Friday, January 