Monday, February 22, 2021

For the Record: The Preemptive Whatabout

Via The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

Much respect and warm feelings toward attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, but I also enjoyed what looked to me like subtweeting skill in the written version of his opening statement for today's confirmation hearing:

Ted Cruz may have thought so too, because in his "questioning" at the hearing he brought in what you might call an argument by Preemptive Whatabout, where you don't wait for your opponent to give you a name before you respond with your whatabout, but rather trot it out in advance—in this case forestalling the Barr with a dig at Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder.

We don't all love Holder a hundred percent, I realize. I personally think it's a divided legacy, with very good work in the civil rights area (including, I'll say this to the end, in his handling of the 2014-15 unaccompanied minor migrant crisis, "cages" and all, as comes clear when you compare it with Sessions and his crimes against humanity in 2017) and his very inadequate response to the crimes committed by bankers and insurers in the 2007-08 financial crisis. And I'm fond of the idea of Holder as Obama's anti-racism translator, if you know what I mean, expressing thoughts Obama didn't feel he could afford to express for himself.

But Cruz's remarks pushed me into one of those rants:

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