Political Hypocrites and Other Silliness

For many, many years now, some readers have complained I must be a “heartless conservative” …while some other readers have complained I must be a “bleeding heart liberal.” And here we are again, with one side whining that I hurt their widdle biddy feewings because I didn’t give their side a pass: I let some of their party officials speak for themselves by (gasp!) quoting them.

The gall!

The sad part is, it even happens with long-term Premium (paying) subscribers.

Really, would you want me to shy away from forehead-slapping obliviousy just because the obliviot was a politician?

Hell No!

Political Hypocrites and Other SillinessAnd honest, thoughtful people in the obliviot’s party laugh, even if a bit uncomfortably, just like they laugh at the other side of their political philosophy when they do something stupid. That’s honest!

Yet some refuse to be honest. They laugh at the other side and are absolutely outraged when we all laugh at their side.

Get to the Stories, Randy!

This time, it happened to be Republicans providing the fodder; in the past Democrats have had their turns (going way, way back!) So, what set readers off this time? Three stories, all told in a row, written by me (“RC” in the source block) and Alexander Cohen (“AC”) in the 4 October 2020 issue.

The funny thing is, none of these stories were planned to be in the free edition, so by the hypocritical readers’ complaints they’re now getting much wider circulation!

Please be seated and make sure your safety belt is securely fastened:

Definition of Character

Republicans are “shaken” by President Donald Trump’s diagnosis of Covid-19 last week, especially with other prominent party members also falling to the disease after a White House event. Those include Senators Thom Tillis (N.C.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Ron Johnson (Wisc.), as well as former Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.), Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel, and former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. “There was a panic before this started,” admitted Edward Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Super PAC Great America, “but now we’re sort of the stupid party.” Republican strategist Michael Steel agreed. “The president and the people around him flouted the rules,” he said. “He has been reckless, and voters dealing with the health and economic effects on them and their families won’t look on that kindly.” (RC/Washington Post) …Maybe, but elections mostly rest on the shoulders of stupid voters.

and

A Matter of Record

“Phil Robinson can’t manage his own finances,” claimed a political ad with a picture of Phil Robinson, a Democratic state representative from Solon, Ohio. “Can we trust him with ours?” The ad linked to a site showing that in 1999, someone sued Phil Robinson, claiming he owed money. Teensy little problem: the defendant was some other Phil Robinson, not the political candidate. Candidate Robinson and his Republican opponent — who said the first he heard of the party-run ad was in a phone call wherein someone apologized to him for it — both thought the old lawsuit would have been an inappropriate thing to attack Robinson on even if it had involved him. The ad and the website it linked to have been taken down. (AC/Cleveland Plain Dealer) …The Ohio Republican Party can’t manage its own attack ads. Can we trust them with the General Assembly?

and

War Hero

Political Hypocrites and Other SillinessMJ Hegar is running as a Democrat, trying to unseat John Cornyn, the Republican U.S. Senator from Texas. Cornyn has to “use imagery” in attack ads against her “because they can’t use my policy positions, because they know that my policy positions aren’t radical and extremist.” The ad she references, which dubs her “hard left Hegar,” shows her tattoos. They’re “using a photo of my tattoos to make me seem ‘radical’,” she said in a Twitter post, showing her tats clearly. “That’s pretty funny to me. You think I’m ashamed of them? They cover my shrapnel wounds from when my helicopter was shot down. They’re a mark of my service to our country. I’m damn proud of them.” Hegar served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years, including three tours in Afghanistan as a Combat Search and Rescue pilot. After flying more than 100 missions she was shot down. When another helicopter came to rescue her it was full, so she stood on the chopper’s skids during the evacuation despite her wounds. She was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (with Valor). (RC/KENS San Antonio) …Maybe if Cornyn had served in the military, he’d know how to do an effective attack.

“Unsubscribe Me!”

Within hours, two Premium subscribers quit in protest. Tom in New Jersey, who has been a reader for over a dozen years and pre-paid into next year, said simply, “I no longer want to receive any more issues,” and didn’t reply when I asked him why. But I knew: after writing such stories for 26-1/2 years now, I expected some complaints, and that’s an important point: I published them even knowing some readers would be unhappy about it.

Kyle in Kansas, a long-time reader who is pre-paid to next summer, was more forthcoming: “I’ve always enjoyed True because it’s a break from partisan politics. It seems to me that’s no longer the case. The tag line on the first (of two!) WaPo articles basically called anybody voting for Trump stupid. That is, of course, your prerogative but I don’t want to participate.”

I didn’t say Trump voters were “stupid,” I said stupid voters “mostly” decide elections — all elections. My tagline was to point out that politicians don’t elect themselves, we elect them, and some large percentage of the time we stupidly elect the wrong person, no matter what their (or our!) party. That’s not even close to being partisan.

As Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821), a Savoyard lawyer, diplomat, writer, and philosopher, observed, Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. (“Every nation gets the government it deserves.”) — we, the voters, allow politicians to run rampant, violating their oaths of office and the Constitution, and we let both parties do it to us: we stupidly elect them again! I thought it was perfectly clear that’s who my comment was directed to: us!

And there is nothing at all new or one-sided about this: I’ve certainly called out Democrats the same way.

“Oh Yeah? Like When?”

Glad you asked. Like this, from December:

Best Seller

Baltimore, Md., Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, 69, enjoyed a long career in politics before resigning earlier this year in a scandal. As a state senator, Pugh pushed organizations to buy large quantities of her self-published books for children — allegedly in exchange for state or city contracts, or other favors, and used the resulting money to fund her campaigns and buy a house. A Democrat, Pugh is now facing federal charges of fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion, and more. Prosecutors say she sold around 100,000 books in one transaction alone, but only around 63,000 copies of her books have ever been printed; after selling them, she would simply sell them again and again, since the buyers didn’t actually want them. Her longtime aide has already pleaded guilty to similar charges. Pugh ran her mayoral campaign on the theme that she had “more integrity” than her main opponent, Sheila Dixon. (RC/Washington Post) …Well that’s an awfully low bar.

For the 99 percent of readers who don’t know, the Sheila Dixon who set the “awfully low bar” is a former mayor of Baltimore (and, yes, also a Democrat). She was indicted in 2009 on 12 felony and misdemeanor counts, including perjury, theft, and misconduct. The theft: she allegedly took gift cards intended for poor Baltimoreans for herself. In a 2010 plea bargain, she was convicted of one misdemeanor count of embezzlement over the gift cards, and (as part of the bargain) was forced to not only resign as mayor, but agreed not to run for any office in Maryland while on probation. Yet she was allowed to keep her $83,000/year pension, served no prison time, and will have no criminal record if she stayed straight during her probation, which apparently she did; her probation ended in 2014, and she ran for mayor again in 2016, but lost in the primary to Pugh.

As for Pugh, earlier this year she was sentenced to three years in prison, three years of probation, and the forfeiture of around $670,000, including her home and the remaining balance of her reelection campaign account. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow also ordered Pugh to pay $412,000 in restitution, and ordered that all copies of Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books in government custody to be destroyed. Pugh finally reported to federal prison on June 26, 2020.

How many Democrats whined when I ran that story last December? Not one.

Will You Step Up?

Of course the point (as always!) is that True doesn’t target politicians (or cops, or military members, or Uber drivers, or…). The stories are about the actions of anyone who does things stupid enough to get into the news — including politicians regardless of party. That’s what “nonpartisan” means: True doesn’t take sides.

So if you honestly think I’m not going to hold up some examples malfeasance or stupidity because the miscreant happens to be a Republican — or a Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or Independent — you’re not thinking very hard.

I truly don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, or none of the above: I care if you think and, when it comes to politics, I care that you demand that the people you elect hold themselves up to what they say they stand for, like integrity, hard work, and improving our broken systems — things that have been damaged by their colleagues who have succumbed to the trappings of power and ill-gotten wealth, which is almost all of them.

That’s apparently not the sort of readers who quit this week, who appear to be “party over country.” So if you’re not already a Premium This is True reader — subscription fees cover nearly 90 percent of True’s budget — will you consider replacing those faithless former readers with your upgrade? You’ll not only be sent all of the stories every week, but Premium comes sooner, has the full text of the Honorary Unsubscribe, early (or exclusive) access to specials, book discounts, and more.

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Political Hypocrites and Other Silliness
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28 Comments on “Political Hypocrites and Other Silliness

  1. I want to vote for Hegar now. Too bad I’m in the wrong state.

    I had never heard of her. I really hope she makes it after reading that story.

    Reply
    • Ben — I watched her debate her opponent, a 20+ year career politician, and was stunned at how she mopped the floor with him. Even though you aren’t a Texan, you would probably enjoy watching the debate. It’s got to be on YouTube somewhere.

      The full Hegar/Cornyn debate is indeed on Youtube — as of yesterday. In the first day it’s had more than 11,000 views. -rc

      Reply
  2. Well said Randy!

    Knowing you’re a Trump voter, I appreciate the thumbs up. I had fun with it, and hoped it would appeal to both sides. -rc

    Reply
  3. The funny thing is that while I’ve read your work for years I don’t have a strong feeling as to what your political views are. I’ve seen you poke fun at idiots of both parties and all types over the years and you’ve done a great job at not slanting it either way. And for a journalist that’s a job well done. The only hint that I can think of is your work on zero tolerance as that seems to be more the baby of one group. But even there, there are some in that party who don’t support ZT.

