"ALL CAPS IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

OBAMA AND THE OVERUSE OF THE STRAW MAN FALLACY: THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS SCOOPS THE NYTIMES

ME YESTERDAY:
OBAMA IS A ONE TRICK PONY: THE STRAW MAN
THE STRAW MAN:
A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.[1] [2]
OBAMA USES THIS OLD JEDI MINDTRICK ALL THE TIME. HERE'S YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE - FROM OBAMA'S ARCHIVE SPEECH:

We see that, above all, in how the recent debate has been obscured by two opposite and absolutist ends.

On one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and who would almost never put national security over transparency.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: “anything goes.” Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants - provided that it is a President with whom they agree.

Both sides may be sincere in their views, but neither side is right.

THIS IS TOTAL FU*KING BULLSH*T. NOBODY SAYS "ANYTHING GOES!". CERTAINLY NOT BUSH AND CHENEY! AND THE TORTURE MEMO HAD VOLUMINOUS AND DETAILED LIMITATIONS ON THE USE OF WATER-BOARDING!

OBAMA GETS AWAY WITH USING THIS LOGICAL FALLACY BECAUSE HE:
  • WRITES WELL;
  • IS 1/2 BLACK;
  • IS TALL;
  • HAS A NICE BARITONE;
  • READS A TELEPROMPTER AS WELL AS KATHY LEE GIFFORD,
  • AND HAS THE MEDIA IN THE BAG.
THE NYTIMES TODAY: "White House Memo: Some Obama Enemies Are Made Totally of Straw"
. . . To listen to President Obama, a veritable army of naysayers has invaded Washington, urging him to sit on his hands at the White House and do nothing to address any of the economic or national security problems facing the country.

“There are those who say these plans are too ambitious, that we should be trying to do less, not more,” Mr. Obama told a town-hall-style meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif., on March 18. “Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.”

Mr. Obama did not specify who, exactly, was saying America should ignore its challenges.

Similarly, the next day in Los Angeles, Mr. Obama took on Wall Street and Washington, two of his favorite straw men. “I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should just focus on their problems,” Mr. Obama said. “It would be nice if I could just pick and choose what problems to face, when to face them. So I could say, well, no, I don’t want to deal with the war in Afghanistan right now; I’d prefer not having to deal with climate change right now. And if you could just hold on, even though you don’t have health care, just please wait, because I’ve got other things to do.”

Mr. Obama continued on the offensive against straw men that day in Los Angeles, pointing out that critics told him not to go on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on NBC because “I can’t handle that and the economy at the same time.” Then, his audience primed, he delivered his standard kill line: “Listen, here’s what I say. I say our challenges are too big to ignore.”

And who can argue with that? Like most straw men, Mr. Obama’s are not complete fabrications. White House officials correctly pointed out that Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, took a crack at Mr. Obama for appearing on the Leno show, saying that his “suggestion is that he come back, since he’s taken full responsibility, and get his people together” to confer on the budget.

But that is still a ways from the tortuous construct which Mr. Obama ended up with, that turned Mr. Kyl’s remark into one that somehow needed the “our challenges are too big to ignore” rebuttal, since it suggests that one of those challenges was apparently appearing on Leno.

“Here’s the trick: Take your opponent’s argument to a ridiculous extreme, and then attack the extremists,” said William Safire, the former presidential speechwriter who writes the “On Language” column for The New York Times Magazine. “That leaves the opponent to sputter defensively, ‘But I never said that.’ ”

The telltale indicators that a straw man trick is on the way are the introductory words “there are those who say” or “some say.”

“In strawmanese, you never specify who ‘those who’ are,” Mr. Safire said. “They are the hollow scarecrows you set up to knock down.”
REGULAR READERS KNOW WE DO THIS ALL THE TIME.

SPREAD THE WORD. BLOGROLL US. BOOKMARK US.

BOTTOM LINE: IF THE NYTIMES IS NOTICING IT - AND COMMENTING ON IT, TOO - THEN IT'S REALLY REALLY BAD!

2 comments:

Layer Seven said...

Good coverage on Obama's abuse of strawmen. That's why this blog is a home tab. How interesting that NY Times is hounding Obama, while Fox News is still swilliing down the Obama turd frappes.

Reliapundit said...

thanks.