Guest Editorial: Craig Cantoni
An epidemic of hypocrisy, double standards, and hubris in Washington?
By Craig Cantoni | April 22, 2009
Hypocrisy, double standards, and hubris have existed in politics ever since humans invented hierarchies and allowed sub-humans like Barney Frank to rule over them. As far back as 413 B.C., Euripides wrote, “Often a noble face hides filthy ways.”
Well, there is nothing noble about the face of Frank or the faces of Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, and Obama. Nor was there anything noble about the faces of Bush, Cheney, and Hastert.
Maybe that’s why the filthy ways of politicians are so apparent today and why it seems as if we’re having an epidemic of hypocrisy, double standards, and hubris in Washington. Or maybe it’s due to the alternative media shining a light into the dark recesses of Washington and watching the cockroaches scurry hither and fro.
Examples of filthy ways abound today, and I’ll cite some of them momentarily. First, though, let’s go back in time and look at a president whose filthy ways were hidden by a noble face and aristocratic manners. Let’s look at the aristocrat with the cigarette holder, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In watching old newsreels of his speeches and listening to old recordings of his fireside chats, I can’t understand what people saw in him. To me, his voice is just as grating as Barney Frank’s, but in a different way. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Or perhaps it’s because historians are finally beginning to shine a light on his hypocrisy, double standards, and hubris – something that wasn’t done much during his reign. Below are three examples of many:
1. To hide his infirmity when he visited Manhattan, the man of the common man had a secret railroad tunnel reconstructed, and a special rail car and elevator built, at great expense, to transport him and his limousine from Grand Central to the Waldorf Astoria. There were probably bread lines on the streets above the tunnel.
2. With his sanction, henchmen in his administration looked through the tax records of his opponents and leaked damaging information to the press. At the same time, he was cavalier about paying his own taxes. As recounted in the excellent history of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, FDR sent a partial tax payment to tax Commissioner Guy Helvering, along with this note: “As this is a problem of higher mathematics, may I ask that the Bureau let me know the balance due? The payment of $15,000 doubtless represents a good deal more than half of what the eventual tax will be.”
3. Photographer Dorothea Lange took thousands of photographs of the Japanese-American internment camps for the Orwellian-named War Relocation Authority. She was appalled by what she saw but was silenced when the FDR administration had her photos impounded.
Can you imagine the uproar if George W. Bush had done similar things?
Let’s switch to the current administration and current Congress. Here are five examples of many of their brazen hypocrisy, double standards, and hubris:
1. After the profitable Northern Trust Bank reluctantly agreed to help the government by participating in the administration’s bank bailout program, it was lambasted by Barney Frank and other Democrats for having the band Earth, Wind and Fire perform at a client event. The congressional cockroaches demanded that the bank return the money to taxpayers.
The band later played for President Obama at a White House function. Frank et al. didn’t demand that Obama return the money to taxpayers.
2. Frank and Obama ranted about the retention bonuses at AIG but said nothing about Obama’s special envoy Richard Holbrook, who was on the AIG board for eight years, including when the infamous retention bonuses were approved. During his time on the board, he made approximately $800,000 in cash and stock. Why was Holbrook on the board? Well, not because he is a financial or insurance expert. He was on the board because of his political connections from having been Bill Clinton’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Is he going to be asked to testify in Congress?
3. Political connections also explain why Michelle Obama was paid $300,000 for an $80,000 public relations job at a Chicago hospital. Of course, she and her husband care about the common people and want to do something about the high cost of health care.
4. Nothing explains Christopher Dodd, other than likely possibility that the citizens of Connecticut have a collective IQ of 95. Here’s a cockroach that was in bed with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that got a special deal on his mortgage from Countrywide, that protected the retention bonuses at AIG with an amendment to a bill, and that, along with Obama, has received huge campaign contributions from AIG. So what does the roach do? He gets on TV, waves his antennas, and rants about AIG. Someone please call the Orkin man.
5. Then there is Timothy Geitner, the guy who heads the Treasury and the IRS, a guy who is supposed to be a money expert and save the economy – and a guy who didn’t pay a big chunk of his taxes, claiming that it was an innocent oversight. Yet we’re supposed to trust him with trillions of dollars. Oh, let’s not forget that he approved the AIG bonuses.
Are politicians filthier today than yesteryear? I don’t know, but I do know that if the cockroaches aren’t sprayed with the bug killer of voter outrage to die on their backs with their legs waving in the air, Washington will soon be overrun with them.