November 19, 2019

On Impeachment, We Are All Hypocrites

“Hypocrisy is always part of politics. The opposition party always fancies itself noble and principled, ready to reform if only given the chance. The ruling party “always thinks,” as John Adams put it, “it has a great soul, and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.” Power corrupts, and rare indeed is the politician with any trace of immunity to its foul.

And yet! For all my cynicism, for all my recognition this is nothing new and that critiquing political duplicity is also an ancient pastime, I cannot help but be impressed at the cavernous depths of hypocrisy in American politics today. It’s all hypocrisy, all the way down. A plague on all houses is too light a judgment, and nowhere is this truer than in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The president and his defenders have so perfected the insincerity of their support for orderliness, due process, and the rule of law that I almost admire their craftsmanship. A phalanx of House Republicans stormed closed-door impeachment hearings Wednesday, with their leader, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), claiming such direct action was necessary because GOP lawmakers were excluded from the “secret” meeting — a meeting the 48 Republican members of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees were all perfectly welcome to attend. Gaetz is not on those committees, which is why he and his fellow rabble-rousers were not equally welcome. Undaunted by such details, Gaetz declared Thursday his tactics were justified because if “Democrats are going to have a world with no rules,” the GOP must recognize it is “fighting against an angry pack of rabid hyenas” and act accordingly.”

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