“…You could be another Lincoln…”

I remember the first run of the “Why do you hate America?”
censorship that poured out in the weeks and months after 9/11. It was Bill
O’Reilly and the other “STFU” freedom fighters who labeled anyone who wanted to
stop and think about things for more than three seconds as being someone
willing to offer aid and comfort to terrorists. It was a stupid bit of
illogical patriotism that belied a larger concern that for all the freedom we
were fighting for, we had to pretty much give up our freedom to get it.

Facts? Fuck ‘em

Discussion? Only for pussies.

Logic? Queer shit.

Fast forward to
Friday in which Paul Ryan decided everything old was new again. He spent the
better part of a campaign speech in D.C. deriding the president for engaging in
similar behavior in terms of the economy and social issues.

Ryan noted:

“…if anyone dares to point out the facts” of the president’s
“record” then “they’re just being negative and pessimistic about the country.”

Aside from heaping on the“America: Fuck Yeah!”approach, he
upped his game by pointing out how Obama kept rolling out classic “strawman”
arguments that he would then beat into the ground:

“Nobody is better at rebuking nonexistent opinions,” Ryan
said. “Barack Obama does this all the time, and in this campaign we are calling
him on it.”

Looking at this argument is like staring into a moebius
strip: Every time you think you reached the end of it, you double back on top
of yourself and you feel upside down.

Start with the fact that it was the Republicans who spent
the entirety of the 2000s giving us the “agree or die” philosophy when it came
to actual life and death decisions. If Democrats are anything, it’s overly
sensitive dipshits who a) talk things to death or b) shut up if they can’t get
everyone to agree on something. The whole idea that Obama is doing this “Yeah?
You think so? Fuckin’ hater!” thing is laughable at best.

Then, move to the more amusing part of the program: the
strawman. I’m not a great fan of Bill Maher, but he has been right as rain on
this aspect of how the Republicans are running against Obama. There’s Real
Obama and there’s Imaginary Obama. The Republicans have spent the last several
years building an Imaginary Obama to run against, a guy who has a Negro Army
just waiting to fuck up white people, a man who is plotting to seize all the
guns and who will be walking through Bedford Stuy with milk crates full of
C-notes to make it rain on his peeps any day now. (He’s also a silver-spooned,
cultural elitist who never really worked a day in his life, but don’t let
anything that might seem counterintuitive slow you down here…).

I had a two-day fight with a friend over a fucking Internet meme
about how Obama said he didn’t think people should have guns. The fact he never
said it, has never said it and there was no evidence to support he would even
suggest it didn’t matter. It was online.

It was a picture and had quote marks
around words and EVERYTHING!


(Click here to see the source of this. When you’re done laughing, c’mon back.)

If that purple-pimp-hat-having, freedom-suppressing, gun-stealing,
black-junta-leading Obama were any more of a strawman, he’d be wearing flannel
and having a crow shitting on him.

So if you want to try to pare this down into an elevator
statement, Paul Ryan is essentially rolling out the ugliest parts of what the
Republicans have done or are attempting to do and saying Obama is doing them,
even with evidence or specificity to the contrary.

Obama isn’t perfect and I honestly don’t know how I’d vote
if this time around a “McCain/Somebody Awesome With a Brain” ticket came along.
That said, when a guy whose convention speech had fact checkers leaping off the
couch screaming, “Lordy, Lordy, we’re having BISCUITS TONIGHT! Chedda
comin’!!!!” calls you out, you have to kind of wonder where rock bottom is on
this campaign.

But if we need a meme to capture this, enjoy:


7 thoughts on ““…You could be another Lincoln…”

  1. Amazingly, the troll seems to be stating innuendo with not facts, no references. I know it is current SOP. But Really wonder why anyone would do that in this context as if to prove your point, Doc.
    Ryan may want to use some caution saying, “It’s classic Barack Obama straw man,” Ryan said at the Values Voters forum. “The new straw man is people hoping for the decline of America.”
    Wouldn’t take too long to find a video of McConnell saying the goal of the repub controlled house is to put things in ruins. For that matter, Romney was recorded saying the same thing. Not to mention the bi-partisan budget deal which the repubs praised up to the last minute when they pulled out (They were for it before they were against it?) etc.
    I might quibble that it isn’t that things have shifted and reversed. The hawks cried terror at 9/11 and the dissenters were branded as unpatriotic. The hawks scream today at the economy (I can’t look at a financial page without seeing a link (paid advertising, of course) at how the economy will fall tomorrow and all the millionaires have pulled their money out of stocks and other investments.) And better buy gold as to support the talk radio circuit in what seems the beginning of a pump and dump scheme. And anyone who disagrees with the repubs is trying to ruin the economy.
    The Hawks got us into 2 wars citing conclusive, incrotrovertable proof. Today on the terror in the economy, they ignore both the rises in the stock indexes, press for people to be terrified and horde everything (despite Bush’s call to support the economy by spending more) in opposition to an increase in consumer confidence. Not only in the economy but in everything, they scream terror to make people loose their confidence.
    Despite the fact that the market has actually done a fair job, despite Obama starting after a perilous free-fall, the reich not only keeps saying that it is dropping down the sewer and come dangerously close to appearing to want it to fail. Compare this to Bush who entered his first term on the coattales of the phenomenal rise in the late 90s and ran commercials last election about how no president has had such a hard time entering office with 2 wars (so the wars were going before Bush was elected making them pre 9/11, and Tampa then said that they were Obama’s fault????
    Which is another consistent pattern. Before Obama, everything was Clinton’s fault. Now, everything is Obama’s fault. It is never the repubs explaining how they misinterpretede clear, incontrovertible evidence. It is never the repubs explaining the effect of the 2 wars started under Bush on the economy. I am consistently amazed, both on the national stage and also in the people I know locally, how the party that talks about taking personal responsibility is never responsible.

  2. Oh, and even directly from the linked article’s title and Ryan’s words, they say Obama is pulling a straw man as they load up on everything from Birther arguments to falsely saying Obama is gonna take all your guns, to the DNC opened with a prayer for Sharia to rule the USA, …

  3. A moebius strip is perhaps the best description I have heard of the statements of a number of Republican candidates this election season.

  4. Wow. And the comments — Republicans just gulping down this un-sourced statement (from Lott, who has been discredited as thoroughly as any man on the planet *can* be who isn’t George Will) like it is the word of God, despite the fact that it meshes with nothing in the real world…
    Every time I think I can’t get any further disturbed at the level of idiocy in our country, WHAM. There it is.

  5. Doc, while the strawman is meant to criple an opponent by having to explain away the argument, the more I look at it, it is the much worse barrage of strawmen. Not just one distraction but pour out enough distractions to totally hog-tie your opponent. Don’t just question Obama’s father, but send out a barrage of mutually incompatible tripe ranging from Kenyan to Indonesian, Bad for going to Church invokes Jeremiah Wright while criticizing Obama both for speaking of God and Not speaking of God while criticizing the dems not specifically saying the word “God” (as if that were some sort of magic talisman – a practice which would have gotten them stoned in some ages)and for good measure call him a godless communist (along with alternate strawmen of Marxist, Lenninist, Communist, Socialist,…) In some ways, I wonder if the strength of the repubs is their fragmentation allowing them to simultaneously deride both sides.
    Then your apt Moebius Strip comes around to the start with a full 720-degrees as the same strawmen keep coming up again and again. For example, Obama has never shown his birth certificate despite posting it on the internet and the Governor of Hawaii (a republican) saying that the posted copy is authentic. (and meanwhile, the clammor allows Romney to get away without showing his Taxes).

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