Saturday, July 06, 2013

Catching Flies

Like grandma's nightshirt,  "Both Sides Do It"-ism can cover almost any damn thing 

From the opinions of privileged Whig Conservative guys:

But since Mr. Brooks' Centrism is like unto Vampirism in that if he does not feed constantly --  if he doesn't wedge some insipid, fact-free Centrist claptrap into every single thing he says and writes every single day -- he will burst into flames and disappear in a puff of Broderian stink, wealso get this:
Obama made his case beautifully. He came across as a prudent, nonpopulist progressive. But I’m not sure he rescrambled the debate. We still have one party that talks the language of government and one that talks the language of the market. We have no party that is comfortable with civil society, no party that understands the ways government and the market can both crush and nurture community, no party with new ideas about how these things might blend together.
You can almost hear the tears in Mr. Brooks' voice as he chokes up for the lost opportunity.

Oh if only President Obama had carefully counterbalanced each word eloquently spoken about the power of and critical necessity for collective action with another word about the  merits of individual enterprise and the practical limits of government. 

If only the President had taken the opportunity to say something like this today!
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. 
If only...
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 
If only...
To the opinions of privileged Republican-trying-to-broaden-his-appeal guys:
In case you missed Jon Stewart's award-verging "interview" with Marco Rubio, here is your rush transcript of Senator Rubio's answer to Jon Stewart every single time Mr. Stewart tried very respectfully to point out that Senator Rubio was, um, lying, and that the relentless, pathological obstructiveness of the Republican Party was unmatched by anything Democrats have done in modern history. 

"Both sides..."

"Well, you know, both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."

"That's just politics..."

"The Democrats left us no choice..."

"Both sides..."

"Democrats and Republicans..."

"Both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."

And so forth, to the point of being comical.

Like every other Republican culture war criminal, Senator Rubio has been conditioned within an inch of his life to always answer any question about the unique perfidy and hypocrisy of his political Party with the Big Lie of Centrism and to refuse to stop repeating the Big Lie of Centrism until the questions stop regardless of circumstances...
To the opinions of privileged Libertarian guys:
Very flexible, this Both Siderism.  Very versatile.  Stimulant and depressant.  A dessert topping and a floor polish.  Water absorbent and water repellent.

It also has the additional virtue of being both fun and effortless.  Like Mark Twain catching flies, from the supine comfort of the Both Sider hammock, any problem that buzzes along can be snatched out of the air and blandly asserted to be equally the fault of both sides.  And if that one doesn't prove your point, well, just grab for another.  And if you miss that one, another will be along in a minute.  And another.  And another.  Doesn't matter which one you get because, as Twain said, any fly he got was always the fly he wanted.

But if your Great Big Idea comes to little more than incessantly bitching about the irredeemable and perfectly equivalent evil of both parties -- if your program for reforming the system consists of asking Democrats to deliberately tank elections and get more Republicans elected because then something something sweeping reforms something something liberty -- then expect to get asked questions about things like this -- 
You know this story by now. The North Carolina legislature, which has been on a tear this session anyway, mounted a stealth attack on women's health. Like their brethren in Texas, North Carolina legislators magically morphed an anti-Sharia bill into an anti-abortion bill in Texas tradition, threatening to shut down all abortion clinics but one. And like Texas, it was a deep bow to their dominionist extremist Christian coalition partners.
The legislation would now allow any health care provider to opt out of providing abortion-related services, prohibit health plans offered through federal health care exchanges from offering abortion coverage, outlaw sex-selection abortions, require doctors to stay in the room during the entire abortion procedure, force abortion clinics to obtain patient-transfer agreements with local hospitals, and mandate that abortion clinics meet the same stringent standards as outpatient surgical centers.

-- which are going on across the country every day and are almost always being enacted along straight party lines:
Flanked by a group of other male officials, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a contentious two-year budget bill into law on Sunday evening. The governor vetoed 22 amendments to HB 59 before approving it, but he left intact several provisions that will severely limit women’s reproductive access.

The new budget, which takes effect on Monday, includes at least five new anti-abortion provisions. HB 59 will defund Planned Parenthood clinics, reallocate family planning funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers,” strip funding from rape crisis centers that give their clients any information about abortion services, impose harsh restrictions on abortion clinics that will force many of them to shut down, and require doctors to give women seeking abortion information about the presence of a “fetal heartbeat.”

Taken together, the budget amendments ensure that Ohio now has some of the most stringent abortion laws in the nation. In a press release, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards blasted Kasich’s decision to approve HB 59′s abortion-related amendments. “Like Governor Perry in Texas, politicians in Ohio knew they couldn’t pass these unpopular measures if they played by the rules — that’s why they tried to bury these provisions in the pages of a must-pass state budget,” Richards pointed out in a statement, referring to the legislators in Texas who continue attempting to push through abortion restrictions during a special session. “If they thought no one was looking, Ohioans proved they were wrong. Texas lit a fuse.”


steeve said...

The duopoly thing never made any sense.

This country fixates on two parties like a strange attractor. So if we exterminate the insane party, the democrats won't be left running things by themselves for long. A challenge will inevitably arise, and since the party we just killed was on the right, the challenge will be on the left.

