Double Standards


1. Karl Rove this week: Palin has plenty of relevant experience to be VP. Karl Rove a few weeks ago: Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, former lt. gov., former mayor of Richmond, VA, does not have adequate experience to be the VP nominee and would have been a “purely political” pick.

2. Right-wing commentators (e.g. Dick Morris and Nancy somebody, McCain’s campaign senior policy advisor) this week: The questions about Palin are “sexist” and she is unfairly facing increased scrutiny because she is a woman. Right-wing commentators when HRC was running (including both of the above and, well, actually, Palin herself back in March of this year): Women running for office should not complain that they are being unfairly attacked because of their gender, they should learn to take it like a man.

3. Bill O’Reilly in December when Jamie Lynn Spears announced she was pregnant: The blame for this is on the parents. Bill O’Reilly this week on Bristol Palin’s pregnancy: Millions of people are dealing with teenage pregnancy, and it is a personal matter. We wish the family well.

So, in summary:

1. Experience or the lack thereof only matters if you are a Democrat and therefore unqualified to hold elected office in any event.

2. Sexism in the media is only wrong if it is directed against a Republican.

3. Teen pregnancy is a reflection on the parents of the teen unless one of the parents in question has just become the great white hope for the Republican party, in which case it’s personal and no one should judge it.

This is precisely the kind of thing that makes my head explode.  How can this kind of hypocrisy be justified?  Personally, I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other on any of the above three issues.  But I don’t think I would think differently based on the politics of the people involved.  Experience as a mayor and governor either matters or it doesn’t.  Women candidates should either be treated fairly or they should buck up and get over it.  Teenage girls getting pregnant either reflects the quality of the parenting they’ve had or just that teenagers are horny and careless.

None of this is to say that people on my side of the aisle don’t have double standards, but isn’t this a tad ridiculous?

Yes, the source of the above facts was The Daily Show from last night (annotated with detailed video clips from those in question). I need my news with a side of snark. How else will I get through the next four years?

Note: this post was edited after it was first posted.  The original version conflated double standards and lying, and my intention was to focus on the former.  Maybe I’ll take up deception another day.



22 Responses to “Double Standards”

  1. J D Says:

    There is no regard for honesty whatsoever…

    sorry Sandi, after the Clinton years of lies and deception … this is hoo-hah.

    However, I would join with a statement that most politicians are liars… politicians of all kinds.

  2. Sandi Says:

    Hi JD, I must have been editing as you were posting. I realized after going back and reading what I wrote that I was conflating double standards and dishonesty, which are two related but separate things. I’m not sure what you’re referring to about Clinton (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”?). But I do stand by my statement that the level of dishonesty is not comparable between the two parties.

    I don’t think politicians start out as liars. I think our political system forces them to try to be too many things to too many people. Those who won’t play that game, like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, are marginalized and made fun of. This is an unfortunate reality of a two-party system. There are advantages to it, also, but political candor is not one of them.

  3. Whitney Says:

    I’m not even addressing anything Sandi has said except to say this: I feel exactly the same way except I see it directed TOWARD Republicans. So, to each his own. For all of us, our perceptions are always colored by our preferences unless it is completely heinous.

    An-y-way. Being marginally apolitical I just sort of scan articles, etc. And then, I only really read MSNBC because it is bookmarked on my browser. In an article I was just reading, this popped out at me, and made me so HAPPY!

    “The audiences for the Obama and Palin speeches were bigger than the ones this year for the Academy Awards, the finale of “American Idol” or the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.”

    That, regardless of which side of the red-blue line you’re on, is promising!! People in this country are finally paying some attention to what the people who want to lead us are saying. Granted, our politics-colored glasses will largely lead us to receive whatever is said in a way that easily assimilates with what we already think or believe, but at least people are paying attention!

    (Hey Terry–if you’re apolitical, does that make you purple? I really like purple.)

  4. Terry A. Says:

    Well, OK… but no Teletubbies. And no Barney. Or Prince. Or Colorado Rockies. And no Kobe Bryant.

    On second thought, how about if we just go with a nice taupe?

  5. urbino Says:

    But your avatar is purple. And features triangles.

