Patterico's Pontifications


Keith Ellison Saying Kim Is “More Responsible” Than Trump Is Part Of A Disturbing Pattern Of Moral Equivalence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:14 pm

You may have heard that Keith Ellison — a guy who came within a whisker of being the DNC Chair — yesterday claimed that Kim Jong-un is “more responsible” than Donald Trump:

North Korea is a serious thing. You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there.

Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader, well he’s acting more responsible than this guy is.

“This guy” is a reference to Donald Trump.

I’m tempted to take the Lord’s full name in vain, complete with the middle initial, and include the concept of a popsicle stick. What a ridiculous, absurd, stupid, over the top thing to say.

Ellison has retracted the statement, but he meant it when he made it. It’s worth talking about how absurd it is — and how it’s part of a pattern of Americans drawing a false moral equivalence between evil dictators and the United States.

Even if we’re just talking rhetoric, Ellison is full of it. You don’t have to agree with Trump’s rhetoric (I don’t) to recognize that Kim’s rhetoric is far less responsible. At Hot Air, the always thorough John Sexton gives several examples of Kim’s explicit threats of aggressive nuclear first strikes against the United States. The threats have been going on for years, and most sentient beings are familiar with them.

But to me, the outrageousness of Ellison’s statement goes deeper than a mere comparison of the rhetoric.Look: Trump may display all of the Seven Deadly Sins. He may be a personally awful human being all the way around. (OK, forget “may.” He does, and he is.) But Kim is evil. His regime is evil. He starves his people, runs secretive prison camps for political opponents, and engages in murder, rape, and torture as a matter of government policy. There is zero free press. The entire nation is one giant personality cult. As cultish as some Trumpers can be, there is no comparison between the two countries. Anyone who says there is — or that Trump is worse — is giving aid and comfort to one of the most purely malevolent regimes on the planet.

Ellison isn’t the only one trying to equate Trump (in Ellison’s case unfavorably) with Kim. Here’s Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor with over 215,000 Twitter followers:

I like the response of Popehat’s Patrick Non-White:

Joking around that Trump is a lunatic like Kim is one thing. I happen to think they both have a screw loose. But to seriously assert that Trump is less responsible than Kim, or that there is an equivalence between the two regimes, is absurdly myopic and morally wrong.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the villainy of Kim’s North Korea. Leftists ought to keep that in mind when they make flippant remarks like Ellison made yesterday.

FROM THE “BOTH SIDES DO IT” FILE: I hate to disturb your partisan pleasure in mocking leftists, but I can’t let Trump and his minions off the hook entirely. Because he and his supporters have engaged in a disturbing trend of their own, in straining to find good qualities in Vladimir Putin, and to equate his atrocities with America’s actions.

Take Roy Moore, who this week declared his kinship with Putin in declaring American to be the “focus of evil” in the world:

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

This is an organized plot to cause me to violate the Third Commandment, isn’t it?

And those with keen memories will easily recall how Trump shrugged off complaints that Vladimir Putin kills critics with a flip “hey we all do bad stuff” remark:

TRUMP: I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world —

O’REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: — major fight, that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea. It’s very possible —

O’REILLY: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

TRUMP: A lot of killers. You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?

I’m not here to say America hasn’t done bad things. But we are not Kim Jong-un’s North Korea. Explain that to Keith Ellison and Jay Rosen. And we are not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Explain that to Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

18 Responses to “Keith Ellison Saying Kim Is “More Responsible” Than Trump Is Part Of A Disturbing Pattern Of Moral Equivalence”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. Ellison and others say these things about Trump while in America. They and their families were not fed to dogs in concentration camps afterwards, the way anyone saying such things about Kim in Korea would be.

    I too enjoy my right to criticize the president whenever I want, because we have a free country.

    Anyone in the press who doesn’t recognize this obviously doesn’t cherish it. A lack of recognition of how awesome freedom of speech is leads to censorship.

    Trump has praised cruelty from dictators. He’s praised the Tienanmen Square massacre. But he hasn’t engaged in such conduct, and it’s pretty stupid to pretend he’s the same as one who has. He’s as bad as an American president has ever been, but that’s still a lot better than the alternative.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  3. Yes Ellison, with his cair medal, can be counted on to defend any foe somewhat like Jesse Jackson in the 80s, Syria cuba nicaragua et al. He’s only the deputy party chair.

    narciso (e3c768)

  4. On “the list” of future SCOTUS appointees to whom Trump supposedly committed himself is Eleventh Circuit Judge William H. Pryor. As then-Attorney General of Alabama, Pryor filed the ethical proceedings that removed then-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from the bench based on his refusal to comply with a mandatory injunction from the federal courts directing him to remove a display of the Ten Commandments. Pryor had been appointed to the Alabama AG slot upon the election of his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, to the U.S. Senate. Now Sessions is Trump’s AG; the AG is presumptively among any POTUS’ advisors on such matters as SCOTUS nominations (although Sessions’ standing with Trump is now … complicated); and Roy Moore is running to fill Sessions U.S. Senate seat, in which event he’ll cast a vote on the next SCOTUS nomination that might become available to Trump.

