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The Democrats' Straw-Man Argument

By Betsy Newmark

Rand Simberg takes on a trick of arguing that has long irritated me. The Democrats have been setting up a false argument that they say the Republicans support and then ridicule that position.
When war opponents declare that there is no military solution, they are attempting to imply that those with whom they politically differ believe that there is not only a military solution, but that it is the sole component of the solution, and that no other solutions (e.g., diplomacy, reform of a corrupt government, etc.) need apply.

There is an additional false implication that the military will play no part of the solution -- that only their solutions are useful. Hence their extremist demands for years that the troops be brought out of Iraq immediately. After all, if there is no military solution, what is the military doing there, and what harm can there be in removing it?

Similarly, when we are told that we can't drill our way out of our current energy problems, they falsely imply that those who favor expanded domestic exploration believe that this is a panacea, and that no other measures need be taken to solve the energy shortage. But I'm aware of no proponent of looking for more sources at home who believes this.

He is exactly right. By simplifying the Republicans' position, they can demagogue their refutations of the straw-man that they themselves created. For both of these issues, the Republicans had a much more complex position, but the Democrats have been successful in minimizing those positions.

Republicans do the same thing when, for example, they pretend that Obama's sole energy plan is to inflate our tires.

This is where the media could help us all out. Every time a politician played this straw-man argument, the journalists should call them on it and clarify for the public what is going on. Instead, too often all we get is a quote from a Democrat and one from a Republican and the journalist thinks he or she has done the job of presenting a fair picture of the arguments involved.

Betsy blogs daily at Betsy's Page