    Interesting point. I don’t think ZT is really a political issue (any more than the average issue in the public sphere), but there is a common perception that school administrators tend to be left of center, though I have never seen any statistics to back that up. -rc

    Reply
  4. I’m a longtime subscriber to your newsletter (more than twenty years by my reckoning — first the free and now the premium editions). No story has ever made me want to stop my subscription. Some stories do make me cringe — not from a partisan stance, but as a citizen. I am appalled by the insouciance displayed by our public servants in their execution of malfeasance. Recently, I have found myself voting AGAINST a politician rather than FOR a candidate (and that’s a pity). We hear all of them say that “business as usual has to stop” and yet once in positions of power, the business goes on. Of course, there are also non-political stories that also make me cringe.

    I personally have not seen any overt bias on your part when dealing with stories of a political bent. From what I’ve seen you treat all obliviots equally. As far as I can tell, you don’t differentiate between religious, political, racial, or gender — you are an equal opportunity lambasteer. My viewpoint is that knee-jerk reactions just illustrate how easily one can fall into a complacent attitude. Your newsletter, if viewed properly, is designed to unbalance the complacency. All I can say is thanks and keep it up!

    Reply
  5. I tend to think of myself as a pragmatic libertarian (little “l”) which just means I get to disagree with LOTS of people, but this item has recalled to me that labels are often separators and rarely encompass a person’s actual belief set.

    Thanks for continuing to promote THINKING!

    Reply
  6. Stupid comes in bursts for each side and it always evens out in the long run. The other side’s turn is always just around the corner.

    Reply
    • For me, burst implies a short burn or stint. Unfortunately, the stupidity stints seem to be longer and longer in duration and the respites fewer and further between. I am afraid that “bursts” is no longer apropos to describe the stupidity we see.

      Nonetheless, the stupidity is not picky, every side gets their day in the spotlight to show off their “talent”.

      Reply
  7. Thankfully, you treat ALL obliviots equally & don’t discriminate based on religion, political stance/affiliation, race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else that society has found to differentiate between people — you truly are an equal opportunity lambaster; and that’s exactly what we want & need you to be! There are PLENTY of biased newsletters & social media groups around, but there are FAR too few like True. We desperately need what you do, even if we don’t always realize it or are willing to admit it. You encourage critical thinking, and far too few people are willing to do that these days. Keep up the great work! As for me, (as I’ve said before) you can have my subscription (Premium for >20 years) when you can pry it from my cold, dead hands (and even then — good luck!)

    Reply
  8. I’ve sometimes said that a good journalist is one whose political views can’t be determined by reading their articles. By that definition, there are a shockingly low number of good journalists left in the US compared to when I graduated from high school 15 years ago. You are one of them. I’ve been a Premium subscriber for over 10 years now, and $4/month is a low price to pay for the high-quality curated content you and your contributing authors produce. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  9. Kept looking for the “like” button for these comments. As a conservative voter who doesn’t feel tied to a particular party, I saw nothing wrong with any of those 3 posts. I did cringe when I read them, but only because of the obliviocy displayed.

    Reply
  10. I understand why people occasionally leave groups which they’ve associated with in the past. I’ve done it myself, from time to time, as my values evolve, and my life and hobbies change. What I don’t understand is why some folks feel the need to explain their decisions, oft times, with hilarious rants.

    If I ever lose the ability to think, and appreciate those who share that skill, I hope I will retain enough gray matter to simply fade away, drama free.

    Until then, as a Centrist, I shall continue to delight in your pointed targeting of the ridiculous, so prevalent in our political system.

    Thank you, Randy!

    Reply
  11. I’m grateful for This Is True, which is helping me to not only navigate the political middle of the road, but to recognize that few of us navigate this life perfectly….

    I absolutely can’t do it without the support of readers: multiple servers, writers, and more add up quickly. -rc

    Reply
  12. While I have a strong idea of where your personal political persuasions lie, I very much appreciate that you call out obliviots everywhere. You never let any obliviot slide. That is a definition of journalism. You keep it up!

    Reply
  13. Did you flip Hegar’s picture from the political ad? My first reaction, before I read farther down, was that the obliviotism consisted of not knowing left from right. In the pic shown, her strong RIGHT arm seems to be on display.

    I had to ask, since no one else has … yet.

    No, I sure didn’t (and wouldn’t) do that. It was direct from her Twitter post, and I doubt she would flip it either. The photo seems fully consistent with photos in articles about her, such as in the Houston Chronicle, The Texan, the Dallas Morning News, and in a much older article in the Texas Tribune. -rc

    Reply
    • At first read, I took “hard left” to mean her politics are left = liberal because, of course, only liberals would get tattoos like that. It made the whole idea of attacking her for the tattoo that much more inane because I am pretty sure there are plenty of tattoos on conservative arms.

