Tuesday, October 14, 2014

False Equivalency Strikes Again

I think that it's no secret that I love the Daily Show and its sister show, the Colbert Report. For years, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been a breath of sanity among the increasing chaos of American politics. I don't know how I would cope without their humorous take on current events.

But Stewart suffers from "false equivalency" syndrome from time to time where he apparently feels he has to go after Democrats in order to balance out how much he goes after Republicans. Of course, if the Democrats are being stupid and deserve it, I have no problem with him ripping them a new one. But oftentimes he criticizes them for trivial inconsistencies, while the Republicans are pushing policies that are actually getting Americans killed. (See Medicaid expansion).

Last night was one such time. The clip below is the opening from last night's show where he mocks the Democrats, suggesting that they're hypocrites for outspending Republicans in the upcoming midterm election.

Now here's the thing.

The conservative Supreme Court created this mess in the Citizens United decision which opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign contributions from anonymous sources. Republicans hailed the decision and still support it, while Democrats, in Congress and the Administration, have made it clear time and again that they believe the policies created by the decision are undemocratic and hurt American democracy. The Democrats have made it clear that if they controlled both houses of Congress, they would pass legislation to counteract the decision. Some Democrats are even going so far as to sponsor a Constitutional amendment. Stewart then mocks them for outspending their Republican opponents and *gasp* fundraising!

But, really, what choice do the Democrats have? Unilateral disarmament? Citizens United is the law of the land and while the Democrats could take a principled stand and NOT spend any money during the election, the result would be the loss of both houses and any chance of campaign finance reform. It would be suicide by purity test. How can Stewart not see that?

Maybe he doesn't care. He often falls back on the "It's just a comedy show" excuse. The thing is, this segment wasn't funny because it didn't have that kernel of truth. Believe it or not, you can be in favor of campaign finance reform and still need to spend money to get elected in order to pass campaign finance reform.

If the Democrats took both houses of Congress and THEN did not kill Citizens United, they would have earned Stewart's sarcastic scorn. But until then, the only way they can succeed in getting rid of the undemocratic law is to spend money during elections. Duh.

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