A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess…. an act or instance of hypocrisy.
It is a cliché that people don’t always practice what they preach.
It is probably a cliché that politicians tell people what they want to hear. Or tell people what they think will be most damaging to an opponant.
There are rarely such clear demonstrations of why political hypocrisy leads to derision than this.
Currently, just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20% would describe government programs as being well-run. And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55% of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.
With rhetoric like this, opinions like that are not surprising.
The term originated in Greek in reference to actors (Political Hypocrisy, Introduction, pdf). The term extended from theatre to religion as a reference to “individuals who did not actually believe what they were saying” (p 8). Hypocrisy is the use of a persona to generate a false impression. Hypocrisy like this exhibited by McConnell damage democracy because vice leads to a generalize loss of trust, a rational response. This is not “virtue” in the sense of acting in a polite manner.
But the concept is much older, perhaps as old as human nature.
These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Matthew 15:8