Friday, January 23, 2015

"Even My Opponents Agree" Examples: 2012

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2012 "Even My Opponents Agree"
"But you know who doesn't want entitlement reform? Voters. Democratic voters, independent voters, and, yes, Republican voters. The Washington Post / ABC News poll asked voters about raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 proposal that has been floated by Republicans in Congress. 67% of people oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age, including 71% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 68% of Republicans. 68% of Republican voters oppose a Medicare reform proposal being floated by congressional Republicans."
-- TV pundit Lawrence O'Donnell, November 29, 2012.

Comment: First, this is a hasty generalization. Just because a majority of voters oppose raising the age of Medicare eligibility doesn't mean they oppose other Medicare reforms. Second, O'Donnell's use of opinion polls seems to be making an appeal to popularity. Also, by pointing out that Republicans (who O'Donnell frequently opposes), agree with him, O'Donnell seems to be making an "even my opponents agree" argument.

ROMNEY: The secretary of defense called these trillion dollars of cuts to our military devastating. It's not my term. It's the president's own secretary of defense called them devastating.
-- Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), October 22, 2012, during the third presidential debate in Boca Raton, FL, between Romney and President Barack Obama.

Comment: Romney is employing faulty "even my opponent agrees" reasoning. He's arguing that, since Obama's own secretary of defense (Leon Panetta, a Democrat) agrees that the cuts to the military are a bad idea, there must be true. But, just because people who typically disagree on things find themselves in agreement on a particular topic doesn't guarantee that their correct.

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