Saturday, March 08, 2008

HE WHO FUCKS NUNS WILL LATER JOIN THE CHURCH. At Commentary Michael J. Totten, while admitting that Sam Power's A Problem from Hell was "hardly wishy-washy or leftist" (his highest rating!), says he's still glad* she was kicked off the Obama team for calling Clinton a monster. Go ahead, folks, try and guess his rationale -- no matter how smart or familiar with Totten's schtick you are, you'll still be way off:
If she thinks Clinton is a monster, what does she think about the dictators of Syria and Iran? She doesn't approve of them. That's obvious. But neither she nor Obama has ever been so "undiplomatic" as to suggest that they're monsters.
As with Farrakhan, Obama must not just disapprove, he must also denounce, deplore, double-dog dare and be disgustipated with! Otherwise he cannot be trusted with this nation's highest office.

As for the notion that using stronger words to abuse Hitlery Clinton than dictators is wrong, a quick tour of the blogosphere will show that the Obama campaign staff is far from the worst offender.

Once upon a time, Totten might have pointed this out himself, as proof of his reasonable moderation -- you know, back in the day when he was "defending liberals against attacks by conservatives who lumped them in with leftists," making "The Liberal Case for Bush," and portraying himself as a disgruntled Independent who was driven from the Democratic Party, for which he once allegedly felt a "sense of loyalty or affection," by such extreme SDS types as Oliver Willis.

Now Totten beats up liberals for the Podhoretz family. I would say that Totten was the only one who didn't see this coming, but I have a hunch that he did, too.

UPDATE. I doubt that the comments signed "Michael J. Totten" are really his -- Totten's traditional persecuted tone is missing, which suggests either fraud or extraordinary personal growth -- but they do offer what they call a teachable moment.

The commenter asks if we have read Power's book. The book is neither the subject of the post nor relevant to the case.

Why does he bring it up then? It's the sort of rhetorical feint you're left with when you can't justify your own reasoning, like saying, "Okay, so Mars isn't the furthest planet from the Sun, but I can touch my nose with my tongue."

Logic doesn't cease to be logic because you went to Iraq or read a book. Even if Totten had read the entire contents of the New York Public Library, his suggestion that Obama and Power are soft on dictators because they never called Ahmadinejad and al-Ashad monsters would still be an offense to common sense.

It's a small thing, but it relates to a larger phenomenon. I see a lot of my subjects engaging in rhetorical tactics that at first look merely flawed or inept, but which repetition reveals to be conscious and deliberate. The purpose seems to be to short-circuit logical argument; they're like anti-logic viruses. When I get around to taxonomizing right-wing propaganda tactics, I'll need to include an entry for the Argument from Irrelevant Authority.

*UPDATE II. I should note that Totten didn't say he was "glad" Power was fired. Also that I misspelled Power's name through this post, and have corrected it. I wonder if she's related to Cat?

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