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Paul Krugman, NY Times explores attitudes about hypocrisy and politicians:

… here’s an item that caught my eye, given what I wrote about hypocrisy yesterday:

Deadbeat Rep. Joe Walsh, Who Owes $100k In Child Support, Receives ‘Pro-Family’ Award From Family Research Council.

Now that’s real hypocrisy — and if the past is any indication, it won’t matter at all for Rep. Walsh’s career.

There’s a big difference between the left and the right in such matters, one that I don’t fully understand, although I’m trying. Here’s how it goes: if a liberal politician is caught behaving badly — enriching himself while preaching the need to help the poor, or just in general showing himself less than admirable by having an affair, visiting call girls, whatever — his career is over.

But if a conservative politician who preaches stern traditional morality is caught engaging in actions that are at odds with what he preaches — buying sex, taking wide stances in restrooms, or, in this case, stiffing his family even while preaching family values — he may well ride right through the scandal. Witness what’s going on now with Herman Cain.

How can this be?


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I think it’s because the Right is so formed by “Salvation Through Faith Alone” (even among *Roman Catholics* on the Right!).

In this view, it isn’t as important what you DO, than what you BELIEVE. Have the correct “Four Spiritual Laws” or “Biblically-Based Worldview” or “Conformity to the Magisterium” and, at the very least, you get the benefit of ENORMOUS doubt [Including doubt that such offenses as “sexual harrassment” or “failure to pay judicated child support” really exist?]

Moreover, the Right-believing are accorded a HUGE space for repentance and restoration (whereas of course, the Left-believing—Left Behind?—remain sinners no matter how much time/good-works have passed).

I think that’s how “this can be”. OCICBW.

JC Fisher

Andrew Downs

Interesting post, isn’t it? I wonder if it has less to do with what is professed as it is the motivation behind it. The observable hypocrisy is perhaps this: The Right’s willingness, not to forgive (never forgive) but raise the purity of argument aloft for all to see, while the Left is more interested in what happens to the argument itself. Liberals seem more willing to see tarnish on ideology while conservatives seem eager to dust it off and say “good as new”.

I might also throw out a suggestion I read somewhere that made some sense. For “culture war” conservatives, there may be a political boost to a man being perceived as a philanderer or sexual harasser. The willingness to forgive the transgression may simply be that for some conservatives, the inappropriate behavior wasn’t inappropriate, so there is not transgression to forgive.

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