Tuesday, October 25, 2005

DIRK's Book Club: Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy

I came upon this interview with Peter Schweizer at National Review Online for this book:

Do As I Say (Not As I Do) : Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy which reveals what DIRKWORLD® readers have already known: That lies and hypocrisy are the coin of the fascist Left's realm. Read the whole interview at the top link, but here's some good smack on the Lying Left:

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Michael Moore makes money off oil and war? Why would he bother lying about owning stock? Is Peter Schweizer the only person who bothered checking?

Peter Schweizer:Michael Moore is constantly trying to prove his and the Left's moral superiority, so he says things about himself that are patently not true. He's pathological about it. How else to explain that he's loudly proclaimed no less than three times that he doesn't invest in the stock market because it's morally wrong while quietly picking up shares in a whole host of companies. A portfolio that includes Halliburton, Boeing, and HMOs doesn't fit the bill so he lies about it. I think he assumed that no one would poke around and investigate. When it comes to the MSM he was correct in making that assumption. He never responded to my questions. I'm dying to know how he explains away this one.

Lopez: Where did you get the idea for Do As I Say...? Did you just know the line of inquiry would be productive or did something fall into your lap?

Schweizer: I got tired of having discussions and arguments with people on the Left who operate on the assumption that they possess the moral high ground. They're not greedy, they're the only ones who truly care about the poor, minorities, you name it. Knowing quite a few people on the Left I knew that wasn't true. So I started poking around — looking at tax returns, IRS filings, court documents, etc. Frankly, it's amazing how easy it was to find examples of lefties being completely hypocritical.

Lopez: Given the hypocrisy you expose on this front, please tell me Nancy Pelosi at least isn't a Wal-Mart basher.

Schweizer: Nancy Pelosi bashes everyone who doesn't allow unions to call the shots. Everyone that is except herself. It's takes an amazing amount of gall to accept the Cesar Chavez Award from the United Farmworkers Unions while using non-UFW workers on your Napa Valley Vineyard. It takes the same to praise the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union and take massive sums of money from them all the while keeping them out of your Hotel and chain of restaurants. But again, I think Pelosi correctly assumes that no one in the media will challenge her on this.

Lopez: Um and the Clinton's underwear? Though the Clinton's claiming $4 per pair of used underwear among their charitable contributions does seem like it is begging for a New York Post cover.

Schweizer: Ah, yes, the Clintons, who profess to pay the maximum amount on their taxes every year because it's the right thing to do. The Clintons are simply amazing in their ability to lecture Americans about their need to pay more taxes while at the same time finding lucrative tax shelters and taking outrageous tax deductions. Again, the media gives them a free pass.

Lopez: Did anyone ever take Al Franken seriously anyway? Why shouldn't anyone?

Schweizer: I'm not sure that most people take Franken seriously, but the media most assuredly does. He professes to be more than a comedian. He claims to be a political analyst and apparently wants to be a U.S. senator. (His former writing partner says he really wants to be president. Yikes!) His vicious attacks against conservatives as racists are not meant to be funny. He really does think that we're bigots. So questions about his absolutely abysmal record when it comes to hiring minorities should be exposed. (For those who want a hint, less than one percent of his employees have been black. That's a worse record than Bob Jones University, which Franken claims is "racist.")

Lopez: So he lies you say? At heart, he's a comedian. Does it really matter?

Schweizer: Yes it does matter. Among the liberal/Left base, they see Franken as some sort of prophet who speaks the truth. And again, the media gives him a free pass. I caught him on The Late Show with David Letterman last Friday. They chuckled a bit and Franken went on to explain his twisted and distorted view of the world. He wasn't challenged on anything he said.

Lopez: About Franken, he wanted to fight our Rich Lowry. You nervous now that your book is out?

Schweizer: I tried to get Franken to answer my questions. I wanted him to explain some of the outrageous comments he made a few years ago about disliking homosexuals and the fact that he was glad one had been killed. (Imagine if a conservative had said that?) And I wanted to ask him why he considered conservatives and Republicans racist because they hired so few blacks when he had such a horrible record himself. Alas, he never responded.

Lopez: Any Lefties you checked into who came out with flying non-hypocritical colors worth lauding for at least practicing what they preach?

