The Politics of Freedom: Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to Our Liberties

By David Boaz | Go to book overview

Bush, Kerry, and Partisan Hypocrisy

Republicans are criticizing a decorated Vietnam veteran, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, while liberals are denouncing President Bush for avoiding service in what liberals called an illegal and immoral war. That sort of reversal might seem odd if it wasn't so reminiscent of other partisan battles over the past decade. Washington has become mired in a Red Team-Blue Team battle that leads partisans on both sides into rank hypocrisy.

Just think back to the Clinton years: Conservatives used to think that sexual harassment laws were a good example of big government trying to regulate everything under the sun. Feminists, they thought, wanted to criminalize normal flirting and dating. Feminists pushed a law through Congress that allowed plaintiffs in a sexual harassment suit to examine the defendant's personal life in search of examples of similar behavior. It was the sort of thing that led Rush Limbaugh to call them femi-Nazis.

Then Bill Clinton—who perhaps unwisely had signed that law—was accused of making sexual advances to a low-level employee of the Arkansas state government when he was governor. Suddenly the conservatives were born-again femi-Nazis. Hang him, they said. It just can't be lawful for a powerful man to make a vulgar advance at a woman who works

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