Friday, March 9, 2007

Worse Than a Hypocrite

Newt Gingrich openly confessed to James Dobson that he had been engaged in an extra-marital affair during the Lewinsky scandal. But he did not confess to being a hypocrite:
“The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge. I drew a line in my mind that said, ‘Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials.”
On a very narrow point, I do agree with Newt. The President of the United States must be held to the rule of law. Despite the questionable nature of the underlying case, perjury and obstruction of justice, especially by a high ranking public official, undermines the basis of the legal system. Does this argument strike a familiar bell in the wake of the Libby verdict?

Bill Clinton did commit perjury before a grand jury and deserved his impeachment. The entire episode was a sorry and unfortunate spectacle, and amid all the moral finger-wagging of the Republicans, it exposed most of them as priggish and self-righteous - and for those who had their own dirty laundry hiding in the closet, as hypocrites. That does not change the fact that Bill should have first kept his dick in his pants and then told the truth under oath. Had he had more character and followed those two simple rules, we most certainly would have had a President Albert A. Gore and not a President George W. Bush.

But although Gingrich drove the Clinton impeachment, the driving force behind him and the Republican party was the Christian Right. It's one thing to preach and espouse your own deeply held morals and principles. It's quite another to espouse the principles of others that you do not hold so dear yourself or even practice in your personal life. That what makes Newt even worse than a hypocrite.

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