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Keep your eyes open

I’m glad Mustang Bobby reads Bloody Woolly Kristol so I don’t have to. But I can just feel a progressive meme building, and that bothers me.

It goes like this. “Some wingnut thinks A. Therefore A is not true.”

The logic nerd hat envelops me like the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts. Just because a wingnut — Rove for instance — says something does not make it true. The opposite also holds. Just because some wingnut — Kristol for instance — says something does not make it false.

Progressives have been falling into the second fallacy a lot. Wingers make a big deal out of the Middle Eastern mistreatment of women, so it must not be a real problem. (The truthful take would be to agree regarding mistreatment, but to point out that their racist hypocrisy bulges out because that’s the only sexism they ever worry about.) Progressives ridiculed worries about the SPP. As far as I can tell by following Chet Scoville’s links, the SPP had to be okay because the anti-immigrant hysterics didn’t like it. (Again, the truthful take would be to point out the real problems with both the SPP and the anti-immigrant hysteria.) Now it could be Obama’s turn. There must not be anything wrong with him because Kristol says there is.

Yes, Kristol is a whiny little wannabe. But the evidence about Obama is not good. He makes beautiful stirring speeches, and motivating people is an important function of leadership. But what he’s done is work with the coal industry for liquefied coal fuel subsidies, help the insurance industry gut Illinois’ universal health care attempt, used one vote out of dozens to pretend there is a big difference between him and Clinton on Iraq, and so on through a near-endless list. (Actually, maybe there is a big difference between him and Clinton on wars of aggression. I’ve never heard her making off-the-cuff remarks about bombing Pakistan.)

So, sadly, there’s an element of truth to Kristol’s nonsense. Obama is making a lot more out of himself than he should. That’s like saying he’s a politician. The only real thing Kristol punctures is the desire to believe that seems to motivate many Obama fans. No, Obama is not a big change. Yes, he’s a right-of-center Illinois pol. So what? If you feel he’s a better choice than the other pols, then you vote for him. But he is a pol. We’re supposed to be the reality-based community, so let’s face that.

Crossposted to Shakesville, where commentary is accumulating….

Technorati Tags: Obama, Kristol, election, 2008