IOKIYAR is an acronym which stands for It's OK If You're A Republican, referring to allegations of hypocritical behavior by powerful members of the Republican party. Someone making this allegation might charge, for example, that a Republican-led commission may grill a Democratic official for days about an alleged ethics violation, but spend only a few hours questioning a Republican official for a similar ethics complaint. The idea is that unethical or illegal behavior by the ruling party is protected by an unspoken IOKIYAR mentality. Clearly, not all Democrats support this concept, and some Republicans might support IOKIYAD: It's OK If You're A Democrat.
One claimed example of IOKIYAR in action concerned the impeachment proceedings brought against former president Bill Clinton, an influential member of the Democratic party. The accusations included lying under oath and obstruction of justice, both in connection to an extramarital affair. The impeachment, which many believed was orchestrated by conservative Republican opponents of Clinton, ultimately failed, but it did expose other examples of political wrongdoing.
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Many Democrats later raised a point that many of the same Republican leaders who led the charge against Clinton on moral and ethical grounds were later proven to have committed similar personal and professional acts. Former Republican representative Newt Gingrich, for example, admitted to having an extramarital affair at the same time he publicly condemned Clinton for the Lewinsky affair. Other Republican officials were named as clients of prostitution rings or outed as homosexuals during this same time period. This hypocrisy gave rise to the derisive acronym IOKIYAR, used primarily by Democratic political pundits and bloggers.
One of the underlying causes of the IOKIYAR phenomenon is the close association between religious conservatism and the Republican party as a whole. Many Republican candidates were elected based on their strong ties to Christianity and the moral and ethical behavior it suggests. Republican leaders who loudly and publicly denounce a Democratic politician's unethical or immoral behavior often cite their own religious leanings as evidence of their own propriety. Under the IOKIYAR philosophy, a conservative Republican caught in a moral or ethical scandal can justify his or her behavior more readily than a liberal Democrat possibly could.
It goes without saying that many Republicans object to this term and the implications behind it. Obviously, IOKIYAD could start to appear on political blogs, if it hasn't already. The essential idea behind IOKIYAR is that hypocritical or morally questionable behavior could be downplayed by the ruling group even as members of another group are vilified for lesser offenses or peccadilloes.