It's the end of the year, and at the end of the year everyone (including us) does a roundup of the crazy that is our politics and media. GQ is no exception. Their roundup of the top 20 crazy politicians is more or less on the mark, but they have a problem: Of the 20 they named, 17 are Republicans. The three Democrats they named came nowhere close to those 17 Republicans in terms of insanity alarm levels.
This should surprise no one, including Republicans and reporters who cover Republicans, and perhaps it didn't, but it has sparked the most blatant example of "bothsider-ism" I've seen in--well, maybe I've never seen it.
GQ's list of Republicans includes Rep. Ted Yoho, Rep. Joe Barton, Senator Rand Paul, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Rep. Glenn Grothman, Rep. Michael Grimm, Rep. Michael Burgess, Colorado State Representative Gordon Klingenschmitt, Rep. Jody Hice, Senator Ted Cruz, State Rep. Kelly Keisling, Rep. Mark Walker, Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Steve King and Governor Paul LePage.
They named Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Hank Johnson as the crazies on the Democratic side.
Regular readers of Crooks and Liars should recognize at least 15 of the 17 names on their list of Republicans because they appear regularly on our front page with fresh crazy, especially when Congress is in session or a campaign is underway. I guess they left Michele Bachmann off the list because she's now a retired politician, but she could easily occupy the top spot and not just for this year. Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker could have made the list, too, but for the fact that there are so many who are more crazy that they actually end up appearing to be sane by comparison.
These Republican politicians are not simply loopy. They're in First Class seats on the Crazy Train, and GQ gave examples for each one. Each linked name on the list here goes to just one of hundreds of articles we've done on them. By contrast, the three Democrats they named were named either because they said something stupid or they have a reputation for being mean to staff members. That in itself is a study in false equivalence, but was presented in a lighthearted enough way that no one should have heartburn.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have serious heartburn and they are not going to sit still while their "best and brightest" are called crazy folk by the likes of GQ. Enter the Murdoch-owned New York Post's retort, listing "crazy Democrats."
Here's where the false equivalence kicks in. Because when you see this list of who the NY Post thinks is a crazy Democrat, the contrast is stark.
Here it is: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Wendy Davis, Rep. Barbara Lee, Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, Kay Hagan, Senator Bernie Sanders, Jonathan Gruber, Mary Landrieu, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid, Mark Udall, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
Does anyone think for a second that any of these Democrats is in any way crazy or holds a candle to that Republican list?
Of course not.
Even the Post couldn't actually cite crazy things. They could only point to things they didn't actually like about those they listed.
Of all named, the only ones that I could sort of agree with are Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, but I also don't consider them Democrats as much as Billionaire Boys with too much time and money. Steve Israel isn't crazy, but he was a terrible DCCC Chairman. Same for Wasserman Shultz. Jonathan Gruber isn't crazy, but he was at worst stupid and at best, impolitic. The others were listed so the Post could take a gratuitous slam at Democrats who scare them.
The Post's retort is a desperate "both sides" play, intended to distract everyone from the insanity that has not just infected the Republican Party, but owned it. Ordinarily I might have let it pass, but I've spent too much time with Murdoch-indoctrinated family and friends over the holidays to do that.
Both sides do not do what those crazy Republicans on that list do. They simply don't. There is a material difference between having ideological differences of opinion and self-indulgent, beyond-all-norms insanity. Democrats don't shut down the government, but Ted Cruz did. No Democrats exorcise demons on YouTube, but Klingenschmitt does. I could go on, but you get the idea.
There is simply no equivalent from the Democrats. None. Anyone who tells you there are similar Dems has fallen prey to the terrible BSDI disease -- Both Sides Do It.
Both Sides do not do it. One side does, and they do it intentionally to create political space to maneuver us farther and farther right.
I'll wait for David Brooks to tell me why I'm wrong about this.
[Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey]