Thursday, January 05, 2012

Today in False Equivalence



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 
...
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.
are to be found right in Mr. Frum's comment section) but why bother?

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...

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.

7 comments:

wjbill49 said...

I continue to be amazed at how many people can not see the men behind the curtain ...... still D!

Blotz said...

they should have sent a poet...

Bongo Shaftsbury said...

Both office workers ARE equally crazy. They're both in hell, serving the same master. In this scenario, the only sensible option is to repent your sins (quit the job)and put your trust in a boss that loves you unconditionally.

E'Ville Mike said...

Nobody "buys the difference" between your product and the other guy's product, but until the prospect is convinced there is a difference, you won't overcome that objection and you won't get any closer to making the sale.

You're doin' it right, driftglass. Keeping sellin' the difference.

Anonymous said...

Your analogy is so spot on. I have actually quit watching any coverage of the primaries because my "suspension of disbelief" button broke somewhere about the time of the 465th debate.
They all look more and more like cartoon characters to me anymore...
It's like the media has undergone some kind of "psychotic break" with reality. The things the candidates say, that are analyzed as if they were actually reasonable political discourse. Do away with child labor laws? Why yes lets discuss that insane idea as if it were a real thing. "I would definitively bomb Iran!"..Lets cover that on the round table.
As a function of exposing the public to just how truly nuts these people are, having the debates and primaries dominate the news cycle, is in some ways, quite wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Dear drifty and readers:

Pretty much a non-sequitur, this; sorry.

Though not entirely*. I'm wondering:

1) whether there could be a surge of '99% candidates' the way there was of teabagger candidates.

2) whether they could get elected (why or why not.)

3) whether, if such a block were elected, they would be a help or hindrance to long-term progressive goals.

*It's not entirely out of context because even in this post there are still echoes of the lively recent debate over take-what-you-can-get-before-you-lose-it-all vs. demand-more. (Interesting controversy.)

Any discussion would be much appreciated by yours truly..

Ebon Krieg said...

Poetry, did someone mention poetry...

Truth Novus

It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.


"The Americans have promised us a better life,"
"But we get only death."
Gunshot wounds to the head,
Nothing remains,
But a brute stare of nothingness into nothingness.
"The Americans give us advisers,"
"And blame and death..."

It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.

The gangs of thieves are salivating,
As the house gives up its treasure.
Empty the vaults,
Pawn the silver,
Throw a few crumbs onto the street.
This path, untoward and maldirected, leads to a festering pit of tyranny,
Take my freedom but leave me be and I will be a "Good American."
The gang of thieves depends on it...

It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.

Hot winds are blowing...
Irrigated by oil,
The sowing of guns proceeds aplenty.
And the heathen shall be driven from the land,
By a "just and merciful" hand.
Too many gods,
Not enough gods.
The righteous have spoken,
We are damned...

It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.

The words are spoken and written,
In a Babelesque cacophony of chaos.
Nothing is everything or something, maybe.
Images of heads spouting blather and lies,
Masks of death and Masques of Death.
A mimicry of life and love long since past,
Reality and truth have parted ways...

It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.

Black ops and copters, white hats and skin,
"You're with us or against us,"
And the middle ends.
We'll throw a few more virgins on the campfire,
Blood, sex and too many wrecks.
Never to forgive what we never remember...


It is the policy of death and atrocity,
As an empire fails.
Nolo Contender,
As we swoon never-ender,
On a suicide Bender.