2 + 2 = Banana

That’s Rick Perry’s brand of logic: government is incompetent, and the State of Texas death-penalty machinery is infallible.

Rick Perry, who believes that government never does anything right, and that public servants are overpaid parasites, also believes that the State of Texas is infallible in carrying out the death penalty. Perry says he’s never worried about the possibility of executing an innocent person.

The problem is, I believe him. He really hasn’t worried about that. He’s some combination of moral monster and moral idiot.

Footnote And yes, it’s appalling that the “small government” crowd applauded at the mention of 234 executions, as if their team had scored a touchdown. It’s possible to believe in capital punishment, either as policy or as morality. But cheering for it?

Let’s say it clearly: the Republican activist base consists largely of worshipers of evil. The god they believe in accepts human sacrifice. They call him “Jesus,” but the true name of the god they adore, and who accepts their sacrifices, is Moloch.

[Update: From C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle. (“Aslan” is Christ, and “Tash” is a demon). Aslan says,

If any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.

/update]

And if you think that cheering for death is a fringe position within today’s GOP, ask yourself why not a single candidate tonight dared to rebuke that element of the crowd.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

65 thoughts on “2 + 2 = Banana”

  1. Technically, I don’t think it’s so much cheering for “death”, as cheering for somebody beating the people who don’t even want the worst murderers executed. I could see Democrats cheering in the context of state abortion policy, and is an abortion anything to cheer at?

  2. Right, Brett. Democrats routinely cheer and boast about the number of abortions. Do you really expect anyone to believe the crap you post here? Do you really believe it yourself?

  3. ‘Do you really expect anyone to believe the crap you post here? Do you really believe it yourself?’

    It’s not about persuading, it’s not even about believing. It’s about representing.

    Fandom is not a rhetorical space.

  4. In the spirit of those who defend crocodiles, wolves and sharks from unfair accusations of brutality, and as a resident of a Spanish province (Málaga) named after another Phoenician god (Melkart), may I point out that the charges of child sacrifice to Moloch comes from Hebrew and Greek sources, i.e. enemies of the Phoenicians? Still, there are a lot of these accusations, and there aren’t many things that Greeks and Hebrews agreed on. Read the article; you’ll never think of “sardonic” in the same way again.

  5. What, you expect me to believe you’d never cheer anybody who won a victory for abortion rights? Seriously?

    I think the commitment to always putting everything Republican in the worst possible light warps discussions here. It’s very pleasant to think the worst of your foes, but it’s still a vice.

  6. The Republican audience did not cheer a victory for the death penalty, such as its enactment by a legislature or its being upheld by a court.

  7. Brett and the Republicans fail to comprehend the idea of regretful necessity. If a rightwinger judges war to be necessary in some instance, we must be glad to go to war. If we judge capital punishment to be appropriate in some circumstance, we must cheer its use.

    Regarding abortion, Brett can’t even imagine the Democrats developing a consensus around the idea that it be “safe, legal and rare.” He can’t hear the words – or at least he can’t admit to hearing them – as we see in his two comments above.

    This principle carries over into everything. If Democrats propose higher tax rates, then it must be because, all things being equal, they’d rather be taxed more. Democrats like taxes, independent of any benefit brought by taxes. When Warren Buffett says his taxes aren’t high enough for the good of the country, rightwingers can’t comprehend what he’s griping about: After all, if he wants to pay more, he can.

    Yes, it’s silly, but as Davis X. says: “It’s not about persuading, it’s not even about believing. It’s about representing.”

    And lest we be too dismissive about this, let’s remember that this approach works for Brett, and for his co-ideologues. On policy matters, the “reality-based community” gets its ass handed to it again and again by people like Brett.

  8. Mark wrote, “They call him ‘Jesus,’ but the true name of the god they adore, and who accepts their sacrifices, is Moloch.”

    I once found a remarkable essay on the web somewhere, which argued that this bastardized form of Christianity is really a religion based on the Old Testament.

