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Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches (beyond barf alert)
AP ^ | 03/18/06 | JENNIFER LOVEN

Posted on 03/18/2006 2:33:33 PM PST by Pikamax

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 18, 12:52 PM ET

"Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day," President Bush said recently.

Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."

"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic.

Because the "some" often go unnamed, Bush can argue that his statements are true in an era of blogs and talk radio. Even so, "'some' suggests a number much larger than is actually out there," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

"It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said. "All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."

Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters.

Not long after taking office in 2001, Bush pushed for a new education testing law and began portraying skeptics as opposed to holding schools accountable.

The chief opposition, however, had nothing to do with the merits of measuring performance, but rather the cost and intrusiveness of the proposal.

Campaigning for Republican candidates in the 2002 midterm elections, the president sought to use the congressional debate over a new Homeland Security Department against Democrats.

He told at least two audiences that some senators opposing him were "not interested in the security of the American people." In reality, Democrats balked not at creating the department, which Bush himself first opposed, but at letting agency workers go without the usual civil service protections.

Running for re-election against Sen. John Kerry in 2004, Bush frequently used some version of this line to paint his Democratic opponent as weaker in the fight against terrorism: "My opponent and others believe this matter is a matter of intelligence and law enforcement."

The assertion was called a mischaracterization of Kerry's views even by a Republican, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona.

Straw men have made more frequent appearances in recent months, often on national security — once Bush's strong suit with the public but at the center of some of his difficulties today. Under fire for a domestic eavesdropping program, a ports-management deal and the rising violence in Iraq, Bush now sees his approval ratings hovering around the lowest of his presidency.

Said Jamieson, "You would expect people to do that as they feel more threatened."

Last fall, the rhetorical tool became popular with Bush when the debate heated up over when troops would return from Iraq. "Some say perhaps we ought to just pull out of Iraq," he told GOP supporters in October, echoing similar lines from other speeches. "That is foolhardy policy."

Yet even the speediest plan, as advocated by only a few Democrats, suggested not an immediate drawdown, but one over six months. Most Democrats were not even arguing for a specific troop withdrawal timetable.

Recently defending his decision to allow the National Security Agency to monitor without subpoenas the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorist ties, Bush has suggested that those who question the program underestimate the terrorist threat.

"There's some in America who say, 'Well, this can't be true there are still people willing to attack,'" Bush said during a January visit to the NSA.

The president has relied on straw men, too, on the topics of taxes and trade, issues he hopes will work against Democrats in this fall's congressional elections.

Usually without targeting Democrats specifically, Bush has suggested they are big-spenders who want to raise taxes, because most oppose extending some of his earlier tax cuts, and protectionists who do not want to open global markets to American goods, when most oppose free-trade deals that lack protections for labor and the environment.

"Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world," he said this month in India, talking about the migration of U.S. jobs overseas. "I strongly disagree."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: ap; bias; biased; bush; hitpiece; jenniferloven; loven; mediabias
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Wow... thats all.
1 posted on 03/18/2006 2:33:36 PM PST by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, ... a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

How many times have I heard or read "journalists" do this?

2 posted on 03/18/2006 2:35:35 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: Pikamax

Some say that JENNIFER LOVEN can't write.


3 posted on 03/18/2006 2:36:24 PM PST by mathprof
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To: mathprof

Many Americans wonder, "Why are so-called "journalists" like JENNIFER LOVEN such anti-American left wing ideologues?"


4 posted on 03/18/2006 2:38:32 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: Pikamax
This from the party that has declared Republicans want to "starve children and the poor""keep blacks from voting" and the list goes on and on.

What a bunch of fools suffering from a self imposed idiocy.

5 posted on 03/18/2006 2:39:03 PM PST by carlr
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To: Pikamax
Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

That sort of shoots down the argument doesn't it. Some people do say these things and say them in public and often. Then the MSM slavishly repeat it and lavish praise on the sayer.

6 posted on 03/18/2006 2:39:06 PM PST by Mike Darancette (In the Land of the Blind the one-eyed man is king.)
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To: Pikamax

Let me see.... this proves that Jennifer Loven, AP Reporterette, is.....

(1) a propaganda hack for the DNC;

(2) a dishonest fraud artist;

(3) guilty of exactly the rhetorical tactics she falsely accuses Pres. Bush of using.

(4) ALL OF THE ABOVE!


7 posted on 03/18/2006 2:39:20 PM PST by Enchante (Democrats: "We are ALL broken and worn out, our party & ideas, what else is new?")
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To: Pikamax
"..."a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion."

