Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Double Standard in a Nutshell

Peter Beinart at The Atlantic:

What the Ukraine scandal reveals about Donald Trump is by now well known: He elevated his political interest above the national interest and demanded foreign interference in an American election. What’s received less attention is what the scandal reveals about Joe Biden: He showed poor judgment because his staff shielded him from hard truths. If that sounds faintly familiar, it’s because that same tendency underlay Hillary Clinton’s email woes in 2016. Clinton and Biden differ in many ways. But beneath each candidate’s marquee scandal lies the same core defect: insularity.


"When Republicans act criminally and/or corruptly, it's because they're criminal and/or corrupt.

"When Democrats act criminally and/or corruptly, it's because they're just poor, temperamental, out-of-their-element naifs who of course had no criminal or corrupt intent, but whose staffers -- whether negligently, or out of concern for feelings or fear of offending -- didn't button their winter jackets for them, take them by their little mittened hands, and walk them across all those busy, dangerous legal/ethical streets."

There are a couple of obvious problems with that narrative.

One is that in the case of Trump vs. Biden and/or Clinton, the latter two are the two with decades of experience in government behind them, while Trump is the one who never held appointed or elected political office until 2017. If there's an argument from lack of experience/knowledge of the rules, it favors Trump, not Biden and/or Clinton.

The other is that the "just a poor, temperamental, out-of-my-element naif who wouldn't remember that it's wrong to murder a kindergartener with an ax unless a staffer got in my face about it" descriptor is an argument against, not for, entrusting considerable power and authority to the person it describes.

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