Step one on the road to any liberal's agenda is getting rid of the republicans.

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Once again:

The Good Cop is not your friend.

The Good Cop wants to park your carcass in the Crossbar Hilton, just like the Bad Cop does.

They work together; they simply use different tactics.

Pinkamena Panic said...

Speaking of the Cult of Both Sides, here comes the High Priest of it now - Cap'n White Rich Male Privilege himself!

lockswriter said...

Only the Snowflake Baby Party can save us now.

Lit3Bolt said...

"Both sides do it" has become the ultimate excuse, rationalization, and cop-out in American politics. This leads people down many strange paths, including,

1) Not voting, because both sides.
2) Voting for any and all 3rd parties, regardless of merits, because both sides.
3) Not making a difference at the local level, because both sides.
4) Being reflexively anti-American, because both sides.
5) Voting for Democrats when Republicans are in power and vice versa, regardless of merit, because both sides.
6) Continuing the horrible, no-good, flawed policies of previous Congresses and administrations, because both sides, so why the fuck not?
7) Regardless of what Republicans and Democrats objectively do, they are essentially the same, because both sides.
8) Supreme Court justices are all the same, because both sides, regardless of the partisan divides that are obvious yet verboten.
9) It's not worth paying attention to issues or laws, because both sides.
10) All politicians are the same, because both sides.

"Both sides do it" is the most pernicious idea in modern American politics.

ScarabusRedivivus said...

The “both sides are equally wrong” schtick is the reverse side of the coin whose obverse is that “fair and balanced” reporting treats both sides of an argument like, say, human agency in global warming are equally qualified, rational, supported by scientific evidence, and honest.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

In effect Brooks is saying, “No one in either major party understands how to govern. How can I tell they don’t? Surely that’s obvious! I’m smarter than they and I have a much deeper understanding of both political science and economics.”

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Re NC and sharia and abortion, I posted an editorial cartoon about that this morning:

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

While I was but a wee lad at the time, I recall reading that the actual Left in the Vietnam War era caught the same kind of flak from the Establishment pseudo-Left that us DFHs who won't drink the Red or the Blue Kool-Aid are catching now:

"You ingrates don't realize how much the Democratic Party has done for you! Why can't you be good little patriots and support the Forever War" yadda yadda yadda.

Most of those pseudo-liberals became neoconservatives eventually.

Congratulations to all of you on your bright futures as the neocons of the 2020s.

Anonymous said...


My opinion is heavily influenced by being a non-Christian and non-heterosexual, but let me say this.

The Good Cop can blame his malevolence on the Bad Cop. The Bad Cop, in this case, is pro-torture, pro-poverty, and pro-apocalypse. The Good Cop may be a greedy elitist bastard, but the Bad Cop is a psychopath who wants to watch the world burn.

While the Good Cop may be of the Property and Wealth Class, the Bad Cop hangs out with the Klan and the Taliban, and gleefully poisons the communal well.

We cannot make any progress while the Bad Cop is swinging a nailed bat and his goons are throwing Molotovs.

The Good Cop has some serious issues, but even if the Good Cop is as malevolent as you say, and I do not believe that is the case, the Good Cop is used to the Bad Cop doing all of his dirty work.

And to steeve's point... Taking away the psychopath will cause the Good Cop to either show is true colors, or have to start dealing honestly.

Then on to Steeve, I see no problem with that. The only "radical left" I ever get thrown in my face is Code Pink. The right has their racists and militias, the left has their middle-aged women who want to end wars. For all the talk about the "radical left", I have yet to have anyone tell me what is so scary, unless they are a racist or dominionist (and I'm not making that assumption here). Clean energy research? No problem! Robust education? No problem! Universal healthcare! No problem! Same-sex marriage? No problem! An end to petro-wars? No problem! Ending tax exemptions for political churches, and campaign finance reform? No problem!

The only things I hear about the horrible commie left are utter nonsense about how the base tax rate will be 90%, there will be no private ownership, and all business will be annexed by the government. All of this is utter crap, and cannot be done. Generally, though, it is more bigoted and dominionist fear that the country will tolerate brown people, atheists, and the Militant Homosexual Menace will force mandatory daily musical routines, and every heterosexual will be forced to memorize at least three episodes of "Glee!" and have a mani-pedi.

To paraphrase the song, what is so terrifying about peace, love, and understanding?


Fiddlin Bill said...

The ALEC/Koch counter-revolution aims at making the constitutionally ratified (via Roe V. Wade) women's right to medical care, including abortion, separate but "equal" in exactly the same way that we not so long ago had many states operating segregated school systems and white/black water fountains and separate waiting rooms and all the damn rest of it. It is a bald-faced challenge to the federal government's power to enforce Supreme Court judgment. And it may be a real politic fact that, today, the federal government has been so reduced that it cannot enforce Roe V Wade. If so, the counter-revolution has succeeded, and with the recent voting rights decision, we may be returning to de facto segregated schools, "public" now more and more equaling "poor and/or brown."

n1ck said...

Yo Dawgs!

We can totally get rid of both terrible sides like the Saint Glenneth Greenwaldians preach to us!

All we have to do is make sure that not 1 single vote is given to either side! It's just that simple!!!!