I say it's a mere figure of speech, and you guys should just get over it.

8 posted on 03/18/2006 2:40:54 PM PST by Theresawithanh (Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Didn't the Perky One coin the phrase "some say"


9 posted on 03/18/2006 2:40:55 PM PST by CMailBag
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To: Enchante

(5) Has joined the political jihad the democRATS have issued the fatwa for.


10 posted on 03/18/2006 2:42:37 PM PST by federal
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To: Pikamax

This is an AP opinion piece...not news...

Does AP DO opinion/editorial columns?


11 posted on 03/18/2006 2:43:08 PM PST by Txsleuth (Bush-Bot;WaterBucket Brigader;and fan of defconw;Cboldt is my mentor!)
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To: Pikamax

Wow is right. Now the AP is concerned with straw-man arguments? How dare that level that kind of attack in a supposed news story.


12 posted on 03/18/2006 2:44:06 PM PST by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Pikamax
Bush mangles logic so badly, that according to Kerry loving Jennifer Loven, he's bested by the Democrats. Call it another variant of the Bush Is Stupid argument the Democrats have trotted out for years now. They ridicule him for allegedly using straw man arguments in his speeches but they can't say why he has been able to persuade the public he's right. The liberal contempt for the American people just has to show up - the subtext of Loven's piece is we're all dummies too. Brilliant!

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

13 posted on 03/18/2006 2:44:45 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax

The President is being far more polite than I. I'd use phrases like "Some cowards say...", "Some people who hate America say...", "Some who wish to see this country torn down say...", "Some who believe government efficiency will make healthcare better...". It isn't that the President is setting up strawmen, it is that the ideas of Democrats are nothing more than straw and rather than knocking the strawmen down I'd like to see the President set them on fire. The time for polite discourse ended shortly after 9-11 when the Democratic party decided that rather than place the interests of America first they would do everything in their power to divide people on the basis of envy and by attacking our country, our soldiers and the American way of life.


14 posted on 03/18/2006 2:45:34 PM PST by Ma3lst0rm (Doing what is right is not contingent on whether the doing is easy.)
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To: Pikamax
Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

But the AP and the democrats do that all the time to conservative positions!
15 posted on 03/18/2006 2:45:42 PM PST by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Pikamax

I don't disagree with much of this. However, what I find absurd is that the author thinks that this activity is largely restricted to the President. Every politician does this. That doesn't make it right, but it does make the author kind of a moron for singling out the President.


16 posted on 03/18/2006 2:45:51 PM PST by Axhandle
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To: Jeff Chandler
How many times have I heard or read "journalists" do this?

Katie can't interview a conservative without using this at least 3 times.

17 posted on 03/18/2006 2:48:16 PM PST by digger48
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To: Pikamax

So an allegedly hard news agency news does political-editorials and calls it news. Who woulda thunk it.


18 posted on 03/18/2006 2:49:17 PM PST by Tarpon
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To: Pikamax
Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

nonsense. many do indeed say these. few of the big names will say them explicitly, but parsing what they do say does generate a position statement in all denotative ways identical to the more overt statements made by the DU/Kos-Kids Krowd.

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

hrmn... and when a lamestream talking-head uses the same phrasing to camouflage the fact he is saying "I say/I believe", in order to editorialize without restraint or data in what is presented as a "straight news" segment, does this author call them on it?
doubtful.

19 posted on 03/18/2006 2:49:44 PM PST by King Prout (DOWN with the class-enemies at Google! LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE'S CUBE!)
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To: Pikamax

AP? Enough said.


20 posted on 03/18/2006 2:50:52 PM PST by jazusamo (:Gregory was riled while Hume smiled:)
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To: King Prout
This is a DNC hit piece dressed up as news. Its not an objective article; its Loven writing an editorial opinion. Hers is no more valid that that of any one else's. What I find annoying is these liberal journalists won't even come out and acknowledge their own biases. But we know who they are.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

21 posted on 03/18/2006 2:52:49 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax
"Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world," he said this month in India, talking about the migration of U.S. jobs overseas. "I strongly disagree."

Is this writer so freaking thick that she actually believes that speaking this way is somehow deceptive? It's merely a convenient tool of rhetoric--does she actually expect him to explain every nuance of every single argument opposing his policies in his speeches? No--you just slap a label on the other side and go to town. People've been doing this as long as people have been communicating.

Of course, this reporter will soon be writing about every single other politician who does this--Ted Kennedy claiming Robert Bork will bring us back to the days of back alley abortions, for example--unless, of course, she claims Bush is the ONLY politician who does this, in which case she is even more guilty of this tactic than is the President.

22 posted on 03/18/2006 2:55:05 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: Pikamax
This will explain it.

In Georgetown's East Village, Roger Ballentine and his wife Jennifer Loven have sold their quaint two bedroom semi- detached Federal house at 1346 29th Street, N.W.

Roger Ballentine is president of Green Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in energy and environmental issues, and was previously deputy assistant to President Clinton for environmental initiatives and chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force. He also sits on the board of directors of Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)along with actors Ed Begley, Jr. and Larry Hagman. Jennifer Loven is a reporter for the Associated Press.

23 posted on 03/18/2006 2:55:06 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: Pikamax

Does Jennifer Loven think she's Maureen Dowd? Since when did AP start providing leftist editorials as if they were news articles? This one doesn't even PRETEND to be news.


24 posted on 03/18/2006 2:56:04 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Pikamax
More proof that AP is the Democrats Attack Dog.

I bet Jennifer Loven even looks like a dog, she sounds mighty frustrated.
25 posted on 03/18/2006 2:57:33 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (ETERNAL SHAME on the Treasonous and Immoral Democrats!)
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To: Pikamax

Some would say this is an editorial piece..not objective reporting.


26 posted on 03/18/2006 2:59:30 PM PST by MEG33 ( GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Pikamax

Let's see...

Conservatives oppose:

Voting Rights for Blacks
The Right of Women to "Choose"
Intelligent Political Dissent
Health Care for the Poor
Reading Programs for Children
Prescription Drugs for the Elderly
Gay Rights
"Living Wages" for the Poor
Assistance Programs for the Homeless

No, liberals never argue against a strawman...

I think people need to realize that conservatives and liberals often agree on goals for the country... Good education, health care for everyone, a safety net for those who lose their jobs, good retirement plans, law and order, etc...

We just disagree on HOW to accomplish these goals.


27 posted on 03/18/2006 3:00:14 PM PST by Lunatic Fringe (Olfrygt: the nagging fear of being unable to find beer while out of town.)
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To: CMailBag
Didn't the Perky One coin the phrase "some say"

Bawa Walters and Andrea Mitchell were using that before Couric was born.

(That's gonna leave a mark.)

28 posted on 03/18/2006 3:00:49 PM PST by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: Darkwolf377
The other implied subtext of course in Bush is a liar and no one should trust anything he says. While of course the Democrats wear halos like saints do and you can always rely on them to tell the truth. That's really what you're getting at, isn't it Ms. Loven? Very subtle.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

29 posted on 03/18/2006 3:01:58 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax


Let`s get off our duffs and do somethin`

feedback@ap.org


30 posted on 03/18/2006 3:02:05 PM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Pikamax
Jennifer Loven needs some Lovin'......the overwhelming frustration she's feeling comes screaming though the article. She may be more frigid than Maureen Dowd.

Wait one, check that...NO ONE is more frigid than Mo Dowd.

31 posted on 03/18/2006 3:04:01 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (COLD PINK: Frigid Womyn For Peace)
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To: Pikamax

Basically, this is just another form of personal attack and name-calling session against Bush. She loses.


32 posted on 03/18/2006 3:04:08 PM PST by melt (Someday, they'll wish their Jihad... Jihadn't.)
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To: goldstategop
Good point. She would have us believe the repulsive Reid and pelosi and EVERY other politician isn't out there making broad statements.

The difference, of course, is Bush is making them in defense of America and attacking Al Qaeda; Reid and pelosi are making them in defense of the democratic party and attacking the President.

33 posted on 03/18/2006 3:05:49 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: John Lenin
...two bedroom semi- detached Federal house at 1346 29th Street, N.W.

That makes Jennifer one of the evil rich.

34 posted on 03/18/2006 3:05:51 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (COLD PINK: Frigid Womyn For Peace)
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To: Doctor Raoul

$478K house, now. Was it at the peak when they sold?


35 posted on 03/18/2006 3:09:07 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (COLD PINK: Frigid Womyn For Peace)
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To: Pikamax; Jeff Chandler; Enchante
About the author Jennifer Loven:

Power Line: Jennifer Loven, Democratic Operative

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/007959.php

AP reporter Jennifer Loven goes back … to the future

Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven either got a ride from Marty McFly or got her own flux capacitor up to 88 mph to file this story on President Bush’s speech, about three hours before it is scheduled to start. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin).

http://www.rathergate.com/?p=903

36 posted on 03/18/2006 3:14:38 PM PST by lowbridge (I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming, like his passengers.)
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To: Pikamax
A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis ....

WOW! What a Job Title! How does one get this esteemed job as "specialist in presidential rhetoric" anyway? Is there a course at the local college to take for preparation into this exciting and rewarding career ... sign me up! /sarcasm off

37 posted on 03/18/2006 3:15:11 PM PST by Mr_Moonlight
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To: Pikamax

Critics charge that Jennifer Loven of AP is a biased hack who mis-represents what Bush says, did so during the 2004 campaign, and continues to write hit pieces against the Presidents in her op-eds disgused as 'news'.

Heck, I am not saying it, I am just reporting that some people say it..


38 posted on 03/18/2006 3:22:56 PM PST by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com/)
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To: Axhandle

"I don't disagree with much of this. However, what I find absurd is that the author thinks that this activity is largely restricted to the President. Every politician does this. That doesn't make it right, but it does make the author kind of a moron for singling out the President."

She's not a moron, she's a biased liberal.

Then again, the differences can be subtle.


39 posted on 03/18/2006 3:24:25 PM PST by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com/)
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To: Cicero

"Does Jennifer Loven think she's Maureen Dowd? Since when did AP start providing leftist editorials as if they were news articles?"

This has been going on for several years... Loven wrote anti-Bush hit pieces as AP "news" while her husband helped the Kerry campaign. All in the (liberal) Family.


40 posted on 03/18/2006 3:25:41 PM PST by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com/)
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To: Pikamax

Jennifer Loven doesn't know what a straw man arguement is.


41 posted on 03/18/2006 3:35:27 PM PST by bad company ("Any damned fool can write a plan. It's the execution that gets you all screwed up." - James F. Hol.)
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To: Pikamax
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

Google: Web Results 1 - 10 of about 225 for "jennifer loven" "some say"

White House Tests Flu Pandemic Readiness By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer Saturday, December 10, 2005 "Some say that more comprehensive steps are needed to get ready for a possible pandemic, such as boosting the nation's public health infrastructure."

Please continue to enlighten us, Miss Loven.

42 posted on 03/18/2006 3:35:47 PM PST by lowbridge (I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming, like his passengers.)
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To: lowbridge
That's a straw man argument right there. But I forget: Democrats have pure motives and Republicans like Cretans, are born liars.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

43 posted on 03/18/2006 3:38:50 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax

Iraqi citizen gives JENNIFER LOVEN a purple finger...and it's not a thumb!


44 posted on 03/18/2006 4:43:33 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (I'm a Paleo-liberal: I believe in freedom; am socially independent and a borderline fiscal anarchist)
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To: Pikamax

Oh please. As if these same left wing hacks didn't blame Rush Limbaugh and anyone more conservative than Ted Kennedy for the Oklahoma City bombing.


45 posted on 03/18/2006 4:55:17 PM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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To: Pikamax

Of course, if the President ever dared identify the "some" of whom he speaks (which would be easy to do), he would be charged with "bullying", "abuse of power", and "McCarthyism".


46 posted on 03/18/2006 7:21:54 PM PST by pawdoggie
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To: lowbridge

And intelligent readers say....Loven & the AP are becoming more blatantly biased against the President with each 'editorialized' article printed!


47 posted on 03/18/2006 9:38:30 PM PST by JulieRNR21 (Katherine Harris is 'In It to Win It' .....Go here: http://www.electharris.org/)
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To: Pikamax
"It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said.
"All politicians
(and members of the Enemedia) try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."

This is rich! I can not believe ANY ONE, least of all a member of the Enemedia, would put this in print.

Rush needs to see this and read while his perky Couric montage plays in the background.

48 posted on 03/18/2006 9:59:37 PM PST by Just A Nobody (NEVER AGAIN - Support our troops. I *LOVE* my attitude problem! Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: Pikamax

Warning label should be applied to everything Jennifer writes. She is married to a former Clintonite and DNC big wig.


49 posted on 03/19/2006 5:18:51 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Are you not entertained? Are you NOT entertained? Is this not what you came here for?)
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To: Darkwolf377
Jennifer Loven is married to Roger Ballantine, a former Clinton adviser and also a paid 'environmental' adviser to the Kerry campaign.

Here is a dissection of my favorite Loven hit piece.

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/007958.php#007958
50 posted on 03/19/2006 5:07:18 PM PST by Carling (RIP Kirby Puckett - Another Part Of My Childhood Dies)
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