  9. Well, I think that executions are justified in principle for e.g. murderers and, in particular, the worst murderers. Hitler, if captured, should not have just done some jail time. I’m also inclined to be opposed to the death penalty in practice, since it seems too difficult to get the states to stick to applying it in only the very clear cases. At any rate, I could not freaking believe it that people applauded. I could imagine someone applauding if they knew the details of a heinous crime, realized that justice had been done, and, say, that Perry had been instrumental in this. However, blanket applause for executions in cases about which one knows *absolutely nothing* about the details is bizarre in the extreme. Cheering at the killing of OBL is one thing; cheering about a bunch of people I know nothing about being killed by a drone, given my knowledge that mistakes are inevitable in such cases…more than a little weird.

    Of course, positions end up getting reduced to cartoons in such things, and cheering someone who, say, has raised taxes is not the same as cheering taxes, is it?

  10. politicalfootball wrote, “And lest we be too dismissive about this, let’s remember that this approach works for Brett, and for his co-ideologues.”

    IMHO this is more due to the lack of any coherent message from the Democrats more than effective messaging from the Republicans.

  11. I can’t believe I’m defending Brett, but here we go …

    Mark: “Right, Brett. Democrats routinely cheer and boast about the number of abortions. Do you really expect anyone to believe the crap you post here? Do you really believe it yourself?”

    I don’t know about their party affiliations, but yes, I’ve more than occasionally seen pro-choice advocates exhibit a certain flippancy with respect to abortions. One that I came upon fairly recently was a quote from this Jezebel article:

    “Well, let’s imagine that you are a 25 year-old woman living in Faith, South Dakota. You are pregnant, and you would like to get this bun out of your oven.”

    It’s not that I even disagreed with the main thrust of the article; I just found the rhetoric jarring and unpleasant.

  12. IMHO this is more due to the lack of any coherent message from the Democrats more than effective messaging from the Republicans.

    Unfortunately, the message shapes policy, and vice versa. Authoritarian messages like the ones Brett promotes are simple and comforting: If you think the death penalty is sometimes appropriate, that necessarily means you think it’s carried out in applause-worthy fashion in every circumstance. Any other conclusion involves moral ambiguity, and moral ambiguity – while a laudable liberal sentiment – doesn’t fit neatly on bumper stickers.

    I mock the reality-based community, but of course, I sympathize. Prof. Kleiman occasionally says that Brett’s style of argument meets the norms of civil discourse – the same norms that are violated by people who call Brett a troll. Prof. Kleiman errs here, I think, but he’s motivated by a decent and genuinely important liberal impulse. For liberals, communicating is a problem, and I’m not sure what the solution is, except we ought to have sympathy for the liberals who are stumbling around trying to find that solution.

  13. I’ve more than occasionally seen pro-choice advocates exhibit a certain flippancy with respect to abortions.

    So what? You have never, ever seen a crowd of Democrats crowd behave regarding abortion the way those Republicans did regarding the death penalty – unless the only salient point is that it made you uncomfortable, and even then, I’d like to see an example.

    Note that even in the article you cite, even an extremist nut like Gov. Daugaard gives liberals more credit than you do:

    “I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,” Gov. Daugaard said, upon passing this law.

  14. Brett, do you understand false equivalency? Liberals cheer advances in abortion rights, but no sensible person thinks that abortions are a good thing. They are a last option to prevent a worse outcome. Texas Republicans are cheering the death penalty, which Perry has used on people

  15. Why would somebody boast about the number of heinous crimes that require the death penalty?
    If anything, Perry should be ashamed there are so many murders committed in Texas.


    As for the death penalty in general, I don’t understand why a libertarian would be for it – putting citizens to death seems the peak of tyranny to me. I just don’t trust that kind of power in the govt.

  16. I think Mark misunderstands the basis for the cheering — and that Brett is correct about how many approach abortion — but Mark is correct about the problems with Gov. Perry’s answer. if anything, he understates it. Perry not only shows no sense of the seriousness of the issue, but has also (as governor) obstructed efforts to investigate the possibility that an innocent man was executed.

    I recall fondly a very conservative, pro-death penalty judge who, when a clerk made a flip comment about a capital defendant, reproached him by explaining that until the young lawyer has held his client’s hand while waiting to learn if he’s going to the chair, he can’t understand how serious the question is. It’s one thing to believe capital punishment is an appropriate sanction for egregious crimes. It’s quite another to be blind — and, indeed, cavalier — about the awesome gravity of consciously and deliberately taking another person’s life.

