Heritage makes a good point. Those two things are exactly the same.
You get the point.
I do get the point—but let’s make it a bit more explicit to make sure everybody else does. The point is: “ZING!” It’s not a substantive point. It’s just a half-assed attempt to simultaneously manufacture outrage over something Heritage is not actually outraged about while whistling to a darker narrative about how by the way Obama is that kind of President who would prefer to play basketball than go bowling if you know what I mean give me back my country.
Or, as Heritage puts it, “You get how it appears that priorities are out of line, right?” “Appears.” It’s not that Heritage thinks priorities are actually out of line or that Obama should be spending all night with a slide rule and pencil sharpener putting together the entire federal budget single-handedly. Nobody with a quarter of a brain would think that filling out an NCAA bracket detracts in any way from the actual, substantive work done by however many thousand people are working on the actual federal budget. It’s just that Heritage thinks it could plausibly “appear” that priorities are out of line. If, you know, you’re dumb. (Heritage thinks highly of its supporters.)
Of course, does anybody think there’s even a marginal chance that The Heritage Foundation will have anything good to say about the Obama budget? No. So The Heritage Foundation is unhappy that a budget hasn’t been delivered so it can be against it. In the mean time, it’s rolling out this zinger to make sure everybody knows that Team Heritgage is not going to leave any stone unturned—no matter how irrelevant—in its march to the sea against Team Obama.
Sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes we’re spectacularly wrong. This is the human condition. There’s nothing to do about it but cultivate humility, apologize when appropriate, and have the good grace to treat people others as you would have them treat you when you’re embarrassingly mistaken. I don’t think there’s another way to engage in political discussion politics outside a partisan echo chamber without becoming cripplingly bitter.
There is one thing we can avoid. We can avoid trying to trick people when we know we’re wrong. It seems fundamentally indecent for smart people who understand data to nevertheless manipulate it in a way to advance a narrative that they know isn’t true.