Just in: James Inhofe (R- OK) is now plugging for federal disaster aid for the tornado damage in Oklahoma. That’s fine. Ah, but he and his colleague, Tom Coburn (R-OK) were famously against similar aid for the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy. Oh, that’s weird. I wonder what Inhofe has to say about that:
That was totally different. . . . They were getting things, for instance, that was supposed to be in New Jersey. . . . They had things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there, they were putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C. Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won’t happen in Oklahoma.
First, off, he’s opposed to funding help for those battered by a storm because he’s worried about grift? Sheesh. Second, if it does happen in OK, is he on the hook then? Oh, and Inhofe and Coburn have a long history of opposing funding FEMA (despite the fact that OK has among the most disasters).
Senator Coburn wants the help, too. He proposes to pay for it by cutting other federal programs.
Again, we have a case where we must ask whether we have a case of acceptable tu quoque. We’ve regularly here at the NS argued that cases of tu quoque that show double standards are appropriate and relevant. Similar cases should be judged similarly, and it zip code is not a relevant reason to change one’s view on whether funding is deserved. So reveling in the hypocrisy charge here isn’t for the sake of feeling hate toward someone or to score points on a vice, but to show that someone’s not been an honest arbiter with reasons. That’s what’s happening here. It’s not schadenfreude, it’s not ad hominem abuse. It’s evidence that someone doesn’t proceed fairly. That’s what it shows, and when your constituency is suffering, you understand the role of government support. That’s what the hypocrisy charges amount to.