    In my mind, as a fan of Judge Pryor’s dating back to the wars over his Eleventh Circuit appointment during Dubya’s presidency, all of this is makes another good reason why Mr. Justice Kennedy should resign forthwith.

    Historical footnote: In parallel “Ten Commandment” proceedings in Kentucky and Texas, the latter’s Ten Commandments display was ruled constitutional, and the former’s unconstitutional, in companion opinions released on the same day by the SCOTUS, thereby proving Ted Cruz’ (and his then-boss Greg Abbott’s) superiority as appellate constitutional litigation strategists to either Sessions (who, as AG, had let the appeal deadlines run on the federal court mandatory injunction without seeking SCOTUS review) or his Kentucky counterpart (who, at least, was not Mitch McConnell).

    Small world.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  5. Roy Moore, by the way, is a more hypocritical reincarnation of Huey Long.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  6. Donald Trump, who never met a brutal dictator he couldn’t find something nice to say about, was expressing his respect and admiration for Kim Jong-un months before Keith Ellison did:

    I can tell you this, and a lot of people don’t like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others. And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.

    Dave (445e97)

  7. Dave: I do not agree Trump calling Kim a “pretty tough cookie” expresses respect or admiration when coupled with the immediately following sentences, which you really should have included:

    “But we have a situation that we just cannot let — we cannot let what’s been going on for a long period of years continue. And frankly, this should’ve been done and taken care of by the Obama administration. Should’ve been taken care of by the Bush administration. Should’ve been taken care of by Clinton.”

    Fred Z (05d938)

  8. You’ll be shocked the family history is built on a lie:

    Actually not if one knows the legends behind Stalin and castro

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. If Trump was like Kim, this country would have a lot fewer people in it.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  10. when coupled with the immediately following sentences, which you really should have included

    That’s so unlike Dave to leave out something that might invalidate his premise.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  11. Dave: I do not agree Trump calling Kim a “pretty tough cookie” expresses respect or admiration

    He called him a pretty “smart” cookie, and the admiration is obvious from his decision to emphasize all the difficulties Kim overcame at a relatively young age (being the pampered son of an absolute dictator who is worshipped as a god is a rough life!). Of course, Trump was also given a free ride in life by a powerful father, just like Kim, so it’s natural that he would distort Kim’s privileged background into some false heroic narrative, just as he does his own.

    You should also understand that in the past, Trump has praised the butchers of Tienanmen Square for their massacre of peaceful protesters, and excoriated Gorbachev for not continuing to rule the Soviet Union with an iron hand, as Stalin, Brezhnev, etc did and Putin (with Russia) now does again.

    Trump has also expressed his wish to end freedom of the press by using the courts to silence journalists critical of him, called for making use of severe forms of torture (“a helluva lot worse than waterboarding”) by the US government a matter of routine practice, and Trump promised he would order the US military to summarily execute the wives and children of suspected terrorists without trial.

    The reason the US under Trump isn’t governed like North Korea *isn’t* because Donald Trump is a better human being than Kim Jong-un. It’s because he can’t.

    And other than making a fool of himself by raving like a lunatic, Trump has so far done nothing past administrations haven’t tried. It is actually kind of shocking that there is no discernible build-up or reinforcement of South Korea, which would have to go on for some time (and could not be concealed for long) before any “fire and fury”.

    Trump is great at promising painless solutions to complex problems that he doesn’t even remotely understand. If there were an easy solution that didn’t involve massive destruction and loss of life, do you really think it wouldn’t have been pursued?

    That’s so unlike Dave to leave out something that might invalidate his premise.

    Trump blaming everyone else for his problems invalidates my premise how, exactly?

    Dave (445e97)

  12. “I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations.”

    -Winston Churchill, noted for his respect and admiration of Hitler

    Fred Z (05d938)

  13. I don’t recall that passage but he had a similar one about stalin

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. This qualified to lead the woman nnarch

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. Dave doing his usual shtick.

    Says he’s conservative, defends or dismisses the left’s abhorrent behavior and then attacks someone on the right or Trump.

    Completely predictible.

    Dave is so concerned.

    NJRob (6273c6)

  16. Completely predictible.

    Yep, I’m against vulgar, ignorant, bigoted, depraved, corrupt authoritarians who fellate murderous dictators and brag about brutalizing women or peeping at naked little girls, no matter what political party they pretend to belong to.

    Dave (445e97)

  17. “brag about brutalizing women”? You mean kissing them and “grabbing ’em by the pussy”, right?

    You forgot, again, the rest of the quote: “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” They let you do it. Sad, but true. The man said he has found both implied and express permission every time he tried and you don’t like it. Even had he no permission, a kiss or an attempted crotch grab is not “brutalization” any more than reducing the rate of growth of government spending is a “savage cut”.

    Tough being a lefty these days, innit? We read Alinsky and the internet let’s us refute you in seconds.

    Now, what about the Churchill quote? Was he praising Hitler?

    Fred Z (05d938)

  18. It would take another year for him to be proven wrong

    Now Gandhi was the more proximate adversary

    narciso (d1f714)

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