Wednesday, July 20, 2016


When I saw the headline of Ron Fournier's latest -- "Why the Republican Convention Is So Mean" -- I thought, Wow, even the king of Both Sides Do It realizes that the GOP has reached new depths of awfulness.

Then I saw Fournier's subtitle:
Both parties are trying to convince undecided voters that their candidate is the lesser of two evils.
Yup. You and I think the GOP has gone completely insane -- dangerously insane -- but the problem, according to Fournier, is in both parties:
This is an unusually negative convention -- a low-blow infomercial focused far more on why Americans should vote against Clinton than why they should vote for Donald Trump....

Why is the convention so negative? For the same reasons next weeks’ Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia likely will be an anti-Trump orgy.

* The 2016 electorate includes an unusually large number of undecided voters.

*Most of those voters hate both candidates.

*Both campaigns think their path to victory is to win almost by default -- to make their rival the most feared alternative....

Clinton faces a similar challenge. Her strategy depends on persuading Americans to vote against Trump because he is temperamentally ill-suited for the job, a liar and a bully who enriched himself by gaming the legal system and taking advantage of other people.

She has a credible case, but Democrats could go too far.

Shouts of “fascist” from the convention floor, for example, would be the Philadelphia analogue of “Lock her up!” Smug dismissals of Trump’s populist approach and policies might be viewed by undecided voters as an indictment of them.

Trump's advisers privately hope that Clinton and her fellow Democrats overreach on the issue of racial division, specifically by yielding the convention stage to black activists whose appearance could be construed as anti-police...
Do you see what Fournier does there? He invokes things that have actually happened during the Republican convention, then says they're equivalent to things he thinks Clinton and her supporters will do at the Democratic convention. Voila! Instant false equivalence!

In order to make this case in an honest manner, Fournier should have waited till next week. After a couple of days of the Democratic convention, we'd know whether it was as negative as the Republican convention. But Fournier knows it probably won't be, so he's making his Both Sides Do It case now, while it still seems plausible to gullible readers.

No one is going to shout "fascist" from the floor of the Democratic convention, unless the whole convention is time-warped back to 1972. There aren't likely to be "smug dismissals of Trump’s populist approach and policies" (what policies?), though there ought to be speakers who call out Trump as a phony friend of the common man. And I don't know what Fournier means by "black activists whose appearance could be construed as anti-police" -- to the right, anyone who ever acknowledges police misconduct is "construed as anti-police," even if it's done in the mildest and most responsible terms. Trust me, no one at the convention is going to call police "the enemy," a term applied to Black Lives Matter by Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke, a Republican convention speaker.

In short, the Democratic convention is going to be nothing like this:
In the past 48 hours, the Trump campaign and the GOP have:

* Invited a C-list actor who called Hillary Clinton a “cunt” on Twitter to speak on stage.

* Invited another C-list actor to speak on stage, only to have him run to the cameras to call President Barack Obama a Muslim.

* Invited Ben Carson to speak on stage, where he called Clinton an agent of Lucifer.

* Encouraged a party-wide consensus that their presidential election opponent should be in jail.

* Blamed Hillary Clinton for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi.

* Plagiarized a speech Michelle Obama wrote eight years ago, then lied about it.

* Shrugged it off when a Trump adviser and party delegate called for Hillary Clinton to be shot -- executed -- for treason.
Will mean things be said about Trump at the Democratic convention? Sure, though no one's going to say he should be jailed or killed. Will positive things be said about Hillary Clinton? Absolutely -- and by people she's not related to. That alone will make the Democratic convention different from the Republican convention. Also, Democrats will talk about policy ideas intended to make life better for ordinary Americans -- something that still hasn't happened at the Republican convention.

Shorter Fournier: Both sides do it -- or at least one side is going to do it just the way the other side is already doing it, I swear to you.

Reality: One side is doing it. The other side won't.


Tom Hilton said...

Fournier's column is basically the print version of what he was saying on MSNBC the other night (as I restrained myself from throwing things at the television). He really is the most deranged both-sideser in the whole pundit class right now.

Steve M. said...

Yeah, I see that Heather at Crooks and Liars beat me to the punch by posting the clip.

Victor said...

How do we judge?
There are so damn many of them.

I'll grant that he's ONE of the worst.

KenRight said...

Trump would have seen to it that the convention would have gone appreciably easier on Sanders had the Dems had the courage to do their own dutiful elite cleansing and finish the job.

Erik C. said...

There's no need for "cleansing," Ken.

Roger said...

"He invokes things that have actually happened during the Republican convention, then says they're equivalent to things he thinks Clinton and her supporters will do at the Democratic convention."

Not only things he thinks they will do, things they could do. This seems to be very common in recent years, speaking of possible risks as certainties. "QE could possibly pose a risk of higher interest rates and rising inflation" == "QE has already proven to produce runaway interest rates and inflation like the Weimar Republic."

Aunt Snow said...

Seems obvious - following a hideous and hateful Republican convention, what would be the most constructive thing for Democrats to do is present an uplifting and positive conventions, contrasting with the ugliness of the Repubs. Not rocket science, I don;t think.

Victor said...

For Ken, Aunt Snow, it's rocket surgery.

Never Ben Better said...

LOL, spot on, Victor.

Ten Bears said...

I don't know, Erik, seven billion people on a planet that can barely sustain one. While I am confident there is a better solution, I expect more of the same regardless who you people "elect": more War. It has in fact been promised, it's the only thing you know.

Feud Turgidson said...

After RNC nite 1, the Plagiarisma, I suggested that may well prove the high water mark of this convention.

Well, Day 2 the big news involved pretty much two things: 1) the sure fire way to get to jobs jobs jobs is incite a mob into Lock Her Up, and 2) Ailes is out.

And now Day 3 is the Nite of the Cruz Betrayal.

Winning ...

Never Ben Better said...

At the rate this is going, Feud, I'm beginning to suspect it will climax with a gun battle on the floor.

Green Eagle said...

Shortly after the end of night three, I saw Chuck Todd and Nicole Wallace on MSNBC seriously proposing that Ted Cruz's speech would turn out to be- wait for it- "good for Trump." I felt I was in some sort of malignant time warp, or in a world where ludicrousness no longer existed.

Get ready for four months of this.

Gerald Parks said...

This asshat wants to insure in the minds of RW whites ...if you see Blacks in the DNC Convention ...they are "militant" Negros!

He knows that in their minds ANY and ALL African AMERICANS are "militant" 1st until proven "not so much" in a court of THEIR public opinion!

Noted examples are Carson, that Sheriff and possibly the Preacher who gave the opening prayer.

Gart Nilis said...

So now these clowns aren't even waiting for it to happen before declaring both sides do it?

Is Ron Fournier some kind of psychic? Sheezus.