Parallel lives of the Democrats and Republicans, part 2

On Friday we noted Victor Davis Hanson’s superb column on the parallel lives of the Democrats and Republicans. Professor Hanson employed Plutarch’s method to “learn something about modern morality from the contrasts within a few matched pairs of contemporary notables, prominent in the recent news.”

After comparing Richard Fuld with Robert Rubin, Ted Stevens with Charles Rangel, Alberto Gonzales with Eric Holder, and Christopher Dodd with Trent Lott, Professor Hanson framed the question “why we continuously consider liberal transgressions as misdemeanors and their conservative counterparts as felonies.” I thought that Professor Hanson’s device of “parralel lives” could serve as everyday inspiration for many chapters yet to be written.

In his weekly Washington Times column, Andrew Breitbart adapts Professor Hanson’s Plutarchean method to a similar end. Breitbart considers the photo featuring President-elect Obama’s chief speechwriter Jon Favreau and his colleague that turned up in the media and on the Internet last week. The photo depicted Favreau groping the breast of a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton while Favreau’s unidentified colleague shared his beer with her.


Breitbart observes that “[t]he aggressive iconography of two young drunk men taking advantage of a life-size cutout of a woman – especially a powerful one – would bring an elite college campus to a standstill, force a housecleaning of a Fortune 500 company, ground the Air Force Academy and would, in most cases, ruin the career of a Republican staffer or elected official.” He juxtaposes the jocular reaction to Favreau’s photograph with that of any comparable Republican:

If, for instance, President Bush’s former speechwriter Michael Gerson had been caught in flagrante cartone, he would have stepped down before the president could fire him. If not, the media, the feminist establishment and the Democratic Party leadership would have destroyed Mr. Gerson and Mr. Bush and crafted a “culture of harassment” umbrella descriptor to hang around the administration’s neck in perpetuity.

In GOP land, apologies and resignations are never enough….

In the case of Favreau, however, “the Democratic double standard on political correctness kicked in immediately as the feminist establishment, the media and even Mrs. Clinton herself came forth to save the fast-rising Obama wordsmith.” Whatever moral one draws from this particular episode, it is a striking illustration of the phenomenon that was the subject of Professor Hanson’s column.

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