“If you think Comey ought to have treated the two investigations exactly the same in terms of his public pronouncements, then you are essentially positing that the two investigations were equivalent”.
Not so. People who assert, as is done here, that some logical argument is a “false equivalence” and hence is false on its face, are almost always pulling off a logical slight-of-hand. The intent is to dismiss an argument without having to actually deal with it.
Here’s the deal — when two cases are being held up together, it isn’t because the argument is being attempted that they are the same (although rarely that might be the case), but it is that the same standard ought to apply to both cases but the powers that prevail are applying different standards to them. This is so because moral, ethical and legal standards apply to many cases despite differences in their details. This is so, so common when reading articles from the Left, because if the Left didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.
It’s depressingly common for the Left to criticize something done or said by an actor on the Right, based on a standard that they apply to that situation (but never explicitly reveal); and then defend something done or said by an actor on the Left, based on a standard that is the opposite to, and incompatible with, the standard they just applied to the Right. The quintessential “Double Standard”.
Yes, you can find this kind of thing from the Right, if you look for it; but it’s almost universal in the Leftist insanity on full display every minute in today’s media. For your amusement, compare the Valerie Plame case with an Independent Counsel, and the Trump Russia-gate case with an Independent Counsel, and the Articles of Impeachment of President Nixon referencing abuse of IRS power, on the one hand, to the arguments against an Independent Counsel for the Clinton mishandling of classified documents or against an Independent Counsel for Obama’s IRS abuse of power or against an Independent Counsel for Clinton Foundation influence peddling. Double standards on full display. Although none of the cases are equivalent they should all be decided by the same standards. Should be, but weren’t.
Importantly, no one on the Left will ever debate the contradictory standards they apply to the Republicans and to their own people in these six cases or any others. The response is always the dismissive “the cases are not the same”. Perhaps, but the standards ARE the same. Or ought to be.
Hardly an hour passed during the last election that this tactic wasn’t obvious coming from the major media or print journalism. And when called on it, the challenge was routinely dismissed with “false equivalence”. Yes, the details of two cases are almost always distinct and different. What is not distinct and different is that the two cases should both be subject to the same standards, regardless whether it advantages or disadvantages one or the other political party. But that is rarely the case.