It was said a long time ago, in a different era, that hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.
I would like to think that’s still true, but today’s media and political culture certainly doesn’t operate that way. Today, and really since the 1990s when Bill Clinton couldn’t be defended any other way, it appears the worst thing a public figure can be is a hypocrite.
An example of this I carry with me is Louisiana’s 2015 gubernatorial election, when David Vitter went from a fairly popular U.S. Senator to a blowout loser against a fringe Democrat state legislator not solely because of his past dalliances with ladies of the evening, but probably mostly because of them.
Democrats have burned down the salon’s Yelp page with bad reviews, and for all intents and purposes its owner is finished in business.
But Vitter, who it’s been long rumored had recreational tastes which given our current cultural norms (or lack thereof) come off as relatively tame, really paid the price for his indiscretions because he had built his political brand as a “family-values” conservative. For voters to know he didn’t practice what he preached was too much for Louisiana’s electorate to stand; this in a state which had four times elected the blindingly corrupt satyr Edwin Edwards four times as governor and twice delivered its electoral votes for Clinton, who had been a governor next door and whose rapey sexual pursuits were well known even prior to 1992.
But Edwards and Clinton had something on Vitter. Namely, they “weren’t hypocrites.” They freely admitted they were sleazeballs without moral standards, and in so doing somehow immunized themselves from criticism of their sleazeballery.
It’s OK not to have moral standards, and in fact it’s preferable in politics, because once you profess those you had better meet them on the regular. Values, it turns out, cannot be aspirational.
Forget about the fact this flies in the face of the core teachings of Christianity. We’re all sinners, after all.
I’ve toyed with the idea that perhaps Vitter should have, upon announcing his gubernatorial run in 2015, insisted he be called Davina, as he currently identified as a pre-transitional trans woman, and any criticism of his personal life would thus be explained/condemned as bigotry and transphobia.
Too cynical? Perhaps.
Of course, we then have to examine the case of our House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who makes a broad case as the most cynical, contemptuous and, indeed, hypocritical politician in American history.
To go through all the examples proving that charge would be a book (and a poorly-read one), rather than a column. All we need is the facts of this week.
Which are as follows: California, and San Francisco where Pelosi’s district is located, groans under a COVID-19 shutdown regime which might be the most restrictive on Planet Earth. Within that regime is a severe imprisonment of hair salons, at which no services can be legally rendered indoors.
This has gone on for the better part of six months, but Pelosi’s hair has not suffered. And this week we found out why. Pelosi called a hair salon in her district, which has been all but shuttered under the COVID lockdown, to schedule cosmetological services which may or may not have included feeding the tiny snakes emanating from her scalp. This was done under the watchful eye of the salon’s security cameras, which captured the further fact Pelosi wasn’t wearing a mask while receiving treatment unavailable to average American peons in San Francisco.
The stylist performing services on Pelosi’s outer cranium is an independent contractor leasing a chair at the eSalon, the establishment in question, and black-market blowouts like the one Pelosi obtained are apparently not overly uncommon — these shut-down businesses have to earn revenue some sort of way, after all, and so they’re quietly breaking the law for select clients.
But Erica Kious, the salon owner, was seething over the fact that her crippled venture would be serving Pelosi, who while she doesn’t have any executive power to lock California’s economy down is certainly a member of the state’s ruling cabal and without a doubt supports the strangling of its commerce. Kious decided to leak the security camera footage to Fox News. The public has a right to know when its elected leaders are on video breaking the law, after all.
When the video created a sensation, though, rather than own up to her procurement of special treatment not available to nous autres, Pelosi went on the attack. She accused Kious of setting her up, and instead of admitting guilt over calling for an appointment — or even saying that yeah, she’s losing patience with the shutdown and she’s decided maybe it’s time we started getting back to living our lives — it’s now a Republican conspiracy so broad that it’s penetrated the cosmetology sector in San Francisco. And of course, according to Nasty Nancy, it’s Kious who owes her an apology.
Pelosi’s attacks on Kious have created such a mess that the salon owner has been getting death threats, and Wednesday she told Tucker Carlson she expects to move her business and her home out of San Francisco. Democrats have burned down the salon’s Yelp page with bad reviews, and for all intents and purposes she’s finished in business. Pelosi’s PR attack campaign is so complete that her daughter Christine, an attorney who usually makes news for representing aggrieved women, is now pushing a narrative of Kious as a chronic lawbreaker and tyrannical boss; this from lawyers working on behalf of the stylist who took Pelosi’s appointment.
There isn’t all that much more to say about this. Our readers could easily write the rest.
Should this be that magic straw that breaks the camel’s back and has the kind of natural reach that crushes Democrats in swing House districts they won in 2018? Yeah, definitely. Will it be?
It’s the kind of story people can easily grasp and the morality tale it tells, particularly given the piece where Pelosi’s machine goes vengeful on the salon owner whose business was already on life support, carries enough meat on its bones to build a narrative from.
And that narrative, of Pelosi and her freezer full of designer ice cream as Cruella DeVille, is eminently sellable. Everybody knows she’s bitchy; this proves it beyond a doubt.
The guess here is Pelosi will become very quiet, in the knowledge she’s now a millstone around her colleagues’ necks in those swing districts. And it’s more than a guess that Erica Kious is going to become the next Nick Sandmann; every awful thing that could be said about her will be, some of which will be libelous enough that she’ll be able to sue and receive a handsome recompense.
Perhaps the proceeds will be enough to pay to decorate her new hair salon in Tennessee, where she’s said to be moving. Who would stay in San Francisco after this?