Argumentum ad Obamam

Today Michael Gerson argues that Obama's new politics is all hogwash because, get this because I'm not making this up, some anonymous and unnamed bloggers celebrated the earlier than expected firing of a political appointee.  He writes:

But one major personnel error was made from malice. And it calls into question the depth and duration of President Obama's "new politics."

Interesting remark there at the end.  More on that in a moment.  But here's the evidence for the strikingly general claim that one should now question Obama's "new politics."

Then, the day after the inauguration, Dybul received a call asking him to submit his resignation and to leave by the end of the day. There was no chance to reassure demoralized staffers, or PEPFAR teams abroad, or the confused health ministers of other nations. The only people who seemed pleased were a few blogging extremists, one declaring, "Dybul Out: Thank you, Hillary!!!" 

And following directly:

As in most political hit-and-run attacks, the perpetrator was not anxious to take credit. It seems unlikely to be Hillary Clinton herself — Dybul's ultimate boss at the State Department — who had not even been confirmed when Dybul received his call. But someone at State or the White House determined that sacrificing Dybul would appease a few vocal, liberal interest groups. One high-ranking Obama official admitted that the decision was "political."

It may be the case–but Gerson's evidence for the fairly strong claim that this was an "attack" made from "malice" and is completely non existent.  He doesn't even try to argue that this had anything to do with Obama or any key Obama operative.  

I think we might have stumbled upon a new fallacy–call it argumentum ad Obamam.  Here's how it goes.  Start from the premise that Obama is better than Jesus, then argue that any negative thing remotely linkable to him shows that he is not in fact the real Jesus after all–as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent he would have stopped it!–and that maybe there is no Jesus, and that those who believed in Jesus were gullible fools, because all there exists there is evil.

Well, that's a load of crap, of course.  Not because Obama is Jesus, but because only a nitwit like Gerson would expect him to be (disingenuously–I mean, Jesus, this guy worked for Bush for six solid years, anyone remember Iraq?  Abu Ghraib?) in order to show that silly expectation no one would seriously have to be unfounded.

3 thoughts on “Argumentum ad Obamam”

  1. Are you forgetting, the often implicit further claim that therefore John the Baptist was perhaps the best that we could expect,and so we need to reevaluate the Bush years?

  2. I hadn’t thought of that–make straight the path!  Straight indeed.  In any case, I wonder seriously about the form of Gerson’s argument.  He seems to place the bar extremely high, only to point out that Obama fails to achieve it.  It has the initial appearance of a kind charity–Obama deserves to be taken for the super-awesome Jesus figure that I Michael Gerson imagine some people think he is–then it proceeds to point out that he’s a politician of the ordinary political variety, and so concludes that Obama, not his silly, yet very positive caricature, is dishonest.

Comments are closed.