Kinsley on False Choices

by Caleb Stegall on November 2, 2010 · 2 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Short

Michael Kinsley amps up Patrick’s “false choice” rhetoric (which I responded to a bit here):

Everybody will be talking in the next few days about the “message” of the elections. They mean, of course, the message from the voters. This is one of the treasured conventions of political journalism. Yesterday, the story was all about artifice and manipulation, the possible effect of the latest attack ad or absurd lie. Today, all that melts away. The election results are deemed to reflect grand historical trends. But my colleague Joe Scarborough got it right in these pages last week when he argued that the 2010 elections, for all their passion and vitriol, are basically irrelevant. Some people are voting Tuesday for calorie-free chocolate cake, and some are voting for fat-free ice cream. Neither option is actually available. Neither party’s candidates seriously addressed the national debt, except with proposals to make it even worse. Scarborough might have added that neither party’s candidates had much to say about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (except that they “support our troops,” a flabby formulation that leaves Americans killing and dying in faraway wars that politicians won’t defend explicitly). Politicians are silent on both these issues for the same reason: There is no solution that American voters will tolerate. Why can’t we have calorie-free chocolate cake? We’re Americans!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar John Médaille November 3, 2010 at 12:05 am

Some people are voting Tuesday for calorie-free chocolate cake, and some are voting for fat-free ice cream. …Politicians are silent on both these issues for the same reason: There is no solution that American voters will tolerate. Why can’t we have calorie-free chocolate cake? We’re Americans!

Ronald Reagan perfected the art of speaking to the American voter: they would get a tax reduction financed by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse”; no actual programs would need to be cut, no given constituency would have to be embarrassed. The final word in American political wisdom goes to that great intellectual, Dick Chaney, “Deficits don’t matter.”

avatar John Dunn November 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I find myself arguing with my liberal friends today who are already up in arms about the Deficit Commission’s preliminary report. I point out that we are all against mortgaging the environment into the future for our pleasure and convenience today. Why then are they not against mortgaging our financial future…again and again and again?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: