Jonah Goldberg says Bush is a hypocrite for having committed the kind of business shenanigans the president now wants to ban. But Goldberg is not concerned about it, saying:
In a town where looking for hypocrisy is easier than looking for sand on a beach, I am consistently amazed how everyone is willing to accept that hypocrisy is always wrong, even though what we admire most in our politicians is hypocrisy. It’s just that when we like the hypocrisy, we call it courage.
Goldberg uses Sen. John McCain as the reverse example, explaining that the senator has taken exactly the kind of campaign contributions he now wants to ban, and we call him courageous for it. Goldberg rightly identifies this issue (most political issues for that matter) as a conflict of point of view. But hypocrisy is one of those terms with a remarkably cohesive definition, in which connotation and denotation are nearly matched: insincerity. In the rough and tumble of politics, hypocrisy is a necessary evil as Goldberg demonstrates. But I would suggest there is a different level of sincerity in his examples between Bush and McCain. The Bush presidency may be hanging on the state of the economy, which is hanging on the public’s trust of corporate America.