False Equivalence, Delusion-Grade

Tomorrow night is the first Presidential debate, so this seems like a good time to get something off my chest.

I’m fed up with assertions that the candidates are equally flawed, that either would be a “disaster”–as if there is anything remotely comparable between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And I don’t think I’m the only one who finds those assertions dishonest and self-serving.

I understand the propaganda when it comes from people who don’t want to admit, even to themselves, that their support of Donald Trump is rooted in his–and their–bigotries. I don’t understand it coming from people who actually understand that we are hiring a chief executive for an incredibly demanding job, and who disclaim support for Trump, but then say they will vote for a third party or not at all–both actions an effective, if indirect, vote for him.

I participate in a listserv focused on Law and Courts. It’s a conversation between political scientists and law professors whose academic research centers on legal and constitutional issues and the ways that judges approach and resolve those issues. A recent thread about impeachment law included a post from a (male) scholar who expressed his distaste for both candidates in a fashion that suggested such a near equivalency; that post generated a response that is worth sharing in its entirety.

I categorically reject the idea that one could put Hillary Clinton in the same category as Donald Trump vis-a-vis “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Absurd. Clinton has been in public service for more 40+ years and, by and large, has abided by the rule of law governing the offices she was in, the roles she inhabited, and the causes she advocated for. Did she do some stupid, wrong and probably illegal things during some of that time? Yes, she did. Was it above and beyond what similarly situated men have done? Men whom we laud as tireless public servants? No, she did not.

Not only that, she has endured a relentless 25 year campaign to undermine, demean and thoroughly discredit her. I defy any male politician in public service as long as Hillary Clinton to come away from such a microscope with nothing more damning than the email nonsense.

We can and should be vigilant about the rule of law and the abuse of political power. But the double standard on display right now is among the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. I was not a particularly vehement supporter of Hillary Clinton when this campaign started but I bloody well am now.

Sorry. But I just can’t take it anymore.

Like the writer of this post–with which I agree 100%–I was not a particular fan of Hillary Clinton at the beginning of this campaign. My attitude was not based upon her performance in the various offices she’s held, which was in each case highly competent; my reluctance to support her was based upon a concern that she was not–and is not–a gifted candidate.

Not unlike George H.W. Bush (the competent Bush), Clinton’s interest is clearly in governing, and she is uncomfortable “selling herself” on the campaign trail. In her case, the 25-year campaign referenced above has made her defensive and scripted. Understandable but unfortunate behaviors on the campaign trail.

Like the writer of this post, however, I’ve been “radicalized” by the double standard applied to Clinton, the raw misogyny, and the obvious delight in criticizing her every move by our so-called “liberal” media. (Since when is working through walking pneumonia without whining about it a “lack of transparency”?)

There is no equivalency between Trump and Clinton. None.

If you needed an operation, and your choice was between a respected surgeon who had saved numerous lives during a long career during which he had also made a few bad calls, and a local B-list actor with delusions of grandeur who had never performed an operation, ¬†who displayed monumental ignorance of medicine generally and human anatomy specifically, I don’t think your choice would be difficult.

There’s false equivalency, and then there’s monumental intellectual dishonesty.

Think about that as you watch the debate.


  1. William 1 –

    You are one of the most stubborn, hard headed individuals ever to post on this blog! You continue to attack others personally, including me, and accuse us of not knowing what you know or not knowing as much as you know! That leads you to believe that you can yell at the rest of us for not posting on this blog in the same degrading way that you do. You are making a complete ASS of yourself!

    Just because you read a certain book or a certain Newsweek article does not give you the right to assume that you are all-knowing and the rest of us are incapable of obtaining valuable and accurate knowledge from other sources than your choices. How dare you have the audacity to assume that your information sources make you much more knowledgable or aware of the political situation than anyone else.

    If you refuse to believe that others on this blog are incapable of any political knowledge whatsoever, then maybe you are on the wrong blog and should go somewhere else where people don’t mind you insulting their intelligence. When you are able to accept the FACT that you ARE NOT more intelligent than others on this blog and DON’T KNOW everything, you might then be accepted as an equal. Until then I will consider you less than intellectually equal to the rest of us.

    Take Marv’s advice!

  2. Nancy, I admire your willingness to try to find a way to have a sensible discussion with William I. Sadly, your efforts are futile. He’s the millennial ‘s version of Donald Trump. According to him, in order for you to understand the political process, you MUST have read a book he favors. You couldn’t possibly have learned about it from personal experience as an intelligent adult. If we use his “logic”, no one understood politics before the book was written. If that book is the only way to know about politics, how did the author learn enough to write the book? He’s just as much of a narcissist as Drumpf, only less well known. Anyone who doesn’t agree with him is mentally deficient. Everyone is stupid, except him. We’re so stupid that we’re not going to notice that he called us all idiots because he did it subtly with sarcasm and innuendo. He’s a petulant child who is having a tantrum because the majority of voters didn’t vote for his candidate, so he’s going to punish us by doing what he can to defeat the candidate the majority of voters chose.

  3. Well,this isn’t exactly a group of “nice” people. The conceit and contempt is brimming. The tones of white-privilege resonate strongly here. But…we must not talk about race,class et al. We must act as if we are all sheep and act as if America Is Still Great. We all must agree with one another and never criticize the judgements of our party’s elders. The thoughts expressed–I should say the hypocrisy on display– are not exactly what one should find among “Democrats” or the educated. Weak arguments for the favored candidate permeate. This is why the Democrats will lose. And they will deserve to lose. The comments here do underpin that I ‘m doing the correct thing by voting against every super-delegate possible. I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,it left me. Now,it’s the party of the corporatists and their sycophants. I think I know what the folks here are genuinely scared of…….Real change and the leveling of the playing field favoring those less privileged than themselves. My participation here has been an enlightening one for me. I’m reminded of the time when I received an e-mail from Move On.org for a meeting at Champs in Castleton. I thought to myself,Champs….Pfffftt. Many decades ago progressives fought a hard won battle to win a 40 hour workweek. The folks calling themselves progressives today amongst this blog are no where near as courageous,savvy and have the wherewithal to tackle such a formidable task. The Democrats of today would just yell neaner! neaner! at management (from 50 yards no less) and consider that as a justly and effective battle. Then again,most here are of the managerial class so….

    You want an echo chamber? Have at it. Enjoy yourselves. Vichy faux progressives.

    Well ,Marv,when in Rome…..

  4. Back in the day each party could both attack the opposition and defend their own. Republicans now are left with only one option. Their own are indefensible.

  5. I think “Pete” has come close to the answer. Time was (oversimplified, but nonetheless valid) that we expected our elected officials–both parties–to go to Washington, fight like crazy for what they believed in, and then work out an answer to an issue between the two-parties that made no one deliriously happy and no one totally empty-handed.

    It just gobsmacked me in the face that – – – many of us don’t see our government behaving in that way (unfortunately, some good evidence for that, too); now the Trump/Republican complex seems to think it must be all or nothing. How can we progress with that view?

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