Surfing False Equivalence

If you follow the back-and-forth on the tube today, the thing to watch is the GOP effort to surf false equivalence about the government shutdown Republicans have provoked in order to give themselves leverage they otherwise would not have.

Every time you hear low-information Women and Men on the Street express frustration over politicians “behaving like children” and having “sandbox fights,” you are hearing a vote for a “compromise” between the disabling of Obamacare and the appropriations status quo (including a sequestration most Democrats oppose) to resolve the “crisis.”

Every time you hear highly-paid pundits complain about “extremists in both parties” creating “gridlock” and “stalemate” and economic peril, you are hearing the scrape of a chair being pulled up to a table where Republicans will have a “seat” to present their demands as though they are one side of a difference of opinion.

Since the White House and congressional Democrats have refused to cave right away, and the initial polling looks really bad for the GOP, false equivalence is their best and perhaps only weapon. Watch it fire again and again.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.