If there is one thing that I would call a true pet peeve of mine, it is hypocrisy. Almost every day I examine something that I am thinking or feeling or doing and trying to make it as consistently good as it can be. It's that sort of desire that led to me becoming a vegetarian a bit over one year ago. How can I believe that suffering is a moral wrong and yet contribute to the suffering of billions of sentient beings by demanding their flesh for nothing more than my own enjoyment when there are cruelty-free nutritional alternatives readily available?
And hypocrisy is one thing that I don't find cause to accuse President Bush of very often. Don't get me wrong, he frequently looks like a hypocrite. That's merely the result of pandering to voters. But when it comes to his actual goals - the pursuit of a radical neoconservative/theocratic agenda - he is remarkably consistent. There aren't many decisions he's made that part from these goals. I think that Bush is a morally consistent man, but the morals he are consistent with are utterly abhorrent.
The important thing about moral consistency is that it can't be untempered by reason. That is to say, if you learn that something you once thought was right is actually wrong, you should always be ready to change your values and actions.
This is where Bush fails. This whole discussion is brought on by recent events regarding Tom DeLay and John Bolton. DeLay has more ethics violations being accused of him that just about any public official I can recall in recent years, and there is ample evidence to back them up. I am all for due process; DeLay should be brought before a committee and given a chance to defend himself. But that's not to say that any intelligent observer can't form their own conclusions based on the evidence at hand. Many have. Most agree that Tom DeLay is beyond corrupt.
And yet Bush stands by him. He's called the allegations "minor." In the case of Bolton, the hearing has already been held, and it is clear that the man is a bully and all-around jerk. Even Republicans are shying away from their usual enthusiasm for a Bush noiminee. He's just not ambassador material. And yet Bush stands by him. He's called him "the right man for the job."
Bush is consistent in spite of all evidence and reason, rather than because of it. I think this kind of sick consistency, shown throughout this administration's time in office, is far worse than simple hypocrisy. At least with hypocrisy, you can argue that the hypocrites are struggling with their own values and just aren't really sure of the right course, or even that they don't realize they are inconsistent. But with Bush and his close allies, it is clear that they know exactly what they are doing. Bush chooses to stand by bad decisions and bad people. That is indefensible.