I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the hypocrisy of many Republicans over the past few years. There are a lot of things going on recently that the GOP supports now because there is a member of their party in the White House that they didn’t support, or had the opposite position on, when a Democrat occupied the oval office.
Social Security reform is a good example. Back in the mid 90′s, Clinton tried to bring the issue up just like Bush is today, but his efforts were pushed back by the GOP majority who claimed it wasn’t a problem. Of course, now that Bush is talking about it, there is a problem.
Another one is our involvement in Kosovo back in the late 90′s. Many Republicans were howling with rage that the US dared to proceed with a policy of ‘Nation Building’ by interfering in the conflict back then. Of course when Bush wanted to roll into Iraq, ‘Nation Building’ was all the rage among the GOP just 3 years – and a new President – later.
Of course, we can’t forget the use of congressional fillibusters to block judicial nominees from ever getting a vote. Senate majority leader Bill Frist said filibustering judicial nominees is “radical” and “nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority.” Of course, when Bill Clinton was President, Frist engaged in the exact same behavior he is now condemning: In 1996 Clinton nominated Richard Paez to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Republican controlled Congress held up Paez’s nomination for more than four years, culminating in an attempted filibuster on March 8, 2000. And none other than Bill Frist was among those who voted to filibuster Paez.
Just three examples of Republicans changing their tune when it suited their needs.
I stumbled against one more great example of this practice today by some of Wisconsin’s own Congressmen. Back in 2000, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), and Mark Green (R-Green Bay) sent out a joint press release that took the Democratic administration to the wood shed for letting gas prices reach $1.60 a gallon that summer.
“We need an energy policy that not only reduces gas prices today, but ensures greater price stability in the future,. Thanks to the lack of a national energy plan from this Administration, we are more dependent on foreign oil than we were a decade ago. That’s a threat not only to our national economy, but to our national security.” – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner 2000 press release
With gas prices here in Milwaukee at $2.40/gallon and rising, why aren’t the Congressmen still pressing this issue? If $1.60/gallon had them ‘blasting’ the Clinton administration to implement a comprehensive energy policy to deal with staggering gas prices, where are they when the price is up almost another dollar??
In all these cases Republicans want it both ways (theirs), and if I recall correctly, last Summer we were calling that behavior ‘flip flopping’, or something like that…
Which really drives home the point. It’s only ‘flip flopping’ when it’s the other party doing it.