    JHA

  17. Bret,

    I think you also overlook part of Mark’s criticism. Perry and his followers routinley believe, as I think you do, that government is inefficient, incompetent, makes poor decisions, etc. You further disdain jury verdicts in tort cases, arguing vigorously for “tort reform.” Yet somehow, when it comes to the death penalty, you’re convinced that the whole system works with marvelous accuracy and Solomonic wisdom. Isn’t that a bit contradictory? If a jury makes a corporation pay a large damage award the screams of outrage on the right drown out all else. Yet when it sentences a defendant to death the assumption is that justice ws done.

    All this despite the known and widely publicized serious failings of the Texas criminal justice system. Of course, cheering Perry’s commitment to the death penalty is particularly disgusting in light of the Willingham case, but apparently there are plenty of cretins willing to defend, and even cheer, Perry for his actions there.

  18. Or, to put it differently: If someone says “This year, my state led the field in elective abortions” I just *cannot* see a crowd of liberals go “YAY!” *STANDING OVATION*. And this is why, like Kleiman, I’m aghast.

  19. politicalfootball: “So what? You have never, ever seen a crowd of Democrats crowd behave regarding abortion the way those Republicans did regarding the death penalty – unless the only salient point is that it made you uncomfortable, and even then, I’d like to see an example.”

    The salient point is that being a Democrat does not make you a saint and members of either party have participated in things that other people would consider repulsive or disgusting. Google “Jimmy Carter” and “American Fighting Man’s Day” for an endorsement of a repulsive war crime by a Democratic governor, for example (yes, I know, Republicans weren’t any better, nor was the majority of America). And does the name “Ricky Ray Rector” ring a bell?

    politicalfootball: “Note that even in the article you cite, even an extremist nut like Gov. Daugaard gives liberals more credit than you do:”

    Where did I make a statement about liberals in general? (Nevermind that I’d have to include myself in that statement.) I gave an example of one specific pro-choice advocate (who, in other respects, may or may not be liberal, regardless of what definition of liberal you use). I prefer to judge people by their views and actions, not their party affiliations.

    I find this whole “our team” vs. “their team” approach rather stupid, to be honest. There’s a whole spectrum of political opinions, not just “the liberals” and “the conservatives”. There are plenty of stupid and repulsive Republicans. There are also plenty of stupid and repulsive Democrats. Every political position has their unreflecting hardcore adherents, and that includes the one commonly known as “pro choice”.

  20. I think it likely that a large majority of people who self-identify as small government “libertarians” are in practice situational libertarians, who are perfectly happy with and trusting in government when it flogs their hobbyhorses.

  21. The people who are arguing with Bellmore are arguing on his terms. There is no moral equivalency between abortion and the death penalty. There is nothing to regret about abortion other than it’s a crappy form of birth control and better use of contraception would reduce its numbers. Abortion does not kill a human being.

    If you buy into Bellmore’s phony moral equivalence, you’ve lost the argument before you’ve started.

  22. Re Brett’s comments: To a man of warped perception, all straight lines (straight talk) appear crooked. But it is nice to have a troll to beat on occasionally.

    Re Perry: (sigh) I’ve sworn that I wouldn’t vote for evil again, even a “lesser” evil such as Obama. If Perry is the Republican nominee I will have to revisit that decision.

    Above, I nearly typed Reptilian for Republican- there needs to be some way to emphasize that the Repubs, and especially Perry, are appealing to that very old part of our brain, the reptilian brain. I don’t think saying it that way is useful, Brett won’t understand it, I am sure he doesn’t believe in evolution. Mark’s point re: Moloch vs Jesus is in that direction too, as JW suggested, Moloch may have gotten bad press from enemies, but Christians know him by that reputation.

  23. Mark;

    Deep kudos for this: “Let’s say it clearly: the Republican activist base consists largely of worshipers of evil.” This isn’t even hyperbole.

    If Obama said somwething like this, even in dogwhistle form, people like me would walk through fire for him. But instead he truly wants to “work with” the “worshipers”. Hmm.

