As a miscellany of GOP pols have moved from a jealous protection of religious liberties to a madcap imposition of theocratic fanaticism, the unrighteous burlesque of "cherry-picking" -- rarely heard from since the last Bush administration, which exalted it as the leading principle of unprincipled governance -- has staged a roaring comeback as contemporary conservatism's beau ideal of Tartuffian hypocrisy.
Plain, everyday, garden-variety political hypocrisy we often excuse, and often for good or at least acceptable reasons. Evolving circumstances and shifting alliances and that most fundamental of human drives -- self-survival -- tend to dictate a certain, how should I say, flexibility. Let's call it hypocrisy-as-dexterity. There's no real harm done, since we didn't much believe the pols in the first place; and sometimes necessary experimentation, such as FDR's assortments throughout the New Deal, is mistaken for a hypocritical violation of principle. In sum, political hypocrisy is a tricky business, but one perfectly, admissibly suitable to the vicissitudes of secular practicalities.
But then there's the Republican variety, resplendently wrapped in God. Republicans don't merely adjust their political positions; they adjust their dail set to God's Word, which, ever since the Supreme Being filed His voter registration, only Republicans are capable of receiving. For this I suppose we should be, quite literally, eternally thankful.
Yet the GOP's mysterious signals too often seem mysteriously wayward, in the sense of having been cherry-picked. Are they? Has anyone among the Fourth Estate bothered to ask? To this purpose, the Post's James Downie submits that "In the three debates between now and Super Tuesday, moderators should challenge Santorum and Gingrich on whether they agree with these church doctrines, and if not, why not": the death penalty, a liveable wage, unionization, wealth redistribution, universal health care and social safety nets.
As Downie further notes:
When an audience member asked Santorum about why he disagrees with the church on universal health care, Santorum gave a rambling response that bore little resemblance to his surity on many other issues.
Look, as already conceded, political hypocrisy is one thing. If Santorum, say, vows to shrink government yet once begged for taxpayer funds to erect a Madagascan rodent museum for Pittsburgh's mammalian-intrigued, brass-pot class or some such idiotic thing, who really cares? Political hypocrisy is, almost by definition, particular. But pontificating about God's Word and Christ's Vicar's interpretation of It is as universally grounded as pontification can come. If the former senator devoutly believes that Church doctrine on abortion or contraception is infallible and unassailable, then surely Church doctrine on wealth redistribution or health care is as divinely inspired and just as infallible and unassailable.