Bob Woodward is very upset with all the "hyperbolic, ungenerous rhetoric" in the presidential campaign, especially from Donald Trump, but you know, he worries that Both Sides Do It, don't they? On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Woodward grumped that while Trump has definitely said a lot of untrue things -- like calling an American president "the founder of ISIS" -- he also warned that people who oppose Trump are pretty terrible too, because Bob Woodward is A Idiot. Immediately after mentioning a Washington Post story iIt's really good; you should read it!) documenting how lawyers in a court deposition caught Trump in lie after lie after lie -- 30 lies proven in the one deposition -- Woodward pivoted to the many equally bad moral failings of Trump's critics:

I think it's gotta be said this is not just about Trump. A lot of the people who really are opposed to Trump, I think, are engaged in some excessive rhetoric also.

As a f'rinstance, Woodward cited a New York Times column by Thomas Friedman about Trump's "Second Amendment people" comments in which Friedman compared Trump's remarks to overheated rhetoric in Israel in 1995:

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated.

His right-wing opponents just kept delegitimizing him as a “traitor” and “a Nazi” for wanting to make peace with the Palestinians and give back part of the Land of Israel.

Woodward had some problems with Friedman. He was fine with Friedman calling Trump "a disgusting human being," which he deemed a "reasonable opinion," but then fretted that Friedman had gone over the line into Trumpian excess when he said "His children should be ashamed of him." That was simply too much for Woodward, because What About The Children? Won't Anyone Think Of The Children?

For 40-plus years of looking at politics, I've never -- at least I can't recall an example where somebody said the zone of protection provided by the children, let's take that down and let's get the children in here to denounce and be ashamed of their father. That makes no sense. So, the excess is feeding both sides on this.

Well, yes, saying someone's adult children should be ashamed of a man who's hinting and winking at assassinating his political opponent -- no matter how much he insists he isn't -- is exactly the same as the hinting and winking. Shame on you, Hillary Clinton, for making a New York Times columnist say such awful things about the children, or at least how they should react to their awful father. Of course, with the exception of Barron, who is ten and smells like fish eggs (through no fault of his own), all of the Trump "children" are in their 20s and 30s, and for that matter are part of his campaign staff. They're also at least slightly saner than Trump, so invoking them seems a matter of asking someone to apply the brakes to the crazy train, not that it will help.

As for Mr. Woodward's 40 years of looking at politics, he must have snoozed through the parts where Barack Obama's daughters weren't merely told they should be ashamed of their dad, but were called "skanks" and accused of first-degree vacationing with malicious intent. He also missed the time in 2012 when Ann Coulter insisted Mitt Romney was losing so hard it was time to “go after” Sasha and Malia, the time Glenn Beck went after Malia (then aged 11) and imagined her asking her dad why he hated black people, and of course the time Fox's Eric Bolling "just wondered" if we'd think differently about Benghazi if Sasha and Malia had been bloodily wiped out by mortar fire. (We think we would wonder why small children had signed up for inherently dangerous military/diplomatic duty in a war zone, is what we'd think.) It is just possible Bob Woodward is full of shit, too.

In any case, there's your moral equivalence for the day: calling the president a terrorist is the inevitable result of people saying loose talk of assassination is a shameful thing. Let's all watch our tone, shall we?

[TPM / WaPo / NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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