Republicans have the best bullies

mk_trump_72015_539_332_c1It’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.

Trump himself has until now been helped, not harmed, by insulting his GOP rivals as losers, clowns, dummies and lightweights. But his McCain slam gives other candidates an opening to mime indignation. For them, it can’t come a moment too soon, because Trump was on the verge of owning the machismo brand.
Photo by L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via Reuters Continue reading Republicans have the best bullies

Governor, Heal Thyself

If an entire state could be crazy as a box of frogs, it would be Arizona. If a whole state could be crazy and brag about it, it would be Texas. Continue reading Governor, Heal Thyself

Mitt Romney: Gordon Gekko or Thurston Howell?

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?

The Obama campaign has chosen the Gekko frame to define Romney for the fall election and has staked its early advertising on it. But Howell may be an even better bet. Continue reading Mitt Romney: Gordon Gekko or Thurston Howell?

Fall Fallacies

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