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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kilgore: GOP Shutdown Rests on MSM’s False Equivalence

At The Washington Monthly Ed Kilgore has been posting on the Republican’s meme strategy for the shutdown. From Kilgore’s post on “Surfing False Equivalence“:

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.

In another post, “Weapons Dealers,” Kilgore cites some specific examples of false equivalence jockeying, including:

1) WaPo: In shutdown blame game, Democrats and Republicans united: It’s the other side’s fault
2) TIME: Shutdown: Obama and Republicans Trade Blame as Deadline is Crossed
3) Fox: Partial shutdown begins: Can Congress, White House Compromise?
4) MLive: Reactions to government shutdown: Is it “wanton destruction” by Republicans or a lack of compromise from Democrats?
5) USAToday: House, Senate parry on “Obamacare” as shutdown imminent
Maybe such headlines reflect laziness and ignorance rather than silent partisanship, but they are more effective instruments for the GOP position than the fieriest Ted Cruz speech.

In yet another post, “Christie’s Phony Triangulation,” Kilgore nails Gov. Christie for his baloney diagnosis that “No matter where the partisanship is, the failure is in people not bringing people together to get it done.” Christie brags that he would pull everyone together and “say that we’re not leaving this room until we fix this problem.” Presto ! Natch, the MSM took the bait again.
As Kilgore has tweeted, the GOP scam depends on “false equivalence promoted by high-exposure pundits to low-information voters.”

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