By law, it's crazy to think that: In our view, Melinda Henneberger was right on target—strongly so—in Saturday’s Washington Post.
With considerable accuracy, she described the way the tribe gets mad—but only at those in the other tribe. Below, you see her initial description of this ancient syndrome.
We think this is very right:
HENNEBERGER (3/10/12): It’s hard to keep score in the still-escalating war on women, especially when the two sides in the fight have different standards of what’s insulting depending on who’s insulted.No two acts are ever just alike. Ed Schultz's admittedly stupid act wasn't the same as Rush Limbaugh's tirade. But we’ve been amazed, in the past few weeks, by the endless ways liberals have used the concept of “false equivalence” to reject all criticism of those who play on our side.
The problem is that somehow, a sexist rant is only a sexist rant when it’s an attack on a woman in our own party. Otherwise, we call any comparison a “false equivalence”—and dream up creative ways in which conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut is not at all like liberal TV host Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a slut.
We’ve marveled at comments in comment threads. But like Henneberger, we were also very poorly impressed by what Bill Burton said:
HENNEBERGER: Watch and learn, aspiring parsers, as Bill Burton, a former aide to President Obama and the founder of Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC to which HBO’s Bill Maher has donated $1 million, insists that Maher calling Sarah Palin what many women consider the most objectionable slur to women is nothing like Limbaugh’s slurs against womankind.It’s “crazy” to see a connection there! Oh sorry—to draw “an equivalence.”
As Burton told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “The notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said over the course of his career and what the de facto leader of the Republican Party said—to sexually degrade a woman who led in a political debate of our time—is crazy.”
For ourselves, we love Bill Maher. And no, he isn’t Rush Limbaugh—but Burton’s presentation struck us as extremely dishonest and massively crass. And Burton isn’t some guy on a comment thread. He speaks from the top of the pile.
Following the rule of three, Henneberger made her point again at the end. For ourselves, we wouldn’t throw Clinton into this stew. But her highlighted statement is apt:
HENNEBERGER: This determination to find our political adversaries guiltier of misogyny than anyone on the home team goes back at least as far as Bill Clinton, whose long history of treating women with the respect you’d show a Kleenex was and still is a topic off-limits in polite Democratic company.For ourselves, we wouldn’t throw Clinton into this stew; that involves comparing personal conduct (where the facts aren’t real clear) to public statements. But that highlighted statement is very apt. In the past week, many liberals have shown a great deal of skill at finding that requisite “x, y or z”—the x, z or z which proves to the world that our guy isn’t like theirs.
I often wonder if there’s any wrong action that wouldn’t be defended by political teammates with cries of, “At least he didn’t x, y, or z, like the other guys did.” But if there is a line partisans wouldn’t cross to defend their own, I haven’t located it.
Which proves that it's "crazy" to think so.
Our guys have been like their guy. Within the tribe, you’d rather die than admit it.
Tumulty was on target too: We thought Karen Tumulty’s on-line post was also on-target. The comment thread is loaded with liberals who play the equivalence card.
By law, our guys can't be like their guy. By law, it's "crazy" to think that.