It’s popular in the world of cynicism and discontent to conclude that the hypocrisy of all politicians is equally bad. But it’s not. Our hypocrisy not like theirs.
This is the first of a three part series. One of the things the series will be emphasizing is the notion of “false equivalence,” a notion articulated very well in Thomas Mass and Norman Orenstein’s It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism. The notion is that not everything on opposite sides of the political aisles is equivalent; in some cases, one side of the aisle really has moved to a much more radical degree, and in recent times it’s the Republicans, who’ve moved much further to the right while Democrats have essentially stayed centrist. Our little three-part series will be looking at three of the ways that this has manifested itself, and that there currently is a false equivalence between the parties.
Refusal to Cooperate
Back in 2010 Mitch McConnell said that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” This was during the run-up to the first set of mid-term elections, and it validated something that was obviously to most observers already, which is that the Republicans really had no interest in cooperating with Obama in any way.
In his last State of the Union speech, Obama publicly stated his regret that he was not able to bridge the partisan divide during his presidency:
Obama is taking too much of that on himself. It’s clear that this Republican Congress never had any intention of cooperating with him in any way. Political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, who work for moderate left and right-leaning research institutes, say the stalemate in Congress is the Republicans’ fault. They published a book in April about unprecedented polarization in Congress called “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.”
The Affordable Care Act
I’ve already written extensively about the hypocrisy of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).
The hypocrisy is easy to explain: it was their idea.
Our idea, the Democratic idea was the Clinton/Dukakis approaches to health care. Their idea was the individual mandate, an idea which came straight out of the Heritage Foundation.
The reason that Republicans have struggled mightily to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act is that President Obama enacted their idea. Now they’re out of ideas. Tant Pis!
 Republicans have made a big issue of the fact that Mitch McConnell didn’t publicly proclaim his agenda for making Obama a one-term President until 2010 and not at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency in 2008. While it’s true that he didn’t go public with this agenda, it’s equally clear that the agenda had been in place long before McConnell went public with it.