Home > Politics > Charges of Hypocrisy Are Almost Always Overrated

Charges of Hypocrisy Are Almost Always Overrated

You may have seen this Townhall story about the Obama campaign checking photo IDs on your conservative friends’ facebook pages. See, Obama opposes strict photo ID rules at the voting booth but not at his events!

This is a great example of why hypocrisy is the least satisfying critique of a person’s policy preferences. President Obama, and others, favor different photo ID policies at different places because the consequences of those policies differ. What’s next, a Townhall headline that the president approves of checking IDs for purchasing alcohol?

Oh wait.

Anyway, why don’t we go through a couple obvious differences:

  • Voting is a constitutional right. Attending a campaign rally is not.
  • Romney supporters were causing problems at the event. In-person voter fraud is virtually nonexistent and, therefore, not a problem.

Campaign events are for supporters; if a few don’t get in it doesn’t undermine the outcome of the event. In contrast, Voter ID laws may undermine democracy. According to Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania, his party is proud to have passed “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Turzai and the Republican Party might be perfectly consistent in their support for checking IDs, but that shouldn’t absolve them of criticism.

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