09 August 2011

The Mismatch

Among the political punditry tactics I find most infuriating, the one I'll focus on today is what I call "the mismatch".

A mismatch is a valid tactic in many cases.  In war, skilled commanders will always try to defeat their enemies through favorable mismatches (and avoiding unfavorable ones) when possible.  The phalanx was vulnerable to cavalry, which could flank it.  Insurgents lure tanks into cities, where they are most vulnerable.  In basketball, there's the pick-and-roll.  Football, soccer and any other formation sport utilizes mismatches, although they vary in complexity.  The point is, it's easy to succeed when you successfully pick your opponent based on known weaknesses.

I've seen this in political discourse; in one particular odious example, the media set up an argument between an pro-abortion activist and a corporatist economist about economic policy.  What the hell was the activist doing up there??  Yes, the left certainly has its loony fringe -- the science-fearing, alternative medicine, save-the-whales idiots who basically oppose any economic activity they don't understand (which is just about everything).  The right also certainly has its fringe, the science-fearing, bedroom-legislating corporatists who believe business can do no wrong and government can do no right (never mind they're both run by humans).  Both sides also have their legit arguments and smart people, so it's easy for the media to rig any left-vs.-right argument with a pre-determined outcome.  If one side steamrolls the other in debate, it's usually by design.  I've noticed a recent change, though. . . lately both sides have been represented by stupid.  I don't really know if they have a bias so much as a despicable desire to turn politics into spectator sport.

The difference, though, is that the loony left didn't just hold the entire U.S. economy hostage for six weeks.  I'm hearing my right-leaning friends whining about how the Tea Party is always represented on TV by idiots, but that's precisely the problem, fellas -- all the leaders of the Tea Party are idiots!  The media can make the left look stupid any time and it does when it wants to, but in the case of the Tea Party they really don't have a choice.

P.S. If you want to know how unbelievably stupid the Congressional debate on the debt ceiling was, read up on Modern Monetary Theory.  We basically almost ran our economy into the ground over nothing.