"Now, Senator McCain talks a lot about earmarks. That's one of the centerpieces of his campaign. Earmarks account for 0.5 percent of the total federal budget. There's no doubt that the system needs reform and there are a lot of screwy things that we end up spending money on, and they need to be eliminated. But it's not going to solve the problem."-- Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), October 15th, 2008, during the third presidential debate with GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Comment: Obama is offering up a "silver bullet" caricature of McCain's position on spending. Yes, McCain has opposed earmarks, but he has never said that simply eliminating earmarks will be enough to reform the federal budget. Obama is distorting McCain's position by implying that McCain believes that eliminating earmarks is a "silver bullet" that will fix the budget.
"Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems -- as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all."-- GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin's (R-AK), September 3, 2008, at the Republican Party National Convention.
Comment: Palin is pushing back against the use of the "silver bullet" caricature against her by Democrats. However, she might be indulging in a caricature of her own by suggesting that Democrats want to "do nothing at all" on energy or drilling.
"[T]he RNC is providing members of the media with complimentary tools related to Barack Obama's energy plan -- a brand new tire gauge … Because, instead of actually increasing America's domestic oil supply, this is how Obama thinks Americans should try to alleviate burdensome pain at the pump."-- Press release from the Republican National Committee, August 4, 2008. The RNC was responding to comments by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) that people could save money on gas by properly inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups.
Comment: This is the "silver bullet" caricature. Obama's energy plan involves much more than simply inflating tires properly.