Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Sunday New York Times op-ed page is dominated by two sections of mini-essays on the midterm elections, "How the Democrats Can Win" and "How the Republicans Can Win."

And, y'know, there's something rather familiar about some of the pro-Republican arguments, but ... well, I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

This, for instance, from Jay Heiler, chief of staff for former governor Fife Symington of Arizona:

And while Mr. Foley is a Republican, the electoral Rorschach test on sin and morals skews rather against the left. For us the thing is a shame, but for them it's more or less a policy. In a turned-around way, Mr. Foley’s behavior might remind a lot of conservative people why they need to vote.

And this, from former Dan Quayle speechwriter Lisa Schiffren:

As for spending, there should have been much less of it. [The Republican] base is livid about this -- though it confirms what we think about the evils of government. If someone brings it up, remind voters that, while the Republicans have spent like a drunken sailor, Democrats will do worse, cold sober.

What is it that this reminds me of?

Oh, yes -- now I remember:

...a high point both for "The Daily Show" and contemporary satire more generally came shortly after The New Yorker published Seymour Hersh's 2004 expose, "Torture at Abu Ghraib." ... [Rob] Corddry explained to [Jon] Stewart, his voice that of a schoolteacher instructing an uncommonly simple-minded child:

Jon, there's no question what took place in that prison was horrible, but the Arab world has to realize that the U.S. shouldn't be judged on the actions of a ... well, that we shouldn't be judged on actions. It's our principles that matter; our inspiring, abstract notions. Remember, Jon, just because torturing prisoners is something we did doesn't mean it's something we would do.

That's what Heiler is saying about Republican sexual harassment of high-school-age pages, and what Schiffren is saying about the utter inability of Republicans to balance a budget: Just because these are things we did doesn't mean they're things we would do. Moreover, the fact that we did them means you should vote for us, because you can tell how awful they'll be just by looking at our appalling behavior.

Sounds convincing to me!


UPDATE: The spelling of Lisa Schiffren's name has been corrected.

No comments: