I've been thinking of the reverse straw man for a bit now. Following the suggestions of some friends and commenters at the Mid South, one variation of the too charitable straw man we might call the "iron man." This is when someone's weak argument–or some weak arguer–is made stronger by irrelevant and inappropriate charity. Too often this inappropriate charity comes from people who ought to know better. And trolls depend on troll enablers.
The Onion, of all places, seems to get this. Here's their take on Michelle Bachmann:
Michele Bachmann Announces Bid To Be Discussed More Than She Deserves In 2012
That pretty much sums it up. Bachmann makes Bush look like Aristotle. Not iron-manning every incoherent utterance. I heard this yesterday on NPR:
ELLIOTT: I think the reception that Minnesota Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, got here. She was really the star of the day. The crowd even sort of mobbed the stage when she finished her speech. And she really gave this conservative crowd just what they were looking for: plenty of meat stoking the anti-President Obama fervor that was rumbling through the crowd.
She attacked the president's health care overhaul. She attacked his energy policy, as well as his handling of the economy.
Representative MICHELE BACHMANN (Republican, Minnesota): We know what works. It's cutting spending. It's growing the economy. It's doing what free markets do, and what economic superpowers do. And Mr. President, you're no economic superpower.
I think it's a stretch to call this an "attack" on the President's handling of the economy. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say that she said words which on the most charitble interpretation were probably meant as criticism of Obama on the economy. Anything more would be iron-manning. The sample clip doesn't begin to make sense–it begs the question (it's growing the economy!), ignores basic economics (cutting spending!), and it equivocates on "economic superpower" (in the first it's a property of nations, then it's denied of Barack Obama).