Eugene Robinson, liberal columnist for the post, probably means this as friendly advice to democrats (but I’m not so sure, better ask Bob Somerby), but it comes across as instance of the “at least . . .” fallacy. This fallacy is a misbegotten child of the principle that “something is better than nothing.” How does it work? Robinson writes:
>And please, no hiding behind “I don’t do hypotheticals.” The Republican candidates’ view of Iraq, Iran and the Middle East is dangerously apocalyptic, but at least it’s a vision. What’s yours?
Why does he say this? Leading democratic candidates refused to say all of our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of their first term, i.e., 2013. Their view is that their waiting for reality to disclose itself:
>”It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting,” said Hillary Rodham Clinton.
>”I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Barack Obama.
>”I cannot make that commitment,” said John Edwards.
Robinson’s childish gripe reminds me of something I saw on local TV yesterday. Asked which party they support, a group of students at a local community college responded with answers one might expect (democrats–it is Chicago). One, however, responded that he supports the party with “big ideas”–i.e., Republicans. They have big ideas alright. But the size of ideas isn’t a point in their favor. On that score, some vision is not necessarily better than no “vision.”