05/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Immorality of Intolerance and Inconsistency

North Korea becomes a nuclear nation, and we do nothing. Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, and we do nothing. Government spending is out of control, creating the largest debts and deficits in our nation's history, and we do nothing except cut taxes and start a $1 trillion war.

All of the above happened under the administration of George Bush, with a Congress controlled by the Republican Party for six of his eight years in office. During that time our nation suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history.

Yet today Newt Gingrich goes on TV and lambasts the Obama administration because we did nothing after North Korea launched a missile in spite of global protests. He accuses Obama of weakness, of endangering our national security because he did not prevent the launch of a missile -- a North Korean capability that exists as a consequence of a program developed while Bush was President. Korea went nuclear under Bush and he did nothing. Gingrich then goes on to disparage the President for excessive government spending, blissfully ignoring the inconvenient fact that the largest federal debts and deficits have all accumulated under Republican presidents, mostly with a majority of Republicans on the Hill. The national debt grew under Presidents Reagan and Bush more than the total accumulated under all other presidents combined.

With raised eyebrows Gingrich notes that Obama shook the hand of arch-enemy Hugo Chavez, smirking that he, Gingrich, doesn't believe that smiles and handshakes will make the world safer. Surely Gingrich is aware of the disastrous results of wanton aggression during the last eight years in which we arrogantly isolated ourselves from the rest of the world. But he learned no lesson from America's decline under Bush. He is instead frightened by two men shaking hands, as is Dick Cheney who chimed in that countries will soon take advantage of a weakened president. Both Gingrich and Cheney forget that Nixon shook hands with Chairman Mao and Reagan met with Gorbachev at a time when China and Russia were considered bitter enemies of the United States. Mao certainly had more blood on his hands then than Chavez does now. We heard no howls of protest then. The premise of the objection from Gingrich and Cheney is absurd, particularly after eight years of touting the opposing example of failed international relationships.

Cheney went on to say in his interview that Obama's decision to release secret memos on torture undermines future intelligence efforts. This from the man whose staff, with his knowledge, exposed an active CIA agent to protect his political interests, including support for starting the war in Iraq based on falsified evidence. In the case of the memos, the "secret" that we tortured people under Bush was well known in advance to our enemies, not the case when Cheney exposed an active agent, which really was a secret. Revealing the name of an active undercover agent is an act of treason.

The inconsistent standards by which Gingrich, Cheney and Republicans, more broadly, are judging Obama are troubling on multiple levels. They profess outrage over actions they initiated or condoned when in power. They express concern for our national security after undermining our military with substandard and inadequate equipment, wasteful spending and an illegal war. They bemoan tax increases, and support "tea party" protests when Obama has cut taxes for 95% of all American families, and seeks to re-set capital gains taxes to levels established during President Clinton's term. Eight years of prosperity and growth under Clinton undermine any predictions of apocalyptic collapse due to high taxes. GOP leaders profess to be outraged by government spending after years of burdening our grandchildren with unprecedented debt.

Holding contradictory views intentionally twisted to support previously held ideas is not simply hypocritical, although it is certainly that. Such demagoguery in the absence of core convictions is immoral. Outraged indignation suddenly caused by actions that were fully supported when done by the previous Administration demonstrates a gross level of intellectual dishonesty in those who should know better in the leadership of the Republican Party. And such dishonesty is indeed immoral if we believe that honesty is a core component of any ethical framework.

The contradictions embedded in Republican views are astounding in depth and breadth. Never forget that the attacks on the World Trade Center, an ascendant Iran, Korea crossing the nuclear threshold and a collapsing economy all happened on Bush's watch. With that record to run from, the GOP has adopted a strategy that fully embraces disinformation as a core theme. Nothing else can explain the bizarre idea pushed by the GOP that Obama is endangering the country because he "did nothing" when Korea launched a missile, or because he shook the hand of an enemy, or came clean about crimes committed under Bush.

Embracing dishonesty as a platform reveals a moral compass spinning with no north pole. In answer to that bumper sticker so fondly displayed in red states, building a house on a foundation of lies is not what Jesus would do.

Speaking of which, the ability of the Right Wing to embrace inconsistent views unchained from reality with such conviction is entirely predictable given their predilection to comingle religion and politics. No document, after all, is more laden with inconsistencies than the collection of 66 books known as the Bible. That would explain, perhaps, the following glaring contradictions we hear from the right every day:

• Hateful proclamations against homosexuality, while simultaneously touting a loving Jesus who turned the other cheek (not that one). Christians are supposed to hate the sin but love the sinner, but hateful proclamations against homosexuals are common.

• Opposition to stem cell research on the basis of life's sanctity, while at the same time supporting the death penalty. Only some life is sacred, and they get to decide.

• Support for teaching Intelligent Design in schools on the notion that evolution is "only a theory," while never questioning the "theory" of Relativity or insisting that we teach an alternative to Einstein in physics class.

• Refuting the reality of climate change, citing lack of evidence, while promoting a Star Wars missile shield in the face of overwhelming evidence that such a system can never work effectively against much less expensive countermeasures. Evidence is cited or ignored at will, as if objective truth is one choice among many dishes in a lunch buffet.

The real crime here is that Gingrich, Cheney and friends are inviting attack on the United States in their efforts to convince the world that Obama is weak. That is the most egregious of all the contradictions from the right -- professing to love this country while actively undermining our security for short-term political gain.

Fortunately, the GOP badly underestimates the American people, leaders of the world, and Obama himself. Meeting with enemies takes strength and will, and a clear vision of purpose. Few people outside the extreme Right Wing believe that a handshake or respect for other cultures is a sign of weakness.

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