  24. I suspect the cheering was from those acutely aware of the Todd Willingham case and it reflects a standard right-wing practice: When you know you’re wrong or vulnerable, double down in denial.

    the Republican activist base consists largely of worshipers of evil.

    Demonization? Really? No thanks, not necessary. I’ve got a brain.

  25. Y’know, there is one thing I’ve noticed about our friend Brett. When he knows he’s defeated in argument, he goes off the air. Even Brad DeLong–a cocksure kind of guy–keeps a smackdown watch. And most of the regular commenters on this site acknowledge at least some of their flubs. Man up, Brett! I know you’re reading this!

    I do think that Brett is usually a constructive part of the discourse here. He’s a bright guy, and will often raise some pertinent argument that deflates sloppy groupthink. But sometimes . . .

  26. “Mark;

    Deep kudos for this: “Let’s say it clearly: the Republican activist base consists largely of worshipers of evil.” This isn’t even hyperbole.

    If Obama said somwething like this, even in dogwhistle form, people like me would walk through fire for him. But instead he truly wants to “work with” the “worshipers”. Hmm.

    If Obama were to say something like this, the vast majority of Americans would decide they had a dangerous lunatic for a President. Don’t much like Obama, but his political instincts are worlds better than those of his more extreme followers. As is to be expected: Nobody makes it into the White house, even with “First Black President” causing people to avert their gaze from his (lack of a) record, without good political instincts.

    And they’d be RIGHT to think he was a dangerous lunatic.

    “Y’know, there is one thing I’ve noticed about our friend Brett. When he knows he’s defeated in argument, he goes off the air.”

    Funny thing is, I’ve got a life. Not like the old days, a few years back, when I was divorced, and spending 6-8 hours a day web surfing. Wife comes up to me and says, “Play with your kid!” or “Let’s take a walk!”, and I walk away from the computer. Now, you want goes off the air, anybody apologized yet for pushing that “White People’s band” garbage? No, they just went off the air.

  27. “They call him “Jesus,” but the true name of the god they adore, and who accepts their sacrifices, is Moloch.”

    I’ve long thought of the R-team as “the God and Mammon coalition” (God talk for the poor, bucket-loads of cash for the rich), but maybe “God & Moloch coalition” would work too.

  28. Seth,
    “Mammon & Moloch” is alliterative, and perhaps more descriptive of the two main wings of the Republican beast. (More wings are possible: think Book of Daniel or Revelation.) And you wouldn’t be blaspheming G-d, by pairing The Eternal with Mammon. Although Mammon is also eternal, I suppose.

  29. Perry killed a man, Willingham, when there was no reason to believe he was guilty of the crime of which he was accused, arson. The prosecution “expert” who testified at his trial has been conclusively demonstrated to be an incompetent, and the supposed evidence of arson has been conclusively demonstrated to be nothing of the kind. In other words, the fire that killed Willingham’s children looked exactly like an accidental fire.

    I can’t forgive that, and I can’t understand how anyone else can forgive it. It’s one thing to support capital punishment for the guilty, quite another to callously kill an innocent man when you know or should know the case against him has completely collapsed.

  30. OK, Brett, I concede that I didn’t reply to your comment. This is because I didn’t see that the thread was still going, and that you’d eventually made a comment to me, some 40 hours after the thread started. I was replying to the news reports at the time – by which I mean the news reports debunking the claim that Bachmann had said “white people” – that reported that the band on the stage was called the “white people soul band”. Turns out those news reports were misinformed – though I’m not really sure how I could have known that at the time. And you obviously didn’t know it until a day later, either, or you might have responded to me in that time, instead of making other comments and ignoring my response to you.

    So: yes, I was misinformed in my first comment in that thread. But I stand by my assessment of you: when the reported facts argued against your position – before the reporting of those facts changed – you found it inconvenient even to acknowledge their existence.

    Of course, that’s assuming the external universe even exists, so I suppose I can always hang on to the argument you so compellingly used in defense of your birtherism.

  31. I think it’s a stretch to say that people in the audience last night represent the GOP’s activist base.

    Unless I’m much mistaken, those were probably the wealthiest, best educated and best connected Republicans anywhere near the Southland last night.