  6. Jamie D Says:

    Is it Dodger Blue or Purple, I always forget.

    I’m neither Republican or Democrat and I really hate it for Palin’s daughter. It’s tough to be 17 anyway but to play out this part of her life in front of a national audience has to be incredibly scary and hard for her. I do think it’s interesting that the McCain/Palin people want to show the Palin family on TV as much as possible, but then come back with leave the family out of this.

    I think both sides are so full of double standards and so deep in the pockets of lobbyist and special interest groups that nothing is really going to change.

  7. Whitney Says:

    What Jamie said!
    And heh…Terry…did just notice your avatar is a purple quilt piece.

  8. Terry A. Says:

    That’s why I hang out with Jamie D. all the time. He speaks truth to power.

    Not that any of you are powerful. Although Al and Jody palling around with the Anderson-Lee family is pretty close.

    I think I’ve got the perfect choice for those of us who opt out of the red/blue identification system:


  9. Terry A. Says:

    Can’t… shake… this… blasted… purple… avatar!

  10. terryaustin Says:

    Well, this is much more decent, I must say.

  11. Michael Lasley Says:

    This is a big deal, I think, not because both sides are innocent, because they aren’t. The lefties on this site called out Hillary pretty hard during her campaign. JU called all kinds of foul on Obama a couple of months ago (the communications bill?).

    It’s a big deal because Republicans have made their living the past 8 years at least by claiming they do NOT do this sort of thing. They don’t flip-flop. They don’t change their positions. They are steady and constant and right. Bush won the last presidential election pretty much on the fact that Kerry “flip-flopped”, or to put it a bit more generously, changed his position on an issue after carefully considering it (or getting more info). Republicans accused him, rightly or wrongly, of simply switching positions when it was a better position for him politically.

    These instances of double-standards are a big deal, I think, because Republicans have made them a big deal for the past decade. But suddenly, when someone questions that strategy, they are leftists who are blinded by partisanship and falling for the liberal mainstream media.

    The whole experience thing. Hillary started it, and it was stupid. But. McCain ran an add a month ago about who do you want answering the phone at 2 a.m. And then, to pick someone who has less experience that would enable her to deal with that self-same situation, that should be explained. Why, suddenly (and it was suddenly), is that not important to Republicans? (It never seemed to be as big a deal with Democrats, at least not the Obama campaign.) Years and decades of preaching the evils of unwed teen pregnancies are suddenly NOT important? That is a serious reconsideration of an entire philosophy by the Republican party and noone from the Religious Right or Republican party seems to be thinking about how their embrace of Bristol Palin (which is a good thing, I think) in any way contradicts how they would react (and have reacted to, say, J.L. Spears) to an unwed teen pregnancy if the unwed teen’s last name wasn’t Palin. They need to do this – if not so their own philosophy makes sense to them, at least so it makes sense to the rest of us. Because they are reacting in a completely opposite way than they normally would. I forget Sandi’s other instance of double-standards.

    Every candidate should have to answer for their discrepancies. No candidate should hide behind the “well, the other side did it first” defense. And these are double-standards that should be addressed and not be dismissed as simply leftist being overly sensitive. If Obama has discrepancies that the Right thinks needs to be addressed, he should address them. I’d start with the communications thingy, the off-shore drilling stuff, the thing Joe linked to earlier about Obama’s legal-yet-shady manipulation of the Chicago election system – those are all big deals, too, because they aren’t just about that particular issue – they are about a philosophy of government that Obama’s actions don’t match up to.

    But these are big deals, I think. And they are a bigger deal since Republicans pride themselves on NOT participating in the behavior of flip-flopping.

  12. Whit Says:

    Love the new look, Terry. I laughed out loud.

  13. alsturgeon Says:

    I love you guys.

    In week 2 of law school and my head hurts too much to think about how to add anything coherent.

    But taking a break to hear cool people on both sides of issues talk intelligently about things is awfully refreshing.

    Now you’ve gone and made me cry.

  14. mrspeacock Says:

    The audiences for the Obama and Palin speeches were bigger than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.

    Really? I was in such a state of post-Olympic depression that I didn’t even realize it was Democratic Convention time until there were about 5 minutes left of the thing. Now if Michael Phelps had been speaking, I would have been so tuned in!

  15. Sandi Says:

    Whitney, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. The three issues I cited were very clear instances, backed up with video documentation from the people named, where high-profile Republicans “changed their minds” on an issue because it suited their political predilections to do so. If you have examples of Democrats doing something similar, then by all means, share them. If there are examples of left-leaning commentators being inconsistent on the issues for political reasons, then I have a problem with that too. That’s what I was saying — you can feel one way or another about the issues, but you can’t change your mind based on whether you think it’s going to help your candidate win an election. This is one of the things about Hillary that I didn’t like, and part of the reason I supported Obama in the primary. Of course, he’s not perfect on this count either (see, e.g., offshore drilling). But the scope of the problem does not appear to be comparable.

  16. DeJon05 Says:

    Sandi, and all…

    I am quite sure Whitney does not want me answering questions on her behalf. And so I am not attempting to answer for her. But I find your question engaging.

    And I make no point of hiding how the GOP convention made me both sad for that half of America and mad that people out there think it makes good political sense to scream “Drill, Baby Drill.”

    However, I do recall the GOP party employing the “flip-flop” charge and winning a presidential election largely because of it. I firmly believe that there are plenty of left-leaning hacks that have employed the same situational arguments that the Daily Show exposed the GOP hacks as employing.

    What I think is interesting is the added level of hypocrisy in the Republic posture. They look down their noses at liberals and progressives, and point out the plentiful shortcomings and misgivings. They do it with disdain and disgust the way the Bourgeoisie would look down on lower-class citizens. Even worse the GOP don’t flaunt monetary wealth, but moral superiority.

    I firmly believe they would make the Pharisees proud.

    I know both sides are guilty even though I’ve failed to produce examples of Democratic missteps.

    But I find the way Republican hacks hide the ball of morality to be even more objectionable than just your every-day political tomfoolery. Morality should not be a pawn in our political games.

  17. Sandi Says:

    I think the difference, Dejon, is that the major issue they were using against John Kerry was one where his position evolved based on new information, something about funding the war (my memory is admittedly fuzzy on this). I don’t deny that his positions on other issues (abortion, gun control, others I’m forgetting) were spun or tweaked to make them more palatable to a larger group of voters. I doubt his positions changed that much, but how they were packaged probably did. Moreover, the charge was pure hypocrisy. Their own candidate had originally run on being a “uniter not a divider.” Which is not to excuse it — to the extent that he did change positions on anything out of political expediency, I equally decry it.

    I’m sure there are left-wing “hacks” out there who spout all kinds of gibberish on television. But I doubt they get even one-tenth the airtime of right-wing hacks. I don’t watch TV talking heads from either side because I hate seeing people yelling and interrupting — it stresses me out.

  18. urbino Says:

    Thanks, Mikey. You did a much better job of saying what I was trying to say.

  19. Whitney Says:

    You can answer for me, Dej. That’s where I was coming from too. It’s the double speak from both sides that I’m sick of. I’m sorry, that was a bad sentence. I have a migraine and work piling up. Hope you all have a great weekend. FOOTBALL!!

  20. Michael Lasley Says:

    Anytime, JU.

    I understand being tired of politics and politicians. But I don’t think McCain deserves a free pass because everyone supposedly does it. Where are Obama’s 180s on issues? He’s had a couple, and he’s at least tried to explain his new positions. And he could have a lot more, for all I know. (I think I mentioned this in my last comment, but Joe’s link about the early election — I actually want to know more about that.)

    Honestly, I keep up with all of this less than anyone else here, most likely.

    And I guess I’m not speaking to Sandi’s actual post. Where is Obama holding McCain to a certain standard (like experience) and then doesn’t think he should live up to that same standard.

    Plus, this is the Maverick! On board the Straight Talk Express! I think voters deserve an explanation for these evolutions in his thinking.

  21. urbino Says:

    Plus, this is the Maverick! On board the Straight Talk Express!

    You forgot to say, “My friends.”

  22. urbino Says:


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