Thursday was a red letter day for hypocrisy. First, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy abruptly resigned from Congress after the Pittsburgh Gazette claimed that he had been having an extramarital affair and urged his mistress to get an abortion. In text messages obtained by the paper, she called Murphy a hypocrite for wanting her to get an abortion while he was posting messages about the March for Life. He allegedly replied that his staffers were posting them and he would tell them to stop.
Murphy had already announced plans not to run for reelection. In an era when Republicans are ever more willing to launch primary challenges against incumbents they see as “RINOs,” Murphy had only a C+ grade from the National Taxpayers Union and was rated by the Club For Growth as the fifth-most liberal Republican in Congress. They had no idea just how liberal.
On the other side of the political fence, Hollywood producer, uber-liberal and major Democratic fundraiser/Clinton and Obama supporter Harvey Weinstein was the target of a New York Times story alleging decades of crude sexual harassment of women, ranging from female staffers to stars like Ashley Judd (who was famously outspoken about Trump’s sexist comments, but oddly quiet about Weinstein’s offensive come-ons). The Times claims many of the women accepted settlements to keep quiet. Although Weinstein’s crude behavior was reportedly well-known among Hollywood insiders (who also railed publicly about Trump’s crude words), nobody said anything until the expose hit. The backpedaling is already starting: Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich’s reelection campaign announced that it will give Weinstein’s recent $5400 donation to a charity that helps domestic violence survivors.
Whereas Murphy just immediately resigned, Weinstein’s response to the exposure of his hypocrisy was, predictably, more theatrical. He ran through an array of colorful responses and excuses: he came of age in the ‘60s and ’70s and didn’t realize what a pig he was…he’s made a commitment to reform and “my journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons” with the help of a female tutor who’s put together a team, including therapists…he’s taking a leave of absence from work to try to conquer his demons…But he’s also suing the Times for $50 million for alleged “reckless reporting”…and in the ultimate attempt to distract stunned fellow Hollywood liberals from his own actions, he vowed to focus his rage during his time away from work on destroying the NRA and Donald Trump.
I could comment on just how self-serving, disgusting and absurd all this is, but blogger Ann Althouse already did an excellent job of that (“How many d***ed people have to join forces to turn you into a decent human being?”), so I’ll just suggest you read her recap at the link.
Will all this hypocrisy on display from right and left change anyone’s minds on their political beliefs? Not likely. As “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams noted, pointing out your opponent’s hypocrisy is a bad persuasion technique because most people know that nobody lives up to their own highest standards. He says it’s hard to get people worked up over a trait they see in themselves. Still, if you are claiming to be pro-life while trying to get your girlfriend to have an abortion, or posing as a liberal feminist icon while acting like a rutting pig to your female employees, you aren’t exactly falling short of your own highest standards. You’re not even reaching the lowest standards of human decency with your fingernails.
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