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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hypocrisy in mocking Boehner's tears

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

In a cute movie called "Bedazzled," Brendan Fraser plays a heartsick young man trying to woo the girl of his dreams, and Elizabeth Hurley plays a fetching variation of Satan who offers to help him for the usual going rate of one soul.

The gag is that every time Fraser thinks he has figured out what the girl wants, it turns out she wants something else. He tries to be strong only to find she wants someone sensitive. He tries being sensitive, and she wants a brute.

I've been thinking about that movie since a band of usually emotional liberals started razzing a conservative for being emotional. I realize that consistency is in short supply in American politics; some people don't think twice before changing what they say they believe.

Still, I wasn't expecting to see some of those on the left, who usually say how great it is that some men can display their sensitive side and show their emotions (see: Phil Donahue), ridicule House Speaker-elect John Boehner for doing that very thing.

If I didn't know better, I might think it had a tad to do with the fact that Boehner is a Republican. But that would mean that liberals maintain two codes of behavior -- one for those on the left, and one for those on the right.

Liberal media commentators -- most notably, some of the women on ABC's "The View" -- have attacked and ridiculed Boehner for repeatedly crying in public, whether on the floor of Congress or during media interviews such as the one Boehner recently did with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes."

"View" co-host Joy Behar childishly dubbed Boehner the "Weeper of the House." The show's matriarch, Barbara Walters, played therapist and diagnosed Boehner as being afflicted with "an emotional problem."

No, Barbara. Here's the problem: Most Americans have good memories, and so they'll recall when liberals used to insist that a politician showing emotion was a mighty good thing. Let's return to 1992, when Bill Clinton burst onto the national stage, bit his lip and started blubbering up a storm. Those on the left thought this sort of thing was grand, and they compared it favorably with the man whom Clinton defeated: George H.W. Bush, who was much more stoic and often said that he was raised not to show his emotions in public.

Apparently, Clinton was raised differently. In fact, both in office and since leaving office, Clinton has done so much crying in public that it's part of his persona. Clinton cried at the church service after the Oklahoma City bombing. He cried at the funeral for Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. He cried in appearances after the Monica Lewinsky affair came to light. As a former president, he cried when his wife, Hillary, spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention after she had lost the party's nomination to Barack Obama. (Continues here)

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