The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

GOP Strategy: Play Tin Man to push over Straw Man

COME ON! What are you thinking??? Here’s the deal:

“Confronting a dire outlook for next year’s elections, House Republicans have begun to fight back with a new three-pronged strategy: painting the new Democratic majority as part of an unpopular Washington status quo, forcing Democrats to make unpopular votes on tough issues and locking arms around a new GOP issues agenda.”(1)

This is just another ridiculous reminder of the flaws in our political system. The House Republicans are using what’s called a “straw man” argument. In essence, a “straw man” argument seeks to make the opponent look weaker so the arguer looks stronger in comparison. This may say a couple of things about our political system (though it’s nothing new):

  1. Genuine discourse with respect to issues of content is valued little, as evidence of this new policy.
  2. It seems as if the House Republicans don’t think that the general population is intelligent enough to recognize this tactic; they certainly haven’t tried to diguise it.

I don’t like/dislike the Republicans any more than the Democrats, but regardless of who’s “side” it is, PLEASE use substantive arguments to support your cause. The Straw Man explicitly endorses irrational discourse and is counterproductive no matter who it’s coming from. Perhaps (and probably, as a matter of fact) it will get you move votes than using substantive grounds and maybe that’s a fatal flaw in the system.

What it comes down to is this: Acting in a group does not waive one’s personal moral/ethical (in a non-religious sense) responsibility to society. “I’m acting through loyalty to the party” or “This is the only way to get votes” are not valid. Regardless of excuses or causes, we are all responsible for our own actions and have to answer to their results in more ways than one.


October 20, 2007 Posted by | Congress, General Discourse, GOP | Leave a comment

What?…Congress votes?…

This is a pretty useful tool. The WaPo’s record of each individual congress person’s votes since the 102nd Congress.

Here is a hyperlinked list of the relevant candidates for the 2008 election:


Joe Biden (Senate)

Hillary Clinton (Senate)

Chris Dodd (Senate)

John McCain (Senate)

Barack Obama (Senate)

House of Representatives

Duncan Hunter (House)

Dennis Kucinich (House)

Ron Paul (House)

Tom Tancredo (House)

October 20, 2007 Posted by | 2008 Election, Congress, House of Representatives | , | Leave a comment

Them’s fightin’ words: Passion in da’ House! (Video)

Rep. Pete Stark from California was not too happy with Bush’s veto of SCHIP. Stark comes down on the President pretty hard in this one, prompting Speaker Pelosi to repeat,

“Members are reminded not to refer to the President in any personal way.”

Strong words, Madam Speaker. Not to rag on Pelosi too much though, it’s her job. Her comments next to Stark’s just seemed to highlight the absurd mix of extremes in Congress with respect to speech in general. Maybe it’s a good thing though: the voice of rationality, or at least the voice of rote reminders, keeping fiery passions in check.

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Congress, Health Care, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, SCHIP, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush in an absurd Full Nelson (Video)

This is too funny to try to explain. Just watch the video.

It took me a number of times to understand it. I think he meant “Mandela-like people.” I just don’t know…

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Bushisms, George W. Bush, Video | Leave a comment

Bush wants to stay in power?

I don’t really know what to think of this. I said jokingly in casual conversation sometime last year that I wouldn’t be surprised if Bush tried to extend his presidency; he’s certainly done more ludicrous things in his time. I don’t even know…

Reporter: Mr. President, following up on Vladimir Putin for a moment, he said recently that next year, when he has to step down according to the constitution, as the president, he may become prime minister; in effect keeping power and dashing any hopes for a genuine democratic transition there …

Bush: I’ve been planning that myself.

Considering his…way with words…he may have been attempting to make a joke. However I don’t know if it’s appropriate for a president to say that in a serious context, even if it is intended as a joke.

October 20, 2007 Posted by | George W. Bush | | Leave a comment

“Please, sir, may I have some?”

No… Say Bush and congress to low-income children in need of health insurance. Congress voted Thursday in an effort to override the President’s October 3rd veto of the bipartisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill previously passed by both houses of congress. The bill was intended to “extend and improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program”(1) already in place and proposed to fund this with a cigarette and cigar tax increase of over 100% .

This issue is much more complex than it seems on the surface. It is not simply ‘discouraging unhealthy habits and increasing health coverage for low-income children.’ Among many other things, it’s a socio-economic status issue. It’s been argued that such a tax would be a “poor tax” since the majority of cigarette consumers are of lower class. The argument goes something like, ‘you would be taking money away from low-income workers to fund health insurance for their children.’

That doesn’t sound quite as noble. Sure, low-income children deserve health care, but if you take money from their parents to pay for it, they might not have the resources to avoid the need for such care. It’s hard to speculate because there are so many other variables, many probably stronger than this, that would affect the situation. Just something to think about.

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Bills, George W. Bush | Leave a comment

Cannot find WMD’s

Thanks, Rachel, for linking this to me.

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Things They Carried” minus O’Brien

A few days ago (Tuesday), WaPo published an op-ed written by 12 former Army Captains who all served in during the present war. This article seems to summarize it better than I could hope to:

“Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we’re gone.”

It’s interesting to hear former military personnel say this. This opinion seems so pervasive that I have a hard time believing that Bush genuinely doesn’t understand the situation. Maybe another motive? I’m not conspiracy theorist and its possible that I just don’t want to believe Bush is using is power for personal, ideological ends. Not that he hasn’t done that before, what with “leading” (and it should be noted that you can’t have a “leader “without followers) us into the war and all, but on such a tragic scale…wow…

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Iraq War | Leave a comment

Chris Dodd’s “hold”: FISAble?

Yesterday, Senator and Presidential hopeful Chris Dodd said that he intends to place a “hold” on the Senate FISA renewal bill. According to Election Central,

“[…] The Senate FISA renewal bill reportedly grants retroactive immunity to telephone companies for any role they played in the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program.”

Some see it as a political stunt, some see Dodd searching for support, some see it as a genuine act of justice, but it really seems too early to speculate at this point. Anyway, it seems like the type of judgment that doesn’t hold any real world meaning now, so why make it?

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Chris Dodd, FISA, Patriot Act | , , | Leave a comment