In their attempt to to appear as non-partisan as possible, did Stewart and Colbert push the false equivalency argument a little too strongly? The ‘both sides do it’ argument used by the right to excuse insane rhetoric and/or actions from their side is one that requires constant refuting.
“…if you truly wanted to come down on the side of restoring sanity and reason, you’d side with the sane and the reasonable, and not try to pretend that the insanity is equally distributed in both parties.”
“When Jon announced his rally, he said that the national conversation is dominated by people on the right who believe Obama’s a socialist, and people on the left who believe 9/11 was an inside job. But I can’t name any Democratic leaders who think 9/11 was an inside job. But Republican leaders who think Obama’s a socialist? All of them! McCain, Boehner, Cantor, Palin, all of them! It’s now official Republican dogma, like tax cuts pay for themselves, and gay men just haven’t met the right woman.”
Digby takes a more nuanced view on the rally and what it was really saying.
But I have to defend Stewart and Colbert just a little. The whole rally wasn’t about false equivalency. Indeed, as I wrote at the time, the ironic subtext was a clear and piercing dogwhistle to the liberal tribe throughout. Those of us who follow liberal politics, and especially their shows, knew exactly who they were talking about.
I agree with Digby here but if she’s right, then what was the point of the rally? If the answer to restoring sanity is to pretend that the left is as crazed as the right, then all you’re really doing is giving the right an argument to counter your claims of lunacy from their side. By offering up the false idea that the left is as “crazy as the right”, you have effectively removed any incentive for the right to ever clean up their act.
Last word goes to Maher.
You see, Republicans keep staking out a position that is further and further right, and then demand Democrats meet them in the middle, which is now not the middle anymore. That’s the reason health care reform is so watered down; it’s Bob Dole’s old plan from 1994. Same thing with cap-and-trade; it was the first President Bush’s plan to deal with carbon emissions. Now the Republican plan for climate change is to claim it’s a hoax.
Two opposing sides don’t necessarily have two compelling arguments.
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