Mostly, it’s something grubbier and more depressing. People who argue that perjury is a grave crime against the rule of law, until it’s their own guy getting caught. People who have two completely different standards for reasonable judgements about evidence: absurdly stringent when the political opposition seems to favor a claim, promiscuously loose when it’s a case that favors their own perspective. People who have one view of what constitutes unwholesomely “political” interference with good governance when it’s the other guys (or some “corrupt” regime in the Third World) and another view when it’s the home team.
I don’t know what to say in those kinds of conversations any longer. I can’t just keep coming back to them with faith and hope that men and women who have the capacity to think clearly and behave ethically will eventually reconcile their political commitments with some kind of consistently held standards. All I need is even a small sign that this could happen to keep thinking it’s worth it to look for a way to talk. But I’m precisely the chump that I have been accused of being if I continue to agree that (for example) perjury is indeed a serious crime, and that Bill Clinton’s perjury was a serious issue if all that gets is derisive laughter when it’s time for others to pay off their own prior declarations of serious, serious concern with that crime.
It really is depressing. Given that civic respect is the core political virtue - the basis of a healthy democracy - partisan hypocrites are simply being evil. I'm serious: there's nothing worse. (All political evil is ultimately an extension of civic disrespect.) No matter how repugnant your first-order views, they will remain safely unimplemented as long as you respect procedural constraints and the normative acumen of your fellow citizens. But once we turn our backs on reasoned debate, and engage in rhetorical warfare designed merely to manipulate each other, all bets are off.
Outcomes decided by power rather than reason will, of course, be predictably worse. But, more than this, unreasoned politics is degrading -- a corruption of our potential as human beings. When partisans engage in lies and manipulation, they are treating us merely as a means, in violation of Kant's categorical imperative. They deny our political agency -- our ability to make discerning and ethical judgments, and to thus contribute to the collective decision-making process. They might as well spit in our faces while they're at it.
I'm encouraged that most people are turned off by partisan politics. They recognize the dishonesty and disrespect, and want no part of it. Unfortunately, most then turn away from politics altogether, leaving the vicious scumbags to reign supreme. Given that politics is the scene of important decisions - decisions that affect the lives of millions - we can't really afford to turn our backs on it like that. Instead, we must reclaim the public sphere in the name of consensus politics, deliberative democracy, and basic civic respect. (Easier said than done, perhaps. Yet all it would take is for more of us to speak up and insist on these minimal principles. Our present predicament only exists because our social norms don't yet recognize civic evil as beyond the pale. Silence is enabling.)