4. He is unwilling to follow his own precepts
The modern history of the Republican Party is a study in hypocrisy. “Do as I say, not as I do” might as well be the GOP’s motto. Republican politicians rant and rave about accountability to the taxpayers while practicing profligacy as a matter of routine. They lament about a decline in morals and leave us to read the lurid details of their own affairs when they’re exposed. They excoriate Democrats for being insufficiently patriotic while undermining the pillars of our democracy. The situation grew steadily more dire over the years, and it took a giant leap for the worse when DT arrived on the scene.
The current president is chronically hypocritical. Indeed, one could fill an entire book with instances of that alone. For our purposes today, three examples should suffice.
First, let’s look at elections. One is currently in progress and the stakes are high, but let’s go back 12 years. When Mitt Romney failed to unseat President Obama in 2012, DT declared the Electoral College “a disaster for democracy.” While he may have been right about that, it’s unclear what his specific beef was: Romney not only failed to amass enough electoral votes to win but also received about five million fewer popular votes. In other words, if the Electoral College hadn’t existed and there had been direct voting in the race, Romney still would have lost the election. One can only assume that DT was upset that a Black man had been elected president for a second time. Fast-forward four years. DT declared the Electoral College “genius” [sic]. This was after that body had catapulted him to victory despite voters rejecting him by a margin of more than two million votes. Hypocritical enough for you? Of course, he went on to make the bizarre claim that he would have won the popular vote too, if not for massive voter fraud. Like so many claims he has made, that one had no basis in fact. Presumably, he was just jealous that he wasn’t as popular as Obama. In any case, by calling into question the validity of the vote, he began setting the stage for what we’re seeing now: the disruption of the 2020 election. After decrying what he alleged (with no evidence) was a flawed election, he has been working avidly to create an actually flawed one this year—small hands foisting big hypocrisy on the nation.
In the interval between his inauguration and today, DT has engaged in what may be his most significant hypocrisy of all: sowing distrust of the press. The phrase he has used incessantly is “fake news.” He repeats it like a broken record every time a journalist questions anything he says or does. The “mainstream media,” as they call it in the alternate reality of MAGA’s base, is basically any news source that employs experienced reporters and editors, practices fact-checking as a matter of course, and hews to established journalistic ethics. It’s ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and so on. In the deluded view of his supporters, these media outlets are nothing other than propaganda organs of the left. Their idea of a reliable source is something like Fox News or Breitbart which goes out of its way to push a conservative agenda. (It may be more accurate nowadays to say that they push a pro-DT agenda.) “I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources,” DT said. Yet he himself habitually makes up stories, repeating and retweeting unsourced allegations incessantly. Can there be anything more cynical than endlessly making shit up while calling verifiable facts “fake news?” It is hypocrisy of the first order, and it is part of his calculated bid to further his own interests no matter the consequences to the nation.
All that is pretty heavy, so let’s look at a hypocrisy that is unfortunate and annoying but has holds fewer implications for the continuation of American democracy. As we’ve discussed today and in earlier posts, DT has an unhealthy obsession with his predecessor. (If the Affordable Care Act had never gained the nickname Obamacare, one wonders whether he’d be as keen to abolish it.) Long before he took office, DT interspersed among his racist birther accusations a barrage of petty criticism against President Obama. He was particularly vehement on the topic of leisure time, objecting to the president taking publicly-financed vacations and playing golf instead of attending to his duties. “I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” he told his supporters at a campaign rally in 2016. Strangely enough, he had made made no objection to Bush the Younger’s vacations, which amounted to more than one-third of the 730 days that president was in office. Stranger still, he has wound up taking more days off—and playing way more golf—than Obama ever did. At last check, he had made 30 trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort, at a cost to taxpayers of over $59 million. A small portion of that cost involved the $650/night room rates he charged the Secret Service agents who were there to protect him.
A better way
All politicians, like all human beings, have flaws. Among a person’s potential flaws, hypocrisy is particularly lamentable because it is a form of dishonesty that indicates contempt for others. Nearly everyone does something hypocritical once in a while, but those who do it repeatedly or routinely are, thankfully, rare. Somehow, we elected one of those rarities to the highest office in the land in 2016, and he’s been subjecting us all to his hypocritical impertinences nonstop ever since. It’s time time for a change. A vote for Joe Biden is a vote against hypocrisy.