Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
Changing the Subject

Negative Campaigning as Phony Issue #3

by Barnabas
March 17, 2004

Bookmark and Share


Other aides to Mr. Bush, and some Republican officials, said that the attack advertisement against Mr. Kerry — who ran several commercials attacking Mr. Bush during the early primaries and caucuses — was working simply by forcing him to respond to Mr. Bush rather than to promote his own themes.
- Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, March 13, 2004

We are offended when we are told we have bad breath, but we also do something about it; the issue raised is the one dealt with. Most people of conscience, when called bad names, are indeed offended, but they also examine their behavior to see what might have given rise to such words. "What have we done to provoke that response?"

Politicians, as politicians, do not usually run on conscience. They do run partly on memory, however. In this case, when Kerry said that the Republican campaign was run by crooks and liars, the Republicans responded by saying that Kerry was not a nice person. They have a memory of Nixon and Clinton and do not want a public debate on whether they are crooks and liars. So they change the subject. Logicians call this form of fallacious argument by the technical term, "Look who’s talking!"

Public debate is not going to happen for two reasons: first, it’s invalid because it is about persons, not issues; second, because it is too risky to engage in. So instead of examining the evidence as to fact, campaigners resort to the playground tactic of calling names. "Crooks and liars!" say the Democrats. "Not nice!" answer the Republicans. "Phony issue," says Barnabas.

A debate sure would be fun though, especially if Molly Ivins and Ann Coulter were co-moderators.

It happened a second time in the same week, but I promise myself and you that I am not going to keep track of all the times it’s going to happen before November. The Republicans released their first negative campaign ad, declaring that Kerry wants to raise taxes by $900,000,000,000.

The Democrats could have responded in their answering ad by revealing how Kerry plans to pay for his proposed programs, but that would have made it a real issue. So, instead of answering the question implied in the ad, they respond by changing the subject. They raise the sanctimonious question of how long we should bear with a President who releases misleading commercials.

Substantive issues require factual research, intellectual sweat, and risk. Phony issues are preferred because they require none of them. They also have nothing to do with responsible politics.

(0 Comments)
Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Changing the Subject
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Barnabas
Barnabas Says Goodbye
Moving on, not moving out.
by Barnabas, 1/19/05
Seats on the Fifty-Yard Line
Yet another American value.
by Barnabas, 1/12/05
Ethical Endgame
When children become sexual slaves.
by Barnabas, 12/15/04
Eighteen Years on Death Row
We have redefined 'speedy trial' and 'cruel and unusual.'
by Barnabas, 12/8/04
Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
Legalizing marijuana.
by Barnabas, 12/1/04
Wesley and Wal-Mart
Destructive competition as a stinky enterprise.
by Barnabas, 11/24/04
The Mandate to Govern
Third party time.
by Barnabas, 11/17/04
» Complete List (137)


Recently Published
View Article May I Be Frank, Mr. President?
Challenging a double standard in the Oval Office
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/15/17
Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top