblance of comfort. It’s one of the sickest forms of hypocrisy because it brings so much hate into the political proccess. And it is very sad. And we as a society should find a more mature way of dealing with the issue than this. But that is for another blog.

Hypocrisy is a huge issue that is impacting government and public life. It is one of our gravest sins.

One of my first experiences with it was when I was a child, and I saw on the Today show that President Reagan was making huge cuts to Medicare, but then it showed him at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new hospital.

Sometimes hypocrisy is a diversion, a painful contradiction, or even a self-deception. But it is always wrong, and can even be devestating to the public. And it is wrong no matter who does it.

We’re all guilty to some extent.

But if we want a better world, we have to end it. I hope I helped in some small way.

All my best,


Filed Under: Politics and Government