      According to Statista, more than a quarter of Americans have at least one tattoo, including me. -rc

      Reply
        • Reading Randy’s nugget, I feel compelled … By Mr. Cornyn’s myopic assessment, a full quarter of us are “hard left”.

          I am a fiscally conservative, socially liberal, non-affiliated libertarian (no L, just an l) leaning, politically independent voter. Yes, those self-identified boxes often contradict one another. And, while I look similar to Mr. Cornyn, I am an ethnic mongrel who has a tattoo.

          I wonder how Mr. Cornyn and his ilk would classify me.

          I believe that most everyone self-identifies in multiple boxes. The politics of division that “force” everyone into a single box has killed many societies/cultures and will kill America too if we don’t put an end to it.

          Reply
  14. I am with you all the way in this blog except for one thing. “Tom in New Jersey … didn’t reply when I asked him why. But I knew”. I’m always suspicious of any debate in which one side claims to know what the others motives are without any tangible evidence.

    Totally understandable, and smart to call it out. I’ll just say that after 27-1/2 years of doing this, I’m pretty confident in my assessment. -rc

    Reply
  15. I find it really interesting when people will unsubscribe from the newsletter for some story or other you feature. I can’t remember exactly when I first subscribed to This is True and I have probably read some stories that made me cringe or question, although I can’t think of any right now. Seems to me that if I was going to unsubscribe because of content I would have to find a continuing theme or topic that kept cropping up that pissed me off on a somewhat regular basis. I haven’t found this so I’ll continue to subscribe and read. Keep up the interesting and good work.

    Reply
  16. I lean somewhat to the left of Bernie Sanders and have two close friends who are on the local DJT re-election committee. Fortunately for us, we all agree with Mr. Gump’s mother; “Stupid is as stupid does.” “Stupid,” like a virus, equally infects all who choose obliviocy over critical thinking and has no predilection for a particular political dogma.

    I’ve been a subscriber for years and have yet to see a bias in these vignettes. And, I’ve laughed, or cringed, and occasionally applauded. Keep up the outstanding work!

    Reply
  17. Thank you for continuing to share your cogent thoughts with some of us plebians! I have listened to rants from various people over the years about a variety of of politicians. I simply ask “who elected them?” We did. As in “us.” That means that in the rules that we currently have “we” can choose someone else if we are so inclined. It might take more work than just voting, but there are numerous options available to all of us.

    I saw one poster comment on his years of reading “True.” I am going to claim my good fortune of meeting you in 1987 — before True! I also gave out some more GOOHF cards last Saturday. Trying to share the brilliance that you make available as best as I can.

    Thanks much, George — and I do remember meeting you! If I’m not mistaken, you were one of the people sitting around the table described in the meeting described here. Glad the Internet makes it easy to still be in touch after all these years! -rc

    Reply
  18. I’ve lived in Maryland my entire life. Although I don’t live in Baltimore City, I think the entire state was tarred with the same brush when Pugh and Dixon pulled their respective dumb stunts. Honestly, they are both disgraces and I was not the least bit offended when you called them out. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  19. I live in the UK. To be more specific, I live in England (and this is relevant to what I am about to say, because the situation I describe is unique to England — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a somewhat different situation). In England, we basically have a bipartisan political system — Labour (left wing) vs Conservative (right wing) with lesser parties such as the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, UKIP (the UK Independance Party, a single-issue party whose sole concern, now in progress, is to get the UK out of the EU). Where I live, you could put a blue rosette (Conservative) on a turnip and it would get elected. There are other places where you could pin a red rosette (Labour) on a tub of lard and it would win. I count myself fortunate that our bi-partinsanry is (as far as I have seen) less extreme than some of the anecdotes about the US where (if the Internet is to be believed) family members have been disowned for marrying someone wearing the wrong rosette. Here in the UK we had two Members of Parliament, married to each other, one in each of the two main parties.

    I have seen objectively stupid things done by both sides of the divide in the UK. I have seen immoral things done by both sides. I even remember a time when the leader of one party (the party not in control of the Government) said to his colleagues “Vote against every motion the other party put forward, even if the motion is in line with our manifesto and beliefs”.

    Reply
    • I would say that it is good to know that we Americans are not the only ones in this boat, but sadly, no one should be in the boat.

      There are many American families and friendships that have ended over politics. Currently, my daughter is questioning the intelligence of her in-laws because of who they are supporting for our presidency. I hope there is mending to be done there.

      We do have an example of the two sides meeting in a relationship. James Carville and Mary Matalin are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Both have served as presidential advisors and campaign strategists; he for the Democrats and she for the Republicans. Yet, they have been married for 27 years and by all accounts happily so. Would that all of us were better at realizing that politics do not make the person.

      And, good luck when your turnip and tub of lard are elected to Parliament. 🙂 We have plenty of both in our Congress.

      Reply

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