Hypocrisy as Fine Art

     Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa strains to find his artistic métier, and has succeeded wondrously in the art of hypocrisy. In his Valentine’s Day editorial in USA Today, he rails against the health care law and in particular the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health care insurance through their jobs or by purchasing it if necessary. What he conveniently omits is his support of the mandate in the 90s, when it was a Republican idea. But now that it is a Democratic idea, somehow it is a threat to the very foundation of American ideals, which back then he somehow did not notice. Then, when it earned his support, it was a way to prevent all taxpayers from having to bear the burden of the uninsured running to emergency rooms. Now, having earned his contempt, it is the first installment of the Stalinist State. He doesn’t really believe that, of course; it’s just one more Republican example of the Great Lie aimed at garnering public support for the insurance industry in the guise of Constitutional principles. If we can frighten enough Americans and take down the mandate, the whole of healthcare reform will fall, like a house of cards. Had he simply acknowledged that he previously had supported the mandate when it was a Republican idea, one might write him off as just your average beltway hypocrite, or possibly even a fellow who just changed his mind when the political breeze shifted. But no, that would have almost approached having real principles—and would have required actually attempting to explain why what was good as a Republican idea is now bad as a Democratic one. But where Grassley rises above the common masses of political hypocrisy—rises to Olympian heights of hypocrisy deserving of admiration and almost defying ridicule—is in his gnashing of teeth that “the new law rewards insurance companies with a massive new captive market.” His concern over rewarding insurance companies is marvelous. It is transcendent. It is Rembrandt-esque in its artistry.

John R. Rachal
February 17, 2011

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