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Charges of “Whataboutism”: A Pet Peeve of Mine

I see this accusation a lot on social media. Some have collectively decided to rename “rooting out hypocrisy and naked partisanship” as “whataboutism.” When I first saw it, I thought it was weak. It was pointed out that it was a Soviet propaganda technique, but while the Soviets used it to cover up their much deeper sins, they weren’t always wrong about the flaws in our own society. This expert from the linked article strikes me as quite right:

If the intent of asking the “what about” question is indeed only to change the subject to protect a politician, then it’s exactly what critics contend, an effort to distract, deflect, or rationalize.

However, making a comparison is justifiable if it’s to flesh out the principles of a person silent about the conduct of a politician he likes while contending that hanging’s too good (figuratively speaking) for a politician he dislikes.

I’d like to think we can all agree that having perverts in public office is a Very Bad Thing. But many of the people saying that have covered for and defended perverts in public office for years, and have only now taken to rooting them out because they are becoming a political liability. Alabamans appear to be overlooking Roy Moore’s sins. Why wouldn’t they? Dems partisans are happy to sweep the Clinton’s and their allies aside now that they aren’t politically useful. But Al Franken? Hell no, not him. They need him.

I am not trying to argue that Roy’s just fine because Al’s a perv too. I think both of them are unfit to hold public office. In better times, we’d probably get some broad agreement there. But these are not better times, rather a time of political realignment. As a certain blogging law professor likes to say, “We have the worst political class ever!” And as we all go through this realignment, this cold civil war of sorts, we sure do.

19 Responses to “Charges of “Whataboutism”: A Pet Peeve of Mine”

  1. Richard says:

    There should be an investigation but accusations do not equal guilt especially when the alleged incidents were long in the past.

  2. Thirdpower says:

    Standing ovations and petitions to free Roman Pulanski.

    Need one say any more?

  3. FiftycalTX says:

    Gee, I guess you are looking for a PA version of “the committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice”? Or “religious police”. You know the ones that walk around with canes and smack woman that don’t cover their hair and are too “uppity”? And I guess you would promote a LAW that prevents too much “age difference” between people having sex? Roy Moore may have had a penchant for “younger women” 40 years ago. But they have been married 32 years. That seems like a “successful marriage”. Now if there is any EVIDENCE that he is STILL chasing 12 year old girls, that may be a thing. But a “statement” from some woman after FORTY YEARS and NO EVIDENCE to back it up, which happens AFTER the deadline to put another name on the ballot is more than “circumstance”. Oh and Moore was a DEMOCRAT 40 years ago.

    • RAH says:

      Moore at 32 was an eligible bachelor . He was established with good income and a catch for any female Girls at 17- 18 do date and get married Marriage age is as low as 15 in Alabama. So his dating was mote for licit purposes. Elvis married Priscilla at a very young age.
      These accusation were designed to destroy a GOP candidacy Classic October surprise The GOP leadership ran like rats like they did after Access Hollywood tape came Out

      Trump despite his tawdry behavior has done a lot of good so far So he was the better choice

  4. Zundfolge says:

    “Alabamans appear to be overlooking Roy Moore’s sins. ”

    No, Alabamans are saying Roy Moore has no sins to overlook and that the Dems (and establishment GOP) are lying about him.

    There is a difference.

    • SDN says:

      THIS. My family lives in AL and the general attitude is that WaPo and Vichy Mitchy aren’t going to tell them how to vote based on obvious lies.

      • aerodawg says:

        Ehh, I live in AL I don’t think Moore is anything close to a good candidate and generally think he’s unqualified. At the same time I’m not going in and pulling the lever for Doug Jones just to give Chuck schumer and his merry band of nitwits another cog in their machine.

        Gonna need a lot of bleach to feel clean when I leave the polls next week…

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

        Which is because the media has lied so many times in the past about Republicans, they have no reason to believe them.

        This is a real world example of the boy who cried wolf.

  5. TS says:

    It is really gross how divisive this country is, and how politics supersedes almost everything else. If the most important thing is to keep these sexual deviants out of office (which I tend to agree with), then these cases need to be treated that way- instead of as a political tool to get your guy in office. If the Roy Moore allegations were released during the primaries, republican voters would have a chance to vote their conscious AND vote (R), which would be the best chance to use this information in the most powerful way to keep a possible sexual predator of underage girls out of office. But clearly the Washington Post cares more about Doug Jones getting the seat than Roy Moore NOT getting the seat.

    Same with the Access Hollywood tapes. We’d probably be talking about President Cruz if NBC didn’t strategically release the tapes in an attempt to get Hillary elected. Yet the left stands on their pulpit with indignation that America could elect someone who said those things to the highest public office. It’s because you made the voters weigh that information against Hillary, that’s how.

    I’m also irritated by the constant misuse of terms. The conflation of sexual harassment with sexual assault- and the conflation of assault to rape. We also see the misapplication of the word “pedophile”, which in my mind the about the worst accusation that could be made. The accusations against Roy Moore are unconscionable, but there is a special level of Hell for people who sexually abuse pre-pubescent children. It’s bad enough how often “racist”, “white supremacist”, “fascist”, hell even “communist”, is flippantly thrown around. Lets at least treat the word “pedophile” seriously.

  6. Will says:

    “We’d probably be talking about President Cruz…”

    Nope. Not nearly enough people were looking to put another GOPe into office.
    You know that old drawing of the tree with lots of politicians hanging in it? Last year, I was thinking the choice was Trump, or that tree. And I wasn’t a big fan of Trump.

    • Mike says:

      No, we’d be talking about president Hillary and wishing that Cruz hadn’t been accused of harassment last October.

      This business of accusing every Republican running for office of harassment without proof every October has got to stop. The only way that it will stop is if it doesn’t work. I didn’t work for Trump. It looks like it won’t work for Moore. Frankly, I don’t care if the allegations are true or not. I’m not naive enough to expect moral leadership from politicians. The Democrat/Communist agenda has to be stopped in the long run it is literally a matter of life and death.

  7. Allegations that just appeared after the GOP primary seem very suspicious.

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