Hannity’s Hypocrisy Is No Worse Than That Of Many Partisan Democrats OP-ED

We’re all having fun with this Media Matters mash-up of Sean Hannity’s staggering hypocrisy regarding NSA surveillance. It’s been published all over the place, but in case you haven’t seen it, basically, Hannity loved surveillance under Bush and is horrified by it under Obama.

Here’s the video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t27ie4qFlXM]

That really is something to behold. Rarely is the utter wretchedness and intellectual bankruptcy of the partisan mind exposed so starkly. In 2006, Hannity berated his liberal guest for opposing NSA surveillance and data mining – without which, he says, we would not be safe in the midst of this War on Terror. He found the debate itself to be staggering in its irresponsibility.

In 2006, that is.

Now, Hannity feels terrorized by “Big Brother.” He is demanding his right to privacy and warning that Obama’s shredding of the Constitution and the rule of law could very well lead to anarchy and tyranny.

What can you even say about this? It’s honestly just funny. No one with a functioning brain takes anything Hannity says seriously. I don’t even think he takes himself seriously.

In the Age of Obama, though, Democratic partisans have no right to poke fun at Hannity, particularly on the specific issue of NSA surveillance. We found out from a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center earlier this week that 64% of Democrats view the current NSA surveillance programs as “acceptable.” Taken by itself, there’s nothing particularly extraordinary about that statistic. In 2006, though, following revelations about NSA surveillance under Bush, 61% of Democrats said it was “unacceptable.” Obviously, there are some nuances involved here, in the sense that the precise NSA programs are different, someone could theoretically be more (or less) concerned about Terrorism in 2013 than in 2006, and so on. But it strains credulity to believe that the fact that Barack Obama currently occupies the Oval Office is purely incidental to this 27% increase in support for NSA surveillance among Democrats. No one could possibly claim with a straight face that this astonishing change in Democratic opinion on surveillance is due to anything other than pure partisanship. It’s just the most recent example of what were once considered progressive principles being sacrificed at the altar of party politics. We have seen this throughout the Obama presidency – Democrats, en masse, abandoning even the pretense of having anything remotely resembling a coherent ideology, all in the name of supporting anything their beloved president and his administration do (for more on this, please see virtually anything Glenn Greenwald has written since 2009).

Thomas Jefferson, someone who is ostensibly loved and admired by modern Democrats, offered some important insight on these matters:

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.

Until Democratic partisans heed Jefferson’s advice, i.e., stop submitting the whole system of their opinions to party politics and start thinking for themselves, they cannot credibly criticize Hannity or any other mindless Republican robots. Shameless hypocrisy and intellectual enslavement to partisanship are just as wrong when they occur on what’s called the “left.”

Edited and published by CB

My writing has appeared on AlterNet, Common Dreams, CounterPunch, and Antiwar.com. I have an M.A. in public policy from Stony Brook University and a B.A. in political science from Coastal Carolina University.