Monday, June 12, 2006

Straw Man Contest #1

By Cassandra D

It's time for all of you to dust off your thinking caps. We all know that Karl Rove and company have made a lot of mileage off of straw man arguments. Heck, they've perfected the dubious art, and unfortunately people tend to be convinced.

In an article on this phenomenon, the Washington Post quotes Bush in the run-up to the 2004 election: "The natural tendency for people is to say, oh, let's lay down our arms. But you can't negotiate with these people. . . . Therapy won't work."

I'm convinced that if a Democrat (or moderate Republican, should one exist) is to win in 2008 we must muster up straw men to help our cause. What we need is practice, practice, practice! To that end I am starting a contest.

The subject matter for Week #1: Flag Burning

And to start things off, here's my attempt at a straw man argument:

"Some people think that our country is so weak and threatened that it can be hurt by pitiful acts such as burning our flag. They think that the only way to get people to respect the flag is to outlaw disrespect. Well, we know that our country is strong. We don't have to be threatened in order to show respect to the flag. We believe that our demonstrating love for our country and flag speaks loudest to the rest of the world when they know we could choose to do otherwise. And they envy our freedom. The Soviet Union needed laws to protect their flag. We don't. Why have the Republicans lost faith in Americans? Why don't they think our country has earned our respect?"

Your turn ...


At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

Actually, Cassandra, no worries. People like Rahm Emanuel and other leaders of the national Democrat party are way ahead of you. Emanuel -- as you know -- is hoping to take control of the U.S. House in the upcoming general election. After serving as a top honcho in the Clinton administration he's quite adept at making straw man arguments all the time. All of this makes perfect sense, of course, since he used to be a ballet dancer and is merely translated physical pirouettes into rhetorical ones. So don't sweat it.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

Phrase should have been ... "is merely TRANSLATING physical pirouettes..." The instantaneous nature of blogs encourages bad typos.

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Red Dirt didn't follow the rules. He was supposed to make up his own straw man argument. Please try again.

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

Here's one. Flag burning is a waste of fire that would be better spent igniting crosses on the lawns of jews and muslims. If you burn the flag, you're turning your back on your Christian values. Now that's a straw man argument that the Republican religious right should be able to get behind.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Conrad Spencer said...

“There are those who would have the government step in to solve this problem,and every problem, but unlike these big government types, I’ve always believed that personal responsibility can do more than a host of government programs. We must each bear the responsibility of not burning our flag, and only then will this sacred symbol of America’s honor be protected. In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, ‘Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.’”

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

Yeah, Red Dirt didn't play the straw man argument as much as he engaged in his party's other favorite game -- thinly veiled homophobia.

Then, you call him on it, and he says, "Well, I'm not responsible for you equating male ballet dancers with homosexuality -- you're just letting your poorly masked bigotry out in the open. And you dare paint Republicans with the brush of intolerance!"

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Cassandra D said...

I hereby pronounce Conrad the winner. Call up the DNC and get a job, Conrad. We need you.

Excellent entry, Ben, but I suspect that your average right-winger might guess that you were up to something with your rhetoric, even those (few we can hope)who secretly agreed with you.

And Red Dirt, I hope you are right, but I haven't seen much clever spinning from the Dems. And for future SMC's(that's Straw Man Contests, in case you didn't figure it out), your challenge is to come up with a straw man argument to convince Rush and O'Reilly that you aren't a crazy environmentalist loon. Pick any environmentalist cause that you and your "crunchie con" colleagues care about, and convince the vast populace of your party to agree with you.

I love arguing politics with you, Red Dirt, even (especially?) when we disagree, and for the record I don't think you are a homophobe. Even if your party most certainly is.


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