The Oxford English Dictionary defines hypocrisy as “a false appearance of virtue or goodness, with dissimulation [concealment] of real character.”
In a Crisp and Cowton (1994) study examining hypocrisy, “one says or implies something in public and behaves differently in private.”
In the study, there is an illustration of hypocrisy using “Cafeteria Catholics” or “Sunday Baptists” as individuals who want to appear to be living the tenets of their faith while “cherry picking” which ones to follow.
The study concludes with an assessment which could be used as a definition of mockery: “any hypocrite who claims to possess moral beliefs and does the easy things instead of the hard things to avoid costs associated with those beliefs.”
Since we have been focusing on Kentucky’s sad, backwards legislative session, we must not forget the “godfather” of state and national political mockery and hypocrisy.
Steve Benen, author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics,” examines the hypocrisy and mockery of Mitch McConnell and the Republican party.
“Mitch McConnell has tried to make the case that the problem with Democrat’s approach to the judiciary is they see the justices as super-legislators. … If Democrats can’t get what they want through Congress’ legislative process, they pursue those same goals by trying to persuade likeminded Supreme Court justices,” notes Benen.
What’s amazing is the degree to which McConnell has this backwards.
- McConnell-led Congressional Republicans said they wanted to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. When they failed to convince Congress, GOP lawmakers tried to cross the street — three times — to get five justices to roam through policy questions and give Republicans what they wanted.
- McConnell-led Congressional Republicans also wanted to gut the Voting Rights Act. When they failed to convince Congress, GOP lawmakers persuaded five justices to give Republicans what they wanted, and the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Court. In many “red” states we are now reaping what has been sown – minority communities targeted to inhibit/prohibit voting.
- McConnell-led Congressional Republicans also wanted to undo the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (the (McCain–Feingold law). When they failed to convince Congress, GOP lawmakers persuaded five justices to give Republicans what they wanted in the Citizens United case.
In other words, McConnell is accusing Democrats of doing exactly what he and Republicans have repeatedly done – the definition of hypocrisy.
Some additional examples:
- In late 2018, McConnell urged Democrats to remember the virtues of bipartisanship after refusing to consider bipartisan policymaking when he was Senate Majority leader.
- A year later, McConnell warned about the dangers of politicizing election security after having refused to address election security.
- The year after that, he mocked the U.S. House’s work schedule while overseeing a Senate that wasn’t doing any work.
- The year after that, McConnell lectured Democrats on the importance of institutional “norms,” despite taking a sledgehammer to Senate norms over the course of several years.
- Then there’s the hypocrisy of McConnell discussing the Supreme Court. We’re talking about a Republican who emphasizes the importance of “judicial independence,” despite doing more than anyone alive to politicize the judiciary.
Benen continues, “If there were a ‘Hall of Fame for Hypocrisy,’ Mitch McConnell would be a first-ballot inductee.”
McConnell has even given lectures on his interest in the “integrity” of the Supreme Court, apparently indifferent to his own record proving otherwise. (See Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett’s nominations.)
“Now he’s accusing Democrats of looking to the justices as policymaking allies. If McConnell doesn’t want to be laughed out of the Senate, he should make fewer ridiculous arguments,” concludes Benen.
Mitch McConnell is a farcical, deceptive politician who not only is a sham representative to the US Senate, but also for every Kentuckian whom he allegedly represents.
And by using Mitch McConnell’s template, Kentucky’s Republican super-majority has just completed a legislative session rife with hypocrisy and mockery of its citizenry.
They learned well from the master himself.
Written by John James Alexander, a pseudonym for a long-time Kentucky educator.