Do it yourself

Let’s see if anyone can identify this one from our Dear Leader:

>The stakes in this election couldn’t be more clear. If you don’t think we should be listening in on the terrorist, then you ought to vote for the Democrats. If you want your government to continue listening in when al Qaeda planners are making phone calls into the United States, then you vote Republican. (Applause.)

If you find any in the rest of the speech, let us know as well.

11 thoughts on “Do it yourself”

  1. i think the one you’ve identified is a classic false dichotomy. here’s what i caught:
    “The issue on the economy is a big issue in any campaign. And I want the people of this district to know, plain and simple, that if Richard’s opponent wins, your taxes will go up. Make no mistake about it. The Democrat Party is anxious to get their hands on your money.”

    False cause with perhaps a little ad hominem abusive thrown in at the end.

    “The key issue in this campaign is the security of the United States of America. You got to understand a lot of my thinking about the world changed on September the 11th, 2001. I make a lot of decisions on your behalf, and many of those decisions were affected by the fact that we lost nearly 3,000 of our citizens, 3,000 innocent lives on our soil on that fateful day. I vowed then, and I’ve vowed ever since, to use every national asset at my disposal to protect the American people.”

    Perhaps it’s a reach, but there seems to be bit of suppressed evidence here, namely that the war he is positing as protecting the American people has claimed more American lives than did September 11th. If he’s going to cite the loss of lives on 9/11 as the basis for his war, then he’s ignoring the fact that the war has cost more than 9/11, monetarily and in lives lost.

    “You can’t negotiate with these people. You cannot hope that they will go away. I like to remind people, therapy isn’t going to work. The best way to deal with these folks is to bring them to justice before they hurt America again. ”

    Classic Bushman (can i coin that term in place of the strawman? he uses the thing so often maybe it should bear his name). Has anyone proposed negotiating with Al Queda? Or having a “therapy” session with Bush, Cheney, Osama, and Zawahiri down at Bob Newhart’s office? Do we need to be “reminded” of this? Does he seriously believe this?! He’s created a whole new genre of political discourse. Rather than distort the argument of his opponent, he creates a whole new opponent along with the argument.

    “Our fellow citizens ought to listen to the words of Osama bin Laden, and Mr. Zawahiri, who is his number two in al Qaeda. They have clearly stated that Iraq is a central front in their war against us. ”

    Again, suppressing the evidence. Islamism was strictly nefas in Saddam’s Iraq; then we march in, guns blazing, Texas-style and turn it into a breeding ground for terrorism. Yet once again, he pretends there was no antecedent cause to Iraq’s becoming Osama’s recruiting poster.

    “Al Qaeda’s leadership has told us loud and clear in their own words their ambitions are to develop new safe haven from which to launch attacks.”

    Now he’s Bushmanning Osama! They don’t want to create a “safe haven” in Iraq, for the simple reason that they already have a safe haven in the Afghnai/Pakistani borderlands, which was made possible at least in part because we couldn’t press our attack there because we were gearing up for an invasion of Iraq. They just want to point to Iraq and say to disenfranchised Muslim youth,”Look! We were right all along! They do want to come over here and take your land, your oil, and your religion.”

    “The House Democrat Leader summed up her party’s approach to the midterm elections. She said this — and I quote — she said this election “should not be about national security.” I strongly disagree. The security of this country comes first, as far as I’m concerned. And this government, with supporters like Richard Pombo, will do everything we can to protect you. (Applause.) Of course, to give the Leader some credit, given her party’s record on national security, I can see why she feels that way. (Laughter.) I wouldn’t want to be talking about the record, either. ”

    Ad Hominem Circumstantial. Perhaps what Pelosi really meant is there might be other pertinent issues that should occupy the campaign slate, but then again, she’s just saying that because she’s a Democrat and they can’t talk national security, because their poor record in this area predisposes them to focus on other areas.

  2. That was comprehensive! I think Bush’s strawmanning is really redherringing–drawing people’s attention away to completely different arguments and opponents.

  3. even as a redherring it’s still used in a strange way, because he still pretends that his opponents, ostensibly Democrats, are making these sorts of obtuse claims, but you’re right in that that they are so bizarre that they are closer to read herrings than actual strawmen.

  4. i propose the term “bushman” to refer to his own special brand of fallacy, a unique hybrid of the straw-herring variety.

  5. Well, the difference between the straw man and the red herring consists I think in the degree to which the argument has been distorted. Bush makes up arguments and then criticizes them. By doing that he’s trying to get us to focus on lose sight of the original issue–thus the red herring. A straw man in the strict sense is to present a very weakened version opponent’s actual argument. I suppose the difference is subtle. They’re both questions of relevance.

    That said, perhaps you can give a fuller description of the “Bushman” fallacy complete with examples.

  6. “A straw-herring” I love it. I guess Putin’s brand would be a pickled herring.

    If Bush uses anymore strawman arguments, Ray Bolger’s estate may be able to sue for infringement.

  7. well, i think the bushman fallacy incorporates elements of the red herring and the strawman; it is usually a totally separate claim from the question at hand, obviously meant to distract from the real issue, like the red herring, yet it is presented in the form of an extant, but weak or ridiculous, argument against the relevant point, like the strawman. In certain instances, as below, it even is used to create non-existent premises for his arguments. he invents opponents and allies and uses their “opinions” or “questions” as he sees fit.

    From 2001 State of the Union @
    “Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network. ”

    Were Americans really asking that? Probably not. Perhaps more realistic is that rational Americans were asking,”Should we fight this war?”, but Bush constructed his own ally in this instance, and simultaneously created a phony premise for his argument.

    From a 2003 address on the Iraq War @
    “I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power.”

    Here he makes it seem as if the issue is the refusal of certain countries to follow UN resolutions by conjoining two separate things; in fact the reverse was true, the US, not “our friends” had refused to abide by the UN resolution. So, Bush constructs a fake argument to disguise the reality and to create an obviously flawed position for his opponents.

    From the 2003 State of the Union @
    “To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher costs – the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued. Because of excessive litigation, everybody pays more for health care – and many parts of America are losing fine doctors. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit – and I urge the Congress to pass medical liability reform.

    Here is our Leader at his best, begin with the Oversimplified Cause and use it to construct the Bushman. Has anyone ever even stipulated that “frivolous” malpractice suits heal anyone? No, but they hold negligent and careless physicians responsible for their actions. Yet he uses this to build the fake argument and offers it in such a way as to appear as a claim someone has actually offered up. Quintessential Bushmanning.

    From the same address:
    “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. ”

    The first sentence is textbook strawman, but look at the closing lines. Is this really an argument offered on the Senate floor, to “trust the sanity and restraint of Saddam”? I daresay not, it’s not even the issue at hand. Fake issue to distract, structured as a ridiculous, but real argument given to him.

    again from this address:
    “This dictator, who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons, has already used them on whole villages – leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained – by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

    If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. ”

    No sane person has ever, ever argued that Saddam was not a doer of evil acts. Nor was this the reason for the objections by the Senate for the decision to invade. Yet he makes it appear as both. The Bushman Cometh.

  8. BTW, SteveG: Ray Bolger, that’s priceless. just priceless. that should have been a Gore campaign ad….

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