Wednesday, February 11, 2009

# Posted 2:44 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE WaPo GETS IT: To my surprise, this morning's Post had a whole article about how Obama caricatures the opponents of the stimulus as people who want to do nothing in the midst of a crisis. Here's the key grafs from Obama Paints America's Choice As His Plan Or Nothing:

FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 10 -- President Obama likes to portray the battle over the economic stimulus package that passed the Senate on Tuesday as a stark choice between his approach and that of those who would "do nothing."...

"There seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing," he said.

But in truth, few of those involved in the stimulus debate are suggesting that the government should not take action to aid the cratering economy.

Many of the president's fiercest congressional critics support a stimulus package of similar size but think it should be built around a much higher proportion of tax cuts than new spending. Others have called for a plan that is half the size of the one headed for a House-Senate conference -- still massive by historical standards.
Think about those words: "in truth". You don't see them often in a newspaper that plays by the unofficial rules of concealing its correspondents' opinions.

Anyhow, in order to achieve the balance expected from correspondents for the WaPo, the article includes this graf:

But if Republicans express frustration about Obama's rhetorical device, they need only look back to the man he succeeded for precedent. George W. Bush was proficient at setting up straw men when arguing for his policies, only to tear down the positions of those phantom opponents as irresponsible, unworkable or downright shameful in comparison with his own.

During debates with Democrats about the Iraq war, Bush often cast his rivals as believing that "the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day."
Now, I'm not going to defend George W. Bush as a model of upright debating tactics. But since the Majority Leader in the Senate actually said "the war is lost", I've got to take Bush's side on that one. Just saying, y'know.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

I agree that they came up with a very bad example, but my objection goes deeper than that.

Did Bush really invent the strawman argument? I seem to recall earlier examples. This is nothing but a cheap shot thrown in carelessly for "balance". Typical.
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