I think it’s safe to say that the Republican party has become the party of cheap talk and cognitive dissonance. Yes, the Democrats carry their fair share of that, but it seems most flagrant both among legislators and rank-and-file Republicans (read: Romney supporters), and if they can’t get their heads and hearts in line and stick to the principles they purportedly espouse, then they deserve to be run out on a rail.
According to a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Republicans are largely averse to shrinking any and every entitlement in an effort to avert the fiscal cliff, despite their being the party of low taxes and small government. Upon parsing the data, Business Insider’s Brett LoGiurato found that Republicans oppose, by 68-26, cutting spending for Medicare, by 61-33, cutting spending for Medicaid, and, by 56-44, raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
Let’s be honest: the Republicans are as bad as the Democrats they love to malign. For such a supposedly moral and resolute bunch, it’s remarkable how readily they deviate from biblical ethics and imitate their political arch-nemeses. They want cuts to be made and taxes lowered, but not if it means fewer freebies for them! The poll results only corroborate other recent shameful pieces of evidence.
But this isn’t really news. Republicans have long been adept at double-speak. For instance, Romney made the careless blunder back in September when he was inadvertently recorded lamenting the fact that the 47 percent of the nation who don’t pay federal income taxes were firmly in Obama’s column and thus put him at a competitive disadvantage. In actuality, eight of the top ten states with the highest non-payment rates are red states. Whoops.
The latest proof that Republicans are full of it comes not from rank-and-file Republicans, but from legislators on Capital Hill. There’s a growing mutiny brewing in Washington against Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. The number of House Republicans refusing to sign his pledge against raising taxes has almost tripled since the previous Congress, just as other Republican legislators are mustering the courage to openly criticize the pledge. Last month, Lindsay Graham even let his relativism show a bit when he blustered, “We’re so far in debt, that if you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks.” Raising taxes won’t fix our debt problem, Lindsay, but it will help sink the country.
What I can say about all this is that at least the hearts and rhetoric of Democrats are somewhat in accordance, however warped their suppositions may be. Republicans, on the other hand, can’t even accomplish that much. Since it is apparently too much to ask most Republicans to even answer an anonymous survey conservatively, it’s likely that even fewer are capable of behaving conservatively in application. Just as the Pharisees preached but didn’t practice and claimed purity but were, in truth, fetid tombs full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, so are the Republicans.