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L. Neil Smith's
Number 525, June 28, 2009

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Partisan Hypocrisy
by Sean Gangol

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Towards the end of Ronald Reagan's administration, the Democrats moaned and groaned about the large deficit that he was leaving behind. This was also the case during George W. Bush's last days in the White House. Not that the criticism wasn't warranted, debt is never a good thing for any economy. The real issue is why the Democrats seem to ignore the trillions of dollars that is being wasted by Obama's stimulus plan. There doesn't seem to be an end to his spending spree since he keeps sinking more money into failing industries. Obama also plans to spend billions of more tax dollars on his so-called universal healthcare plan, which will probably end up being a universal failure. This administration has the worst economic policies that this country has ever seen. That hasn't stopped the support from Obama's fellow Democrats, who apparently think it's a good idea to keep borrowing money from China. This fits the vary definition of hypocrisy.

One of the favorite tactics of a government stooge is to silence the opposition by accusing them of being unpatriotic. Attorney General John Ashcroft used this tactic when he urged congress not to oppose the new powers of the Bush administration. He claimed that the opposition would be aiding terrorism, which outraged many people on the left. Conservatives aren't the only ones who try to silence opposition through patriotism. Recently, Rush Limbaugh was accused by the left of being unpatriotic, when he wished for the failure of Obama's policies. Obama personally used the patriot card when he referred to the Tea Party protesters as "un-American." Apparently it is unpatriotic to criticize America's "savior."

The race card is another game that people on the left like to play. On Keith Olbermann, Janeane Garofalo claimed that the Tea Party protesters were racist rednecks that were upset about living under a black president. This is the same Garofalo, who once called Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host with libertarian leanings a "house negro." So according to the logic of the left, bigotry against African Americans is unacceptable, except for the ones who don't toe their party tagline.

The left has also been hypocritical when it comes to the use of the military. The Democrats like to promote themselves as the party of peace, but history has shown otherwise. Both World Wars were started under the democratic presidencies of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. It was a democrat named Harry S. Truman that started the Korean War and he was the first and only president to use nuclear weapons. It was Lyndon Johnson who turned our involvement in Vietnam into an official war. Then there was Bill Clinton and his mini-wars. They may not have been as costly as the war in Iraq, but he still deployed the military more then any of his predecessors. His wife would later support the war in Iraq. The Democrats have yet to keep their promises of pulling the troops out of Iraq, which also shows that they are far from being the party of peace.

To be fair, hypocrisy isn't confined to the left. There was a time when the Republicans claimed they were the party of freedom. They promised us less government and more liberty. What ever happened to that? Some would attribute it to 9-11, which encouraged the Republicans to restrict civil liberties and allow more government spending. There are others that will tell you that the Republicans never were the freedom party because of their support of the war on drugs. Their belief in restricting the civil rights of homosexuals as well as the reproductive rights of women also tarnishes their freedom image. They have preached against big government, but they have showed little restraint when it comes to spending. Allowing terror suspects to be held without trial and then waterboarded, didn't help their image either.

One of the reasons why I opposed the measures of the Bush administration is because I felt that they could one day be used against American citizens. The word terrorist or enemy combatant could be used to describe any group that the government deems offensive. Simply having a small arsenal of guns and writing anti-government blogs could easily get someone labeled as a potential terrorist.

Recently, my point was driven home by the loveable head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. As I predicted, she labeled gun owners, conservatives and people with libertarian leanings as possible terrorists. Anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh or supports the ideology of Ron Paul can one day find themselves on the same terrorist watch list as members of Al-Qaeda. It may only be a matter of time before people find themselves waterboarded for having too many guns or spending too much time bad mouthing the current administration.

Unfortunately, there is nothing new about partisan hypocrisy. One of the most memorial examples is the hypocrisies that surrounded the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Before Jackson became president he was responsible for defending New Orleans against a British invasion during the War of 1812. Jackson feared that British spies had infiltrated the city, so he had it placed under Martial Law. He also suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which led to many arbitrary arrests. Jackson may have had a legitimate fear, since New Orleans was on the verge of being invaded. However, he kept the city under his control long after the threat had been neutralized. When a judge tried to grant a reporter the writ of habeas corpus, Jackson had him arrested. Later that same judge would fine Jackson for contempt of court.

The controversy of his actions would fellow him all the way to the White House. His Republican opposition would try to use the incident against him. Jackson's fellow Democrats not only defended his actions, but they also tried to start a movement to overturn Jackson's fine. A few decades later, Lincoln took office under the Republican Party. When the Southern states seceded from the union, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. This led to thousands of arbitrary arrests. He even went as far as to issue an arrest warrant for a federal judge and had a democratic congressman deported. This time it would be the Democrats who would complain about the actions of a Republican president. The Republicans of course defended the actions of their president.

It doesn't seem like much has changed since the time of Jackson or Lincoln. Both Republicans and Democrats still criticize each other for violating civil liberties, but they never acknowledge the wrong doings of their own parties. That is why the two parties have failed in protecting our liberties.


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