Clearing Up the Concept of Hypocrisy for Our Liberal Brethren

 

Is it hypocritical for a student benefiting from government loans and grants to criticize the distorting effects that those monies have on tuition?  Is it hypocritical for an elderly retiree collecting social security checks to express that the system is unsustainable and will saddle future generations with more debt than they can bear? Is it hypocritical for a beneficiary of affirmative action policies to point out that those policies are in fact detrimental to society?

The answer, if you’re a liberal hell-bent on impugning the integrity of opponents of big government, is an enthusiastic yes.

NBC reporter Michael Isikoff uses this exact illogic to smear Michele Bachmann as a hypocrite in his recent article.  Michele’s husband Marcus, who runs a mental health clinic, received $137,000 in Medicaid payments over the last six years for treating low-income patients.  Ergo, Michele is a hypocrite to call for cuts to the Medicaid program.

Tim Carney, writing at the Washington Examiner, takes this flawed reasoning to task:

When liberals advocate policies supposedly contrary to their own economic interests, it’s heralded as selflessness. Warren Buffett and Barack Obama want a higher tax rate? How public-spirited! Michele Bachmann thinks her husband is too subsidized? Hypocrite!

…It’s ridiculous to say no one can criticize an unfair advantage he’s received. Are white males who have benefited from societal racism and sexism permanently barred from fighting for equality?

…But the bottom line is still this: If Bachmann is opposing subsidies she receives, doesn’t that indicate a principled stance, rather than hypocrisy? The true hypocrisy would be if she opposed all subsidies except farm subsidies and training grants for health clinics.

If liberals need a few examples of bona fide hypocrisy to clear up the concept, they need look no further than the words and deeds of President Obama, a man who criticized the debt incurred by his predecessor while himself ramping up the debt to levels never before seen; a man who actively fights against school choice, but sends his own daughters to private school; a man who tells Americans that they need to tighten their belts, but who whisks his family off on lavish vacations.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque

    Liberals calling for higher taxes to achieve social justice are equally able to pay higher tax rates voluntarily as Conservatives decrying subsidies are to refuse the subsidies. Actually, the Liberals are more able to volunteer to live up to their ideals because paying the taxes doesn’t put them at a competitive disadvantage, whereas a Conservative refusing subsidies may end up forced out of business due to subsidized competition.

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  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BlueAnt

    Let’s imagine the NBC headline in an alternate world where the Bachmann family adopts the typically liberal fear of hypocrisy:

    “Bachmann’s Husband Refuses to Treat Medicaid Patients, Caters to Rich Patients”

    I somehow doubt there is anything Bachmann could do in her family life that would prevent the left from tossing irrelevant personal attacks at her.

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  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ctruppi

    I don’t even see the comparison between the student/retiree examples and Dr. Bachmann. In the 1st cases, these are indeed receiving entitlement benefits and can be argued that they would be hypocritical for both receiving these and criticizing the programs at the same time.

    Dr. Bachmann, on the other hand, received payments for services rendered under a gov’t contract. Definitely not an entitlement/handout and he probably even received less money for these services than had the patients used private insurance. You can criticize the system as inefficient and claim that there is a better way to pay for medical services while still caring for patients under the current system.

    What the heck do they expect him to do? Work for free? Refuse to see medicare patients?

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  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis
    ctruppi: I don’t even see the comparison between the student/retiree examples and Dr. Bachmann. In the 1st cases, these are indeed receiving entitlement benefits and can be argued that they would be hypocritical for both receiving these and criticizing the programs at the same time.

    Dr. Bachmann, on the other hand, received payments for services rendered under a gov’t contract. Definitely not an entitlement/handout and he probably even received less money for these services than had the patients used private insurance. You can criticize the system as inefficient and claim that there is a better way to pay for medical services while still caring for patients under the current system.

    What the heck do they expect him to do? Work for free? Refuse to see medicare patients? · Jun 30 at 10:56am

    Yes, you’re right that the analogies I provided really don’t do Dr. Bachmann’s situation justice. The liberal columnist calling the Bachmann’s integrity into question, I suppose sees getting ripped off by the government with a fraction of payment that the service normally costs as a great benefit.

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  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ctruppi
    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    Yes, you’re right that the analogies I provided really don’t do Dr. Bachmann’s situation justice. The liberal columnist calling the Bachmann’s integrity into question, I suppose sees getting ripped off by the government with a fraction of payment that the service normally costs as a great benefit. · Jun 30 at 11:01am

    I’m not picking on the analogies, as much as pointing out that the criticism on the left has indeed treated Dr. Bacmann’s “acceptance” of these payments as a form of welfare. In the left’s mind, receiving a welfare check or student aid is the same as a Dr billing medicare for services rendered. This circular reasoning merely points out the warped thinking of the left where all money belongs to the gov’t and anyone who gets any of it is lumped in the same category.

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  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AlexMetcalf

    Keep running these stories of supposed hypocrisy. The more the media runs stories like “Did Michele Bachmann really raise 23 foster children?” and “Bachmann’s husband receives Medicaid payments to provide mental health care to low income patients,” the more voters will be reminded that she is a courageous (or at least a determined and plucky) foster parent and that her husband provides mental health services to low income people. Its tough to peg them as not being compassionate when you keep on pointing out how much compassion they have been.

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  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @SeverelyLtd
    Diane Ellis, Ed.: If liberals need a few examples of bona fide hypocrisy to clear up the concept, they need look no further than the words and deeds of President Obama, a man who criticized the debt incurred by his predecessor while himself ramping up the debt to levels never before seen; a man who actively fights against school choice, but sends his own daughters to private school; a man who tells Americans that they need to tighten their belts, but who whisks his family off on lavish vacations. ·

    I seem to recall reading a few years ago that the Obama’s charitable contributions were negligible. Or am I thinking of Gore? Clinton? Could be all of them I suppose, though Clinton would be savvy enough to do it just to avoid the political embarrassment. Always thinking, that guy, always thinking.

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