It was a short conversation, but annoying in so many ways.
In what twisted universe is Obama's choice not to show up for the staged photo op in Paris anywhere near the same as a twisted Texas Representative's tweet comparing Obama to Hitler?
In CNN's universe, apparently.
John King leads off the false equivalence parade by flogging Obama and his administration's decision to send the US Ambassador to France (who I guess is just small fry) to the staged "solidarity" photo op in Paris.
KING: That they should have sent somebody more high profile, perhaps not the president, there's a huge security undertaking of that, but maybe the vice president, maybe Secretary Kerry should have tweaked the schedule.
So the White House is on the defensive about this and Congressman Randy Weber comes to their defense, shall I say. Politics 101, life 101 -- don't make Hitler jokes, don't make Hitler comparisons.
So you see, we're talking about optics here. And somehow optics are the only thing that matters when a Texas representative blurts something hateful and disgusting. This, to John King, isn't so much disgusting as it is just stupid, just like the White House decision to let the Ambassador represent the United States in Paris. Here's how King framed it:
But Randy Weber, Republican congressman from Texas tweeted this, even Adolf Hitler thought it was more important than Obama to get to Paris for all the wrong reasons.
Obama couldn't do it for the right reasons. Can't you just say the president either should have gone or should have sent somebody high- profile instead of bringing Adolf Hitler into the equation?
And then Ed O'Keefe makes it a "Washington" problem. Because optics.
O'KEEFE: Once again, Washington has found a way to insert itself into something it didn't need to. The White House could have sent somebody and the House Republicans yet again have somebody shooting their mouth will cause them at least a day's worth of criticism.
You would think by now that the White House would have figured these types of things out and that House Republicans or at least leadership would be telling the rank and file don't do stuff like this. It's politics 101. He hasn't taken it down.
In the most crass of moments, he's probably thinking this will only lead to good things for me. It will draw more attention to me. This isn't the kind of attention you want and it's certainly not the attention that John Boehner wants for his caucus.
KING: It's in a word, stupid.
Weber isn't going to take down his remark when the international conversation is all about free speech, even when that speech is offensive. He saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He could be as offensive as he wanted to be, drop some red meat on the base and his constituents, and claim immunity from criticism because free speech. Of course he left it up there, and of course he doesn't give a damn about what anyone really thinks of it because his constituents love it.
For the Villagers, the level of outrage about a thing defines whether that thing is equivalent to another thing, regardless of the substance. This is how they get to the 'both sides' conclusion.
It works like this: A thing happens and the right wing goes ballistic. The outrage is so loud that it grabs the attention of just about everyone and so the thing then becomes a News Thing.
At the same time, a truly outrageous thing is said by a right winger, but the substance of the response never becomes The Thing To Be Outraged By, because the wingers are sucking up all the outrage points Villagers can award. So the Truly Outrageous Thing becomes A Thing Both Sides Do, because clearly, both sides are outraged.
Never mind that there's actual substance on one side -- equating the President with Hitler is actually outrageous -- and nothing of substance on the other. Had Obama or Biden attended that march it would have become That Thing The Obama Administration Wasted Taxpayer Money Attending, and major outrage would have ensued. Then Weber would have tweeted something about the President palling around with socialists and Palestinian terrorists, causing Genuine Outrage, which would then cause John King to say, "Golly, gosh, both sides!"
This is their world. We just live in it.