EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 28, 2013

Column: ‘Exploitation’ is business as usual for politicians

Another collision of political exploitation and hypocrisy occurred this past week. They happen regularly, are frequently funny and almost always pathetic.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., personified that dubious tradition with his demand that pending immigration reform legislation not be “exploited” by concerns over the Boston Marathon bombing. More on that in a moment.

At one level, this is just business as usual. Politicians are by nature hypocritical – they don’t consider it a flaw, but more of a survival technique. If someone from an opposing party or group does or says something wrong, they are filled with vocal outrage. If they, or someone from their party does the same thing, they are either silent, defend it, excuse it or explain it away.

Politicians also politicize everything; it’s in their DNA. It’s what they are, not just what they do.

So when the two collide, it is not unusual, but still entertaining.

Following the Boston bombings, which the FBI says were committed by two ethnic Chechen immigrants, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argued that “important national security questions” should be addressed before Congress enacts immigration legislation.

Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promptly accused Paul and others of exploiting the tragedy to delay the bill.

“Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hardworking people,” he snarled.

Oh, the horror. What a finely tuned moral compass. It’s just that Leahy’s indignation about this issue seems to have blinded him to the almost nonstop exploitation by President Obama of last December’s heinous shootings in Newtown, Conn., committed by the mentally deranged Adam Lanza.

We have not heard a peep out of Leahy while his party’s leader, in pursuit of his gun-control agenda, has brought exploitation of tragedy to a new low.

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