Be deliberately obtuse

That’s one of the key rules if you want to Argue Like a ConservativeTM . For instance, the thesis of this column by Hendrik Hertzberg couldn’t be more clear:

One might imagine that all of this had the makings of an old-fashioned, months-long, television-friendly Washington scandal — not as important, obviously, as, say, the Iran-contra affair of the nineteen-eighties, but more so than, say, the flap about the dismissal of several employees of the White House travel office in 1993. One would probably be wrong. The non-Fox cable news outlets began to pick up on it last week; msnbc even assayed a special logo, “Gannongate.” A better name for it, though, would be “Nothinggate,” because nothing is what is likely to come of it. What all the memorable scandals of the past thirty years — real and fake alike, from Watergate to the Clinton impeachment — have had in common is that the opposition party controlled at least one house of Congress, which gave it the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. If Bush ends up having an easier time of it in his second term than any of his two-term predecessors since F.D.R., it won’t be because the scandals aren’t there. It’ll be because the tools to excavate them are under lock and key.

However, in order to Argue Like a ConservativeTM , you have to ignore Hertzberg’s obvious point and focus solely upon his coinage of the word “Nothinggate”, as if that coinage settles the matter: “See! Even liberal Rik Hertzberg thinks this is a big ‘Nothinggate’!”


Oh, and one more thing that’s been bugging me: why do so many rightwingers seem to think that being gay is exactly the same thing as being a gay prostitute — i.e., bringing up G/G’s sordid past is somehow anti-gay? Doesn’t that say more about how the righties view gay people than anything else?