Schweizer: I really thought that Ralph Nader would be that man. He lives a monk-like existence and tends to shun the material things in life. But then I discovered that he fired some of his employees for trying to form a union and I realized he wouldn't fit the bill. I'm still looking....

Lopez: One overarching kinda question: We all have our moments of hypocrisy. That we don't practice what we preach doesn't make what we preach any less valid. People are human, etc. Is there something about your book that is somewhat fundamentally unfair?

Schweizer: Yes, we are all hypocrites and I talk about that in the book. But liberal hypocrisy and conservative hypocrisy are quite different on two accounts. First, you hear about conservative hypocrisy all the time. A pro-family congressman caught in an extramarital affair, a minister caught in the same. This stuff is exposed by the media all the time. The leaders of the liberal-Left get a complete pass on their hypocrisy. Second, and this is even more important, the consequences of liberal hypocrisy are different than for the conservative variety. When conservatives abandon their principles and become hypocrites, they end up hurting themselves and their families. Conservative principles are like guard rails on a winding road. They are irritating but fundamentally good for you. Liberal hypocrisy is the opposite. When the liberal-left abandon their principles and become hypocrites, they actually improve their lives. Their kids end up in better schools, they have more money, and their families are more content. They're ideas are truly that bad.

Lopez: Is there something about the book that sums something up philosophically about the Left?

Schweizer: After researching the book I really truly believe that the leading lights of the Left — Moore, Franken, Clinton, Pelosi, Kennedy, etc. — really honestly don't believe what they are selling us. Their own experiences teach them that their ideas don't work.

Lopez: So I can't stand Michael Moore anyway. I really don't need any more anger aimed in his direction. Ditto with some others who get chapters in your book. Why should I read your book anyway? How might a Michael Moore fan get something out of Do As I Say...?

Schweizer: All I would ask a Michael Moore fan do is look at the facts. Moore professes to hate capitalism ("the last evil empire" he's called it) but practices it in spades. Moore condemns people for their racism and claims to support and practice affirmative action, but has a lousy record of hiring minorities. He outsources post-production film work to Canada so he can pay non-union wages. I could go on and on. I would ask his fans: is this really a sincere person?

Lopez: What's the funniest story you learned while compiling the book?

Schweizer: It has to be one about Michael Moore. In his books Michael Moore goes on and on about the fact that Americans are racist because they live in white neighborhoods. It's an example of latent segregationist attitudes in his mind. When I checked the demographics on Michael Moore's residence I burst out laughing. Michael Moore lives in a town of 2,500 in Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is not a single black person in the entire town.

Good stuff!


Anonymous said...

Left Unsaid
A Review by Ben Adler

Liberals are really just as hypocritical as conservatives. That, in a nutshell, is the message Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, delivers to his presumably conservative readers in Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. Schweizer opens the book by acknowledging how many socially conservative leaders have been exposed for failing to practice what they (literally, in some cases) preach. But, he counters, "do-as-I-say liberals [also] don't trust their ideas enough to apply them at home." Schweizer focuses on eleven "liberal leaders and spokesmen who are generally esteemed by their constituents and have an influence on the broader culture." The list contains the predictable conservative bugaboos like the Clintons and Ted Kennedy, but also some figures who don't really meet his definition, either because they're controversial among liberals (Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, and George Soros) or inconsequential (Barbara Streisand). It's a surprise he leaves out Jane Fonda.

Less surprising is that Do as I Say includes a number of distortions. Schweizer goes after Ted Kennedy for a tax-shelter scheme concocted by Kennedy's father in 1947, and asserts that Kennedy tries to "avoid" taxes by buying state bonds. What's his point? Liberals who support taxation shouldn't buy state bonds? And nothing is too petty for Schweizer. Harping on Moore, Schweizer attacks him for outsourcing jobs to Canada. Says Schweizer: "For his film Canadian Bacon, he filmed scenes that allegedly took place in the United States in Ontario." But Schweizer's assumption that Moore shot the movie in Canada for cheaper labor is somewhat undercut by the fact the movie is titled Canadian Bacon, not say, Rumble in the Bronx. Perhaps most misleading is Schweizer's claim that Al Franken is a hypocrite because he opposes abstinence-only education programs despite "sen[ding] at least one of his children to a private New York school that boasts an 'abstinence plus' sex ed curriculum." As Franken pointed out to TNR, abstinence plus is completely different from abstinence only, because the former teaches safer sex options which the latter excludes.

Some of Schweizer's examples aren't really hypocrisy even when taken at face value. Why does Michael Moore's supposedly lavish lifestyle make his advocacy on behalf of the poor hypocritical? Coupled with his financial success, Moore's willingness to support politicians who would give some of his wealth to those less fortunate may seem contradictory, but it actually demonstrates his principles -- i.e., a commitment to reducing inequality -- rather than undermines them.

More disappointing than any of those quibbles is that Do as I Say ducks the most interesting question it raises. Namely, when does personal hypocrisy matter in the political arena?

Surely it can matter. Rush Limbaugh's calls to throw drug addicts in prison are less convincing when he himself abuses prescription painkillers and then wriggles his way out of a jail term. But the reason they're less convincing isn't just because Limbaugh is preaching one thing and then doing another. It's because conservatives like Limbaugh believe that personal morality matters when it comes to public life: The politician who has an affair should be deemed less trustworthy in the eyes of his constituents than the politician who is faithful. So once you discover that Limbaugh behaves "immorally" in private, you either have to question his trustworthiness as a public figure (as he would advise were the sinner someone else), or you have to question his belief that personal morality matters when judging a public figure.

But, within reason, liberals don't believe there's much of a correlation between a person's private lack of virtue and his or her public behavior. (Liberals usually draw the line at victimless crimes.) On the level of principle, liberals have no problem with a strong advocate of public education sending her own children to private school (though, practically speaking, it might make the advocate less effective were it to become public knowledge). In order to make a hypocrisy charge stick against liberals, you'd have to find someone promising one thing then doing another in a way that affects a significant number of people -- e.g., an anti-war candidate who funds a secret war in some far-off country. That's why liberals tend to focus more on George W. Bush's broken promise to be a uniter, or to be fiscally responsible than, say, his years as a problem drinker.

It's only when Schweizer unearths this latter kind of failing that he's on solid ground. Several of his strongest passages involve Moore, who, for example, attacks Halliburton's war-profiteering but nonetheless enables it by allowing his charitable foundation to own significant amounts of Halliburton stock. Still, for the most part, Do as I Say is more concerned with scoring cheap political points by wounding the character of prominent liberals than with exposing any deeper moral rot on the left. Then again, for Schweizer and his ilk, those two things are usually one and the same.

Dirk Belligerent said...

What the review does is traffic in the assumption that because liberals are just so darn well-meaning for the little people, their double-standards must be forgiven by virtue of the fact that they are liberals alone.

When liberals oppose school vouchers, they always use the argument that to deprive their teacher's union base of dollars would be wrong, thus condemning the children of the poor to inadequate government schools that fail to educate students, thus creating another generation that will be dependent upon...tada!...the liberal government who will then exchange welfare for votes, thus perpetuating the liberal politician's ability to rule over us AND send their children to PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

Liberal hypocrites (redundant, I know) would NEVER dream of sending THEIR children to the hellholes they trap their subjects into attending. How would Chelsea Clinton have done in the D.C. public schools? Hmmm?

As for "George W. Bush's broken promise to be a uniter", how is it his fault that the Left went absolutely insane and declared jihad against him for five years running? If anything, he DID unite people: He united all the liberals, fascists, socialists, jihadists and media against him!

The weird thing is that outside of making a meager effort to defend our country, he has acted like a liberal's dream date - spending money like water, exploding the Federal government and adding unaffordable and indefensible entitlements in a failed effort to buy media love - yet he's the Most Hated Man Alive. Saddam was a harmless kitten compared to EVIL DUBYA!!!!

The greatest irony of the review is that in order to defend liberal hypocrisy, it has to be hypocritical about what the effects of liberalism are. Liberal lies are an endless series of self-reflecting funhouse mirrors that don't even attempt to portray reality, yet some actual believe these visions to be true.

It would be so refreshing if some liberal would simply cop to the truth and admit that they subscribe to the "Animal Farm" philosophy of some being more equal than others and that they've anointed themselves as the due recipients of the cream, while everyone else can just choke on the bilge in steerage.