Political Animal

Blog

August 29, 2013 5:08 PM A False Equivalency Fable

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t quite know how to describe Jim VandeHei’s new “Behind the Curtain” column at Politico without giving you a taste of its very strange texture:

Imagine Dick Cheney in a “Saturday Night Live” skit fantasizing about Barack Obama handling the pressures of going to war.
Cheney’s sitting there, yucking it up with Rummy and the boys, eating yellow cake. He laughs off his own reckless rush to an unwinnable war fought on flawed grounds. His thought bubble pops up.

The “thought bubble” turns out to be VandeHei’s lengthy account of how Obama has batched the runup to possible military action in Syria, whereby he makes many of the same mistakes Bush and Cheney did while trying very hard not to.

It doesn’t quite cross the Noonan Line for peculiar argument construction—few writers are capable of that—but it’s close. Digby thought of a different model:

Maureen Dowd he ain’t. In fact, this is such a bad version of her patented schtick that it’s hard to figure out exactly what he’s trying to say here.
It appears that he thinks there’s some magical Goldilocks approach to all this that wouldn’t be a “parody” of the excessive right wing or a “parody” the girly-men of the silly liberal approach to military power. (I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means…) But if he does think there’s a middle ground between the stalwart he-man Cheney and waffling girly man Obama, I wonder why he hasn’t bothered to tell us what that is? Surely, they must have discussed it in “this Town” somewhere over the last few days.

Shoulda known: in his flight of fancy VandeHei wrote a False Equivalency Fable and couldn’t think of anywhere to place it other than in Dick Cheney’s brain:

The skit ends with Cheney grimacing:
“Live from Washington — it’s NOT Saturday Night.”

What a knee slapper. I don’t think VandeHei is destined for Hollywood.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

(You may use HTML tags for style)

comments powered by Disqus