Shorter Steve Benen

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 4, 2011

“House Republicans are suspect because they are hiring staff members who have experience working with previous House Republican leaders.”

Note that it isn’t until late in the post that Benen grudgingly admits that “it’s worth noting that DeLay’s former team hasn’t been convicted of anything, and it’s a stretch to suggest they should never be allowed to work in politics again,” which kind of makes one wonder why he bothered writing his post complaining about the return of the DeLay aides in the first place. Note as well that Benen’s complaints about corporate lobbyists, and a K Street project being “reconstituted” are hypocritical in the worst possible way.

Strangely enough, the Washington Monthly sees fit to pay Benen for this kind of commentary.

  • Heybub

    Hypocrisy gets a bad rap. Half of all gynecologists are men. The guy who repairs Lamborghinis probably doesn’t own or drive one.

    One should look to the advice per se, not to the source.

    • Anon

      Methinks you need a refersher on ‘Hypocricy’.

      It’s usually inferred as telling someone not to do something, while engaging in it yourself. The example of a doctor telling you not to smoke before lighting up is one. The example of a doctor not having female reproductive organs, yet training to provide medical service for such, is NOT. Same deal with the repairman; he gets training to provide a service. Likely, that service isn’t worth enough to actually allow him to even buy the car he works on.

      If a person wasn’t allowed to touch something they are not or do not possess, then Pediatricians, who are not children, could never exist. And, come to think of it, many Politicians wouldn’t have much room to do anything; how could they make a law on business that they never worked on?

  • Anonymous

    “Tu quoque” is a pretty stupid argument. That Democrats have their own K Street-style project only earns them condemnation, it doesn’t absolve DeLay or his cronies.

    • Anonymous

      People who worked with DeLay have nothing from which to be absolved. DeLay’s soon to be overturned conviction is for following the law, assuring that money allowed to go into various groups or categories actually did so. Since he was so scrupulous, went the prosecutor’s reasoning, he must have been hiding something.

      • Anonymous

        Legal is not the same as ethical. DeLay is a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with Congress in general, and the so-called Republican “leadership” of the past decade in particular.

        • Anonymous

          DeLay was wrong about how to establish a long term Republican majority. Denny Hastert was no better. Both were responsible for the failure of Bush’s administration to do anything about spending. In many ways, they were more responsible for the tea parties than the Democrats. The tea parties want the Republicans to recognize that the days of the “government party” are over.

      • Gregory Koster

        Dear Don Meaker: You are likely right. But a “he dint do nuthin’ illegal an’ the convicshun’ll be overturned when the dice are thrown again on appeal” defense isn’t going to be helpful to today’s conservative fights. When Big Tom was riding high, say from 2001-06, did:

        a) earmarks stop appearing in spending bills?
        b)did overall spending drop?
        c) did the Code of Federal Regulations shrink?
        d) was Congress perceived as cleaner?

        Nope, nope, nope, nope. It does no good to howl that the Dems thwarted Delay. The business of a majority is to get its agenda enacted. The relative failure of the 111th Congress is a sign of the Reid-Pelosi imbecility.

        Delay strikes me as a fellow whose heart is in the right place, but lost his way in tactics and process. Today’s Tea Party is far less interested in process, rightly seeing it as a cover for corruption and business as usual. Can this attitude be overdone? Sure, but such worries are in the same class as worrying about if unions are strong enough to represent workers in labor negotiations, while turning a blind eye to union roles in Washington corruption. See, e.g SEIU members beating up Kenneth Gladney. Delay’s prosecution strikes me as politically driven, but what did he really expect? In any case, his name is a weight on all conservative efforts to roll back government today.

        As for his underlings, what assurance does anyone have that they aren’t slaves of “process” and business as usual? How many of them are on record as opposing earmarking, for example?

        As for Mr. Yousefzadeh’s mock puzzlement about the WASHINGTONIAN’s employing Benen, I can only say, Get with it Mac! If ye eds and proprietors of said rag want to show their contempt for those outside Washington, what better way than to give a platform to the crank Benen? It’s no different from Andrew Sullivan’s poisonous vitriol at the ATLANTIC. So long as the liberal bigots applaud, such cranks will flourish.

        Sincerely yours,
        Gregory Koster

    • Anon

      It may not absolve Delay, but again, Democrats should be held to the same standard. The fact that DeLay is considered corrupt, yet this most recent ‘Most Ethical’ congress piped the swamp water back in with mere slaps on the wrist to their most brazen lapses, is a travesty.

      The problem with hypocricy is that it’s become the equivalent of a Sun Tsu war tactic. Point and blame on a topic (in this case, lobbying and the money that comes with it) that you, yourself, engage in. You try to shame the other side to disuse the tactic, while reaping in the very benefits shamelessly.

      If ‘honesty’ were the true policy, and the idea of lobbying from K Street should be stopped, then it shouldn’t be nakedly partisan in terms of Left/Right divide. It should be nakedly partisan in terms of being For or Against it.

      But then, that’s why we don’t have Statesmen anymore. They’ve now become Politicians.

  • Anonymous

    BTW, I agree that Benen’s guilt-by-association argument is pretty stupid itself.

  • Martin


    You’re correct in the case where advice is given. “Stop smoking and lose weight” is good advice even if your doctor is an overweight smoker.

    But Mr. Benen isn’t advising, he’s criticizing; and in the case of criticism or complaints, hypocrisy weakens the argument. If my neighbor complains about loud noise, I’m going to be less sympathetic if he’s blaring his stereo at the time.

  • Anonymous

    Benen has an ongoing love affair with the left and is immune to reason. I have read that blog since the days of Kevin Drum, a far more responsible liberal, and Benen is not a source of wisdom. Knee jerk leftism is more like it.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like McCarthyism.

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