Back when I was in high school, I occasionally enjoyed competitive debating. One of the tools I found effective was the “straw man” device. Basically, you present a completely preposterous argument, presumably from the other side (hence the “straw man”) and then proceed to systematically tear it down.
It was easy, effective, and perfect for high school.
After high school . . . not so much. That’s because the average person with a functioning brain can instantly identify the straw man’s argument as so ridiculous that tearing it down doesn’t prove much more than an IQ at least equal to room temperature.
So why does President Obama use it over and over again?
It’s not an occasional thing with him either. He does it all the time. Big speeches and off the cuff remarks inevitably include an outrageous attack by him on the poor defenseless straw man.
His Inaugural Address was full of such arguments.
For example, he said, “No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and network of research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.”
How can anyone argue with this statement? It’s so obvious. In saying this , he clearly suggests that those evil Republicans somehow disagree with this view. That’s false, and he knows it.
I bring this up because last week in his “farewell before my next big vacation” press conference, his energy level kicked up a notch when he was going after the straw man again. Only this time, he actually dared state that all these crazy words came out of the mouths of Republicans.
For example, in his lengthy defense of ObamaCare, he said, “[t]he idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea.” He also claimed that “Republicans have determined that they don’t want these folks [to] get health care.”
Which Republicans, pray tell, have come out and said that they just don’t want these people to get health care? Please provide the names of any single Republican who is making it their mission to block people from getting health care.
This is a completely loaded statement and utterly false. If, however, this is what President Obama thinks Republicans’ sole motivation is in opposing this law then I’m curious how he ever got through Harvard Law School.
During the press conference, he was also asked about immigration reform and Republican opposition to the Senate passed immigration reform bill.
He responded, “Now, what they may argue is it doesn’t solve the problem 100 percent. I don’t know a law that solves a problem 100 percent.” He added, “It just means that there are very few human problems that are 100 percent solvable.”
Again, who is the Republican who won’t be satisfied until the law fixes everything 100 percent? I really would like to know because obviously that person is delusional and obviously needs to be replaced by a more well-grounded Republican.
Occasionally, President Obama abandons the straw man for a statement that he knows will just be a crowd pleaser whether he actually believes what he’s saying or not.
During the press conference, he also said, “What you should be thinking about is how we can advance and improve ways for middle-class families to have some security so that if they work hard, they can get ahead and their kids can get ahead.”
Spoken like a true Republican.