I hate hypocrites.
There is nothing worse than saying one thing and doing just the opposite.
Back when Congress impeached Bill Clinton, I recall Republican friends of mine lamenting the general lack of outrage by the public about the whole tawdry affair. I don’t think anyone should have been that surprised by the public’s reaction. Clinton never said he was a Boy Scout. He didn’t run on a platform of family values, so when he fell far short of meeting basic marital moral standards, we just stood by and watched and collectively moved on.
Most Republicans, however, in similar circumstances wouldn’t find themselves so “lucky.” A Republican president doing the exact same thing would most likely find himself tarred and feathered, since most Republicans preach the importance of family values. To say one thing and then behave in complete contradiction of those principles is hypocritical.
This is why Mark Sanford finds himself in a jam trying to win back his old seat in Congress. Had he never pretended to be the great family man when he entered public life, he might not find himself so despised now that we know what an affront he is to all women everywhere. The same goes for Newt Gingrich or a number of other Republicans who can’t live up to the principles they run on.
Some Republicans become irritated by all of this because they feel Democrats aren’t held to the same standards when it comes to hypocrisy. They’re correct on the marital fidelity front, but I think as President Obama spends more time in the White House, they’ll see the tide turn in another significant way.
If there is anything Obama stands for politically, it is that he clearly despises the “one percent.” Those evil rich people who live it up while others suffer sit in the cross hairs of his noble efforts to relieve them of their wealth for the greater good. He is the modern day Robin Hood for America’s common man.
There is one little kink in the Obama armor when it comes to all this and that is that while he waxes eloquently against the one percent, he lives a life that few in the one percent could even dream of having.
Vacations in beautiful places, golf (and lessons) with Tiger Woods, and a White House party and performance by some of America’s finest entertainers are some of the activities on the president’s calendar just in the past few weeks. Meanwhile, the only picture small town American schoolchildren could get of the White House while visiting Washington during Spring Break is one where the house is blocked by the bars from the White House gates. Their only hope of seeing a tour of the inside of the place is by pulling up a video on You Tube.
While Obama and his famous friends are clearly enjoying themselves (although Jay Z probably isn’t looking back on his vacation in Cuba as fondly as he did when he first returned), the rest of the country is struggling to get by. A vacation these days is a staycation for most people.
This is where Obama will find his popularity soon plummet if he doesn’t turn things around. Rather than live like a king, he should be doing the full Pope Francis, at least if he really believes what he’s been saying. Although Jimmy Carter ranks near the bottom on my list of American presidents, I will give him some credit for sending his daughter to public school and appearing to have his lifestyle and his professed principles in sync.
So here’s a general political rule to follow. If you’re a Republican and your platform is family values, don’t cheat on your wife. And if you’re a Democrat who is on the side of the little guy and against the rich don’t live better than the rich people you constantly vilify.
It just looks bad.