William Safire discussed the “moral equivalence” arguments of 40 years ago:

I checked with William F. Buckley, who helped popularize the current sense of the phrase, and the inventor of modern conservatism reports: ”Moral equivalence is a handy imposture by which behavior and misbehavior are equated. Some years ago I made the point after an ‘antiwar’ demonstration by the American left. The demonstrators were arguing that Ronald Reagan’s defense budget was the equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s. I said that that was like saying that the man who pushed old ladies out of the way of an incoming bus is like the man who pushes old ladies into the way of an incoming bus. Both push old ladies around.”