Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The New Pharisees

As Newt Gingrich said about himself, it's exhausting work bullying Americans into being better people. He got so involved in it, and loved his country so much, he had to take a mistress. It's a novel defense.

What was the work he was so involved in that he didn't have time for his marriage? Investigating the infidelities of others, notably Bill Clinton. The Savanarolas-in-chief who tried to hound Clinton from office, Gingrich and his sidemen Livingston and Hyde, had their own women on the side. Gingrich's solution was open marriage. It's a bit like a bad country western song, which may be why it obsesses and appeals to the people inhabiting the geographic belt associated with that kind of music and the Bible. God forgives the sinner as long as he or she is busy informing on others. It's all very Republican. Republicans give people medals for this.

It's an old story and there's a long list, this GOP and SuperChristian roll call of misbehaviorists. Gay bashers who are gay in private. Puritans and God-botherers who peek in other people's windows but keep their own blinds drawn. There are also a lot of warmongers who refuse to serve in combat.

Liberalism never had this much appetite for sleaze, nor did it engage in hunting it down. A dirty mind needs an obsession, and what better than scolding and attacking others for the misbehavior you engage in yourself. When outed, attack. When accused, smear the accuser. When you are defending marriage, keep the loosest interpretation for your own convenience. And keep that righteous posture no matter what. The glass houses/stones rule doesn't apply to you. Jon Stewart does the best job of dissecting the strangeness. But is laughing at hypocrites enough?

It'd be funny if it wasn't so poisonous. And we'd be able to get rid of these creeps if they weren't so arrogant and their constituents weren't so easily manipulated. The crowd loved it when Gingrich scolded the moderator for sullying a debate by asking about Gingrich's disgraceful behavior. Is hypocrisy also the sort of thing to be confined to whispers in quiet rooms with doors locked? Add Republican cheers for adultery to the cheers for greed, selfishness, wrongful execution, torture, death to the uninsured, voter suppression and other new Republican ideals.

What creeps me out the most, I think, is how this hypocrisy and turpitude seems to be creeping northward, even into the land of the strong and above average. After two terms of Pawlenty our average has sagged noticeably. The creeps are uniformly right wing, religious and very Republican. When Minnesota Republicans learn to do hypocrisy really big they graduate to the big leagues. It's embarrassing to those who know how rational and decent Minnesotans are by and large. Most of us don't think sanctimonious Christian heterosexual adulterers are superior to gays and lesbians who are faithful partners and good parents.

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