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Hypocrisy eclipses American history

Whether it’s just scratching the surface or drilling down to its deepest depths, there is but one word at the core of American politics: hypocrisy. It cares not for political party, is as contagious as the common cold and from the most powerful of the D.C. elite down to the local councilman, no one is immune.

While there is no cure, by suppressing one’s conscience and increasing the number of rationalizations used on any given day most sufferers adapt to their disease.

However, those with the most virulent strains (H-ego and H-party) are in constant danger of having their symptoms spin out of control during the absolute worst of times; national tragedies and deaths of political foes being the most common triggers. While scientists have traced the behavior in those infected to the brain’s inability to balance their desire for raw power against common decency, medical science has yet to develop a vaccine to suppress the public displays of disgust that accompany such an episodic attack.

To see just how ravaging the disease can be to what outwardly appears to be a human being we need look no further than the behavior this past week of Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama in the wake of the unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Now that these two men see a chance to remake the Supreme Court in their own left-wing image, the public is supposed to just forget that they were two of the most obstructionist members of the Senate during the Bush administration; even going so far as to filibuster the nomination of Samuel Alito in 2006.

And don’t even expect either of them to tell the facts behind their “Justice Kennedy was confirmed in the last year of Reagan’s presidency” meme.

Leaving out the personal evisceration of nominee Robert Bork by Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden in the summer of 1987 that set up Kennedy’s nomination months later is akin to saying “well, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima” while ignoring Pearl Harbor and the years of war that preceded it.

But, to be fair, on the other side is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The punch in the gut from the news of Justice Scalia’s death was still leaving its mark on me when McConnell starting blathering he wouldn’t even bring an Obama nominee to the floor. (If there is a more inept person Senate Republicans could have picked for their spokesman, I know of none.) While I agree completely that the American people should have a say via the November 2016 elections, I could not disagree more with McConnell’s arrogance. The president has every right, as stated in the Constitution, to nominate a Scalia replacement. And the Senate, as also stated in that document, has every right to decide the outcome of that nomination.

Caught in their own hypocrisy on Kennedy’s nomination, Democrats now are pushing the notion that Obama won an election and he’s entitled to replace Scalia.

Yet, on Oct. 5, 1987, their flagship of liberalism, The New York Times editorial board had this to say on the matter: “The president’s supporters insist vehemently that, having won the 1984 election, he has every right to try to change the Court’s direction.

Yes, but the Democrats won the 1986 election, regaining control of the Senate, and they have every right to resist.”

If President Obama wanted a truly historic legacy, his nominee would retain the balance of the court. But when the president’s own schedule in any given week shows that the two most likely questions on his mind are “what’s the weather and when’s my tee time?”

I sadly realize that history doesn’t have a chance against hypocrisy.

GEOFF CALDWELL lives in Joplin. Contact him at gc@caldwellscorner.com.

GEOFF CALDWELL

Columnist

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