BOSTON (CBS) – One of the most overused words in American politics is “hypocrite,” the common epithet used to describe politicians who say one thing and do another.
We often apply that insult out of the anger and frustration of learning that political leaders who take what sound like rock-solid positions are more than willing to abandon that high ground.
Congress is chock full of politicians like that, from both parties. Politicians who never bend or discard their principles inside this sausage-making plant are hard to find, and the few that do fit the bill often struggle to get anything done.
Consider the case study of Texas Republicans, currently calling on their colleagues to rally behind their call for the massive federal funding it will take to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey recover.
But most of them voted against the relief bill for Hurricane Sandy back in 2013, claiming it was stuffed with extraneous spending that would balloon the deficit. This was consistent with a demand for budget-balancing among Congressional Republicans that has now come back to bite them, impeding Obamacare reform and complicating their push for tax cuts.
President Trump says Harvey relief will get done in short order, but while you hope he’s right, that may be the naiveté of someone who doesn’t know how Washington works.
And if all this sends you into a rage at all those Beltway hypocrites, ask yourself these questions: have you supported budget cuts but opposed cuts that affect you? Have you demanded commitments from political candidates that they couldn’t keep?
Maybe the problem is them, but maybe it also us.