Double Standard

January 18, 2008

Politics seems to often lead people to hold double standards--one for themselves and another for their opponents. The so-called Family Research Council recently demonstrated such a problem. Tom McClusky, the FRC's vice president for government affairs, attacked Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for accepting money for speaking engagements from organizations with whom McClusky ideologically disagrees. Huckabee accepted money from people involved in embryonic stem-cell research, the "morning-after pill," and tougher gun control laws--although the conferences he spoke at were not about those issues. McClusky argued that Huckabee should have challenged the groups on their positions and that Huckabee could not claim he did not know who was behind the speeches. McClusky claimed that Huckabee should "vent" the groups he speaks for and "look closer" at who writes the checks.

The irony is that the FRC's leader, Tony Perkins, once spoke at a meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The C of CC is an extremely racist organization (I can attest first-hand to that as I studied some of their racist rhetoric in a study published in the Kentucky Journal of Communication). When exposed by Max Blumenthal, Perkins and the FRC claimed that Perkins did not know who the C of CC was at the time of the speech and so should not be attacked for speaking to a racist organization. When I challenged Perkins on this point in a post, an FRC employee defended Perkins in the comments by claiming ignorance. I argued that a few seconds on the group's website would have made it obvious that they were racist.

So the FRC attacks Huckabee for who he spoke for but defends its own leader for speaking to a racist group. It seems like another sad case of political hypocrisy. I just did not realize that political hypocrisy was a family value.