Tea Party and the Right  
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How Hypocrisy Is Simply Not a Factor in the Right-Wing Mind

The collective thinking of today’s conservatives accounts for little more than magic wand waving.
 
 
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Photo Credit: United States Senate (L); United States Congress.Jerzeykydd (R); Composite Screenshot / Wikimedia Commons

 

It takes a Republican to be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-torture, and pro-bombing, yet be “pro-life.” It takes a Republican to be down with the Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout of the big banks, but outraged when Obama offers a modest foreclosure relief bill for struggling families affected by Wall Street’s casino capitalism.

We all know this, and there are countless other examples that demonstrate right-wing hypocrisy, from Benghazi to healthcare from budget priorities to placards that read, “Keep your big government hands off my Medicare.” But in her new release A Fighting Chance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren articulates the far right’s hypocrisy eloquently.

During the heady days of establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and in the face of hostile opposition from banking lobbyists and congressional Republicans, Warren continued calling on members of the House and Senate, both Republican and Democrat, to garner support for the fledgling agency designed to protect American families from unscrupulous lending practices.

Warren recounts a story of her meeting with Tea Party Republican Michael Grimm (R-NY). Grimm is the guy who threatened to throw a TV news reporter off the Capitol building’s balcony after this year’s State of the Union address. “I’ll throw you off this f---ing balcony. I’ll break you in half like a boy,” he threatened. And last month, Grimm was indicted by the U.S. attorney in New York on 20 counts of mail, wire and tax fraud. Irony, anyone? Warren writes of Grimm:

“He told me all about himself. He’d joined the U.S. Marines when he was 19, and he had been decorated for his service in Desert Storm. He got a degree from Baruch College, a public university in New York, went to law school, and joined the FBI, where among other things, he was part of the Financial Fraud Squad. He talked in animated terms about the great work he’d done with the FBI and the terrific training he’d received. Then he launched a small business before running for office."

Despite being aligned with the Tea Party, Warren was hopeful Grimm was someone she could work with. “I didn’t care about his Tea Party ties. He’d been in law enforcement and dealt with Wall Street corruption. I was sure that someone like him would really appreciate the importance of having a watchdog like the consumer agency.”

Warren’s optimism was quickly crushed. After providing Grimm with an “enthusiastic description of what we were trying to get done at the agency, the congressman looked surprised.” With a clenched jaw, Grimm cut Warren off. He told her, “I don’t believe in government.” Warren thought she had misunderstood him. “What?” she replied. He repeated that he didn’t believe in government. “I asked him about the FBI, and he amended his statement to say yes, he believed in the FBI, but not other forms of ‘big government’ and certainly not a consumer protection agency.”

The meeting didn’t last much longer, but afterward Warren couldn’t stop thinking about Congressman Grimm’s remark: He didn’t believe in government.

“I thought about the congressman’s life,” writes Warren:

“A tour of duty in the military. A degree from a public university. Eleven years working in a federal government agency. Government training. And now a seat in the House of Representatives. Heck, he had even been quoted as saying that he wanted the government-paid health insurance when he joined the Congress, because 'God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation. That could happen to anyone.' It seemed to me that he ought to be the poster boy for someone who understood all the good things that government can do.”