    Which makes it much worse, of course.

    Btw, I used to be fairly close with a bunch of Grace Brethren. They were literal interpreters and most likely vote Republican. But they were not bloodthirsty, and I do not think most of them would have cheered at someone dying. At least, the women might not have. Just to be fair.

    Of course, Mark’s larger point still stands. It doesn’t make sense to think “government” is bad, except when it kills poor people of color. Who probably killed white people. (I believe stats show that that’s who gets executed.)

  32. Oh, and I’m still hoping he won’t be the nominee. For the sake of the country.

    I may have found an area of overlap between me and Rove! Holy mackerel.

  33. Mr. Scrooge,

    My original preference for “God & Mammon” was based on the resonance with Matthew 6:24 (King James version): “No man can serve two masters … Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Ignoring that allusion to a book nobody reads, ‘moloch and mammon’ probably scans best.

    Whatever ancient names we give them, these vices will continue to rule human affairs. Gov. Perry knows how to summon them in the vulgar idiom of the day.

  34. You would never, ever see a Democratic audience cheering if Brian Williams had said “your state has aborted x number of fetuses, more than any other Governor in modern times…” The very concept, I guarantee, would be deeply sad to a Democratic audience. And yet, because we believe in a woman’s right to choose, we have made difficult choices, which most Democrats understand. We are not gleeful at the prospect of abortion–unlike the audience last night. (Of course, if Brian Williams had said “your state has protected a woman’s right to choose more than any other in modern times…” you may have heard cheering, but that was NOT the phrasing of his question to Perry.)

    This is what was so abhorrent about that GOP audience, and Perry’s, reaction. They were applauding the fact of the death of those 234 men, a few of whom were probably innocent. More than that, they were unwilling to acknowledge the difficulty and ultimately the sadness of having to make that choice. Like Romans at an execution, they were cheering the death itself.

  35. As far as I’m concerned, Williams failed at the job by doing two things. First, he phrased the question in the abstract, “Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent.” That allowed Perry to answer the question in the abstract, which is not to say that I found even his abstract answer acceptable. Williams then compounded the error by accepting the hidden assumption that Texas has a fair criminal justice system when it comes to imposing capital punishment.

    He should have asked Perry specifically about the Willingham case rather than fishing for Perry to come up with Willingham case as troubling. Of course Governor Goodhair isn’t going to come up with that case. But given that he had to phrase the question in the abstract, he should have attacked Perry’s enthymeme: Texas has a fair system for imposing the death penalty.

    In Texas, it is acceptable for capital defense attorneys to sleep through most of a trial as long as they are awake for the important parts. In Texas, it is acceptable for the courts to admit old-wives’ tales as scientific testimony. In Texas, it is acceptable for a capital defendant to not be permitted to rebut expert witness testimony because they cannot afford their own witnesses. The full array of State power (and its concomitant resources) can be brought to bear against an individual without any requirement that the legal system even attempt to balance the scale of resources. Oh, and in the entire United States factual innocence brought to light after the expiration of the appeal period is no reason to stop an execution.

    I’m quite sure that Governor Goodhair spoke the truth when he said he was not troubled by his conscience about any of these executions. And that is a real shame, for the residents of the not-so-Great State and citizens of our nation generally.

  36. What, you expect me to believe you’d never cheer anybody who won a victory for abortion rights? Seriously?

    As for being serious, if you intend to make an intellectually honest apples-to-apples comparison, please let us know of one instance in which a Democratic governor in a debate has made a statement along the lines of “In my state 30,000 fetuses were aborted during my governorship!” and the audience applauded.

    This isn’t false equivalency; it’s fabulism.

  37. Fancy that, Warren: There are legitimate reasons for not responding to a comment! Why, one might almost suspect that was the point I was making.

    Though, come to think of it… “I was replying to the news reports at the time – by which I mean the news reports debunking the claim that Bachmann had said “white people” – that reported that the band on the stage was called the “white people soul band”. Turns out those news reports were misinformed – though I’m not really sure how I could have known that at the time.”

