Somewhere in American media, people with high profiles push the False Equivalence lie every day.
Every. Single. Day.
Which is kind of amazing, when you think about it. Impressive, in its own, Soviet kind of way.
Today I guess it was David Frum's turn to pull the plow:
President Obama has engaged in a dubious maneuver to force a recess appointment through a Senate that denies it has recessed.
The president’s action has ignited a fireworks show of Republican outrage. And yes, Obama has here pushed presidential power beyond past limits. But it’s not only presidents who can bend the rules. The Senate has also pushed its powers here beyond the usual limits...
Over the past three decades, we have lived through a prolonged cycle of partisan revenge. Each party pushes the law to score partisan points in ways that would have been deemed unacceptable only just a little while ago. Then at the next turn of the cycle, the other party pushes the law further and wider and even more destructively.Of course this is not true.
Not true at all, and everyone knows it.
There are any number of graphs and charts which I could insert here comparing Republican on the subjects of filibusters, recess appointments and general assholery (some of which, such as a link to this perennial favorite:
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
Saturday 3 September 2011
...are to be found right in Mr. Frum's comment section) but why bother?
But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.
To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.
It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill.
From professional fabulists like Frum and Brooks on the discredited Right, to lavishly remunerated clowns like Gregory and Halperin in the Fake Center, to the priests of the Church of Our Lady of Professional Indignation on the Left, there is far too much cash flow tied up in pretending that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the Left and the Right to let a little thing like objective reality get in the way.
And no amount of howling into that fiscal headwind is going to change this dynamic any time soon.
Still, try imagining you have a job.
Lucky you! :-)
Now imagine you have to share a cubicle with a lunatic.
The lunatic has a hammer, and every time you try to do anything -- anything at all, no matter how innocuous -- answer the phone, use your computer, mail a letter -- the lunatic smashes it with his hammer.
Every time you try to bypass or roll over the lunatic, your boss orders you to leave him alone. Informs you that you are required to work together as a team.
After all, who doesn't love teamwork!
Your boss then pats the lunatic on the head, and docks your pay.
Every time you try to work with the lunatic, he cracks your skull with his hammer, sets fire to your desk and scampers away, giggling.
After which your boss stops by to pat the lunatic on the head again, and cut your pay again.
When asked, the lunatic proudly justifies his behavior be explaining that you are really an arachnid from Tau Ceti masquerading as a human and sent here to murder us all in our sleep in advance of a mass invasion by your fellow arachnids from Tau Ceti. Therefor any hostile action on his part -- no matter how bugfuck or destructive -- is justified.
This country is not broken because you and the lunatic you share your cubicle with are both equally crazy and wrong.
It is broken because too many people have a huge professional, political and financial stake in pretending that you and the lunatic you share your cubicle with are both equally crazy and wrong.