One of These Things Is Not Like the Other...AgainShorter Debra Saunders: I know Democrats are, but what are Republicans? (See also: here, here, here, here, here, here...etc.)
This is her schtick. She appears to have stored up every slight, every insult ever directed at her BFF President Bush, and now she continually gropes for some way to turn them back against liberals/Democrats.
Her method is to pick two things that may have some conceptual or semantic linkage, and pretend that they are actually the same thing. To get an idea of what she does, imagine a full multi-course dinner, representing the Democrats, and a week's worth of compostables standing in for the Republicans. Saunders would say something like: "Candidate Obama criticized Bush's day-old coffee grounds, but now that he's president he drinks espresso." Or: "Democrats attacked Bush for his rotting banana peels, but they don't mind eating fruit salad." Or: "The media makes a big deal about Republican eggshells, but they're completely silent when liberals eat omelettes."
So, in Monday's column, we have this:
When activists break the law protesting Republican policies, it is because lefties care so much. But when conservatives act likewise, it's because they are loudmouths and louts.See what she does there? She takes two things that she thinks are treated differently, to the disadvantage of conservatives (because of course lefty demonstrators get such glowing press, while you hardly hear anything about the Tea Party), and then assumes away any possible basis for treating them differently.
You don't have to approve of illegal tactics to recognize that it makes a difference what you're using them for: to expand rights, or to limit them; to promote equality, or to maintain inequality; these things are not the same thing. In Saunders' formulation here, there's no difference between lunch counter sit-ins and standing in the schoolhouse door.
Remember when an Iraqi threw his shoes at Bush - and it was Bush's fault?Also, too? When people respond to their circumstances in seemingly extreme ways, it matters what those circumstances are. If somebody wrecked your country the way Bush wrecked Iraq, you could probably be excused (morally, if not legally) for throwing something much bigger than a shoe. If, on the other hand, you're responding to the passage of a bill you don't like, then violence and threats of violence and violent rhetoric are (and I shouldn't even have to say this) completely beyond the pale.
Note to Debra: Different. Things. Are. Not. The. Same.
Saunders doesn't really matter in her own right, of course. The thing is, this strain of payback for Bush runs through all of the establishment conservative attacks. And the real problem is that the Washington press corps and the editorial writers and the mainstream punditocracy never met a false equivalence they didn't like. As Debra Saunders goes, so go the opinionating classes.