As much as I agree with Maureen Dowd's latest opinion (shocking, yes), this drives me crazy:
If W. had gone to Dover in the middle of the night to salute the war dead, Limbaugh and Liz Cheney would have been gushing about his patriotism.
But since it’s Obama who at last showed up there to see the brutal cost of war, they simply have to dismiss the moving moment as a publicity stunt.
This sort of statement seems the lynchpin of modern political debate, and it's a travesty. It's a conditional conjecture disguised as fact, and highlighted by comparison to an opposite set of circumstances. Bush did not go to Dover, and even if he had we do not know what Limbaugh and Liz would have said. It is ludicrous to use this as evidence for an argument.
It would be different if Dowd compared Obama's Dover trip to an actual trip that Bush made under similar circumstances, and illustrated the difference in Limbaugh's response then and now; that would be a real comparison, and she does come closer to that ideal in a later paragraph. This excerpt, however, is purely speculative (or at least, unsupported in her opinion).
I hoped we were past the point where a colloquial call to induction like "you know if the situation were reversed he would have said so and so..." would not be considered appropriate evidence for a formal argument. (Even though I think she's right.)