Joe, you are spot on. A “hypocrite” could technically behave consistently with what he proclaims while not really believing it. This is why Jesus referred to some hypocrites as “white washed tombs.” In the words of Bob Dylan:
“When the deeds that you do
Don’t add up to zero
It’s what inside the counts
Ask an war hero.”
This is why King David, though deeply flawed, was not a hypocrite. He really did believe adultery was wrong, but Bethsheba’s beauty could weaken even the strongest will.
Ironically, the real hypocrites seem to be Rachel Maddow and like-minded critics. For given their view of liberal autonomy and the sanctity of “personal choices,” it seems fair to say that they really do not believe that outsiders can condemn the judgments and private acts of others since Maddow et. al. do not actually believe there is one correct view of a rightly ordered life. Yet, Maddow and company do not hesitate to issue stern judgments about the inconsistency between the beliefs and the behaviors of people like Sanford, as if there was one correct view of a rightly ordered life. But, as we know, Maddow and company really don’t believe that. Consequently, they, and not their objects of ridicule, are the real hypocrites. It seems, then, from my vantage point that Maddow and company are opportunists who see morality as a wedge for political gain rather than as an end that ought to be pursued for its own sake.
None of this means that Sanford gets off scot free. The man is one strange bird. The only saving grace is that his Argentinian sweetheart may turn out to be a wise Latina. :-)