    You could have been less credulous, perhaps, when confronted with lies that just happen to conform to your prejudices about political foes.

    Look, suppose somebody started a smear campaign to the effect that a Democratic candidate enjoys throwing kittens in a blender. I repeat it. Eventually it’s refuted, the evidence (A claim that Biden subscribes to “Cooking with pets” magazine…) fabricated to make the smear plausible implodes… Am I supposed to say, “Well, how could I have known at the time that Joe Biden doesn’t puree kittens???”

    No, that would be absurd, because the question would be, why would I believe such a thing in the first place?

    Why did you believe such a thing in the first place? Isn’t that what you should be asking yourself after this incident? Shouldn’t it, rationally, at the very least, cause you to doubt anything you hear in the future from those sources?

  38. Wow, we did a great job of letting Brett frame the discussion here.

    I’m glad this cheering got some airplay, cause it’s fucking disgusting and entirely predictable. There’s no shortage of people with a not so latent lust for blood and authoritarianism and that’s what we’re seeing here. Sometimes we are a very scary species.

  39. Brett,
    There is a difference between not responding to a comment you don’t see, a day after the thread’s gone cold, and repeatedly commenting while ignoring responses addressed to you – including responses from someone you’ve directly addressed with your own earlier comment. I invite you to consider this recent thread for a sterling example of such behavior (pun intended).

    In any case, if you go back to the thread you linked above, you will see that I made a fairly anodyne comment that – based on the then-available reporting that she’d been standing in front of a band named “White People” – if Bachmann had said “White People” it would have been completely unexceptional. You responded by saying it would be completely normal to imagine me torturing puppies, a comparison that I still find completely odious, and a comparison for which you’ve never apologized.

    In fact, as I said before in this thread, the thread you linked is a good example of your pattern of behavior; you don’t even have to look at the goldbug thread I linked above in this comment. In that thread, you commented in the thread 12 hours after I’d responded to your attack on me – and completely ignored my response. Presumably you ignored my response because you then still believed, as I did, that the band behind Bachmann was, as initially reported, the White People Soul Band. It was only the next morning that you chose to attempt to resurrect a dead thread with a reply disputing this fact – presumably because it was only the next morning that you discovered that the reporting had been wrong on this point.

    Why should it be “a lie about my political foes” that there would be a Christian band called the “White People Soul Band”? There is a band called the “White People Soul Band”, or at least a web page for one, though I have no idea whether it’s Christian, and – contrary to the initial news reports – it wasn’t at the event. I specifically rejected the lies about Bachmann, only pointing out that the line she was falsely accused of saying would not actually have been inappropriate given the reported lineup – and for this I (and poor Joe Biden now, for some reason) are to be tarred with hypothetical but graphic animal cruelty?

  40. Fine, let’s take this back to that thread, where we can discuss why the mere existence of a band that didn’t play at the event is irrelevant, except to further impeach the credibility of your sources.

  41. As tempting as it is to respond to everyone from Brett to Yomtov (and everyone in between), I’ll restrain myself.

    But I do want to point out that Kleiman’s religious hyperbole (even if you believe it’s not even a hyperbole) is not new. Fredrick Douglass called them out for it long before they became Republicans. Other than labels, it seems little has changed.

  42. @Shadowfox:
    I remember Douglass writing that the best slaveholders were the atheists. (Not that he endorsed atheism!)

    @Seth:
    Duh. I don’t read the goyische Bible as often as I should. Sorry ’bout that.

  43. I’m late to the conversation. Like Brett Bellmore, I too have a life nowadays so I have less and less time to jump into these conversations. Kids, job promotion, blah blah blah.

    Anyways, I was going to point out exactly what Brett pointed out at the beginning of this post. “Cheering for death” is a liberal’s way of life when it comes to abortion policy.

  44. “Cheering for death” is a liberal’s way of life when it comes to abortion policy.

    I hato to have to quote myself yet again:

    “If you intend to make an intellectually honest apples-to-apples comparison, please let us know of one instance in which a Democratic governor in a debate has made a statement along the lines of ‘In my state 30,000 fetuses were aborted during my governorship!’ and the audience applauded.

    “This isn’t false equivalency; it’s fabulism.”

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