Friday, January 23, 2015

Appeal to Authority Examples: 2012

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2012 Appeal to Authority
ROMNEY: I want to help small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go. And they’re going now because of the policies of this administration.
-- Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), October 16, 2012, during the second presidential debate in Hempstead, NY, between Romney and President Barack Obama.

Comment: Romney is making an appeal to authority. Fine, he's worked in the private sector, but he still has to justify why his ideas on job creation are better. Experts still have to provide sound arguments for their positions, just like everyone else.

"Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. "Start a business," he said. But how? "Borrow money if you have to from your parents," he told them. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it."
-- Mayor Julian Castro (D-San Antonio), September 4, 2012, during his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Comment: If Castro is implying that you can't come up with policies that are good for the poor if you haven't been poor yourself, then this is a faulty appeal to authority. And, does suggesting to people that they try borrowing money from their parents somehow make Romney "out of touch"?

"The president hasn't disappointed you because he wanted to. The president has disappointed America because he hasn't led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government. I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience."
-- GOP presidential candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), August 30, 2012, at the Republican Party National Convention.

Comment: This is poor reasoning, of the "appeal to authority" sort. It's not like someone who has worked in the private sector necessarily has a better idea of how to create jobs than someone who hasn't. It's not like a carpenter who builds houses is an expert on the economics of housing, nor is an expert on the economics of housing necessarily also someone who knows carpentry. Likewise, there's no necessary link between working in the private sector and having the right policies for the private sector. Romney should focus on the content of Obama's policies and the evidence for or against those policies, not on the background of the person advocating those policies.

"It's become one of their priorities:
[audio clip plays]
"There should be no doubt: Republicans in Congress will fight to repeal the President's failed health care law."
[audio clip ends]
The message in the Republican's weekly address from Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, reacting to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that most of the President's health care law is constitutional. The President says he's willing to negotiate better ideas in it but not redo the whole law. Like last week's Republican speaker, Congressman Bill Cassidy [LA], Barasso is also a medical doctor."
-- Radio announcer Ron Flatter, May 30, 2012, on Fox News Radio.

Comment: Why the need to note that they are doctors? Doctors are experts on the medical care of individuals, not necessarily on the economics of health care or on public policy regarding health care. And, at any rate, experts still need to defend their position just as much as anyone else.

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