False Equivalence Watch
Yesterday, Bill Keller compared Senator Ted Cruz to Abbie Hoffman. Oh?
Hoffman and all the rest of the New Left never gained serious national political power.* By contrast, Cruz is one of the most powerful people on the planet and in a position to do genuinely serious harm - like, you know, shut down the government.
And today, here's Joe Nocera:
A party controlled by its most extreme faction will ultimately be forced back to the center. The Democrats learned that when Walter Mondale was losing to Ronald Reagan, and Michael Dukakis to George H.W. Bush.
Huh? Does Nocera seriously believe that Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis were backed by nut jobs on the level of Cruz's and Rubio's constituents? And what's this about Reagan? Nocera seems to think that Reagan represented a centrist position in American politics and that Reagan's "moderation" - not his rhetorical cunning and training - was the reason he trounced an "extremist-backed" leftist like Mondale.
Say it ain't so, Joe. You're just kidding, right? Right???
*And not because many chose not to, as Gitlin implies in the Keller article, but because, for a variety of reasons, the left couldn't get elected. The nearest that the politically ambtitious SDS-er Tom Hayden came to the US Senate was a close second in 1976. That's like saying "I almost opened for the Stones."
By contrast Cruz won. Some would call that a distinction with a difference.