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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Straw Man Politics: or Why I Vote Nader Every Election


This presidential race is making progressively more uncomfortable with modern American politics.
Have you ever heard of the straw man argument? Basically, if we are debating two different sides of an issue (and by the way, since when are there only two sides to every issue? Some issues have multiple views.), I would repeat your argument in a way that is misinterpreting what you say, making it easier to defeat.
This race is full of straw man debates. The first and most noticeable was Guiliani's ridiculous attack on Ron Paul in the South Carolina Fox "News" Debate. This is on YouTube if anyone cares to view it. Paul discusses problems with American foreign policy over the last few years (extending back to the Clinton years), and how this contributed to a society that wanted to attack us. And did attack us. Guiliani (and Fox News "moderator" to loosely use the term), changes what he said. Paul was discussing foreign policy mistakes, and Guiliani restates his statement as blaming America for the attack. This was a cheap tactic to score political points and works against the best interest of debate.
Guiliani is satisfied to over simplify the situation to a soundbite just to score cheap points with hawkish neocons.
Is this the kind of leader we want? A man willing to ignore important information just to please a part of his base?
In the most recent debates, Romney changes Obama's remarks regarding meeting with foreign dictators. (Though to be fair to Romney, Clinton changed them first. He was just following her lead.) He said Obama would agree to sit down and have tea with our enemies, when this is not what he said at all in the CNN debates. This is exactly what Clinton said when she conveniently re-worded Obama's point in order to make him sound naive. In case you didn't catch that though, she was more than willing to call him naive directly.
I'm deeply troubled we have reached a stage where these arguments fly, and the American people are content to watch politicians attack and lie about each other, rather than find out who is most qualified to lead this country.
Based on their behavior in the campaign, I would never vote Guilian, Romney or Clinton if this is how they choose to conduct themselves.
It's looking like I will be voting for Nader again...

1 comments:

Anonymous emily.n said...

you know, i might join you. i like obama, but there's a few things up his sleeve that i'm not reading quite right. i mean, it's politics, so you take the best guess, right?

who knows what the best guesses will be, though. it's still early.

7:29 PM  

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