It’s too soon to know how badly Donald Trump damaged himself by belittling John McCain’s war record on July 18 in Iowa. After all, George W. Bush wasn’t hurt in the 2000 South Carolina primary when his operatives rumored that McCain had an illegitimate black child, nor was W hurt in the 2004 election when his Swift Boat surrogates defamed John Kerry’s war record, nor was McCain’s campaign for the 2008 Republican nomination derailed by his reputation as a bully and hothead.
Is Mitt Romney more like Gordon Gekko, the greedy anti-hero in the movie Wall Street, or Thurston Howell, the elitist millionaire in the TV show Gilligan’s Island? Is he a rapacious, heartless capitalist with no conscience, or a conceited man of privilege who doesn’t have a clue how the rest of us live but patronizingly believes he does?
Republicans aren’t immune to the lure of fallacies like straw man. You didn’t have to listen long in last night’s Republican debate to hear some.
Straw man arguments involve a specific fallacy: rebutting arguments you say the other side makes but which they really don’t. You can do that by picking dumb people on the other side to rebut, or quoting the other side’s views without naming a source (“Some say…”) allowing you to distort their views. Continue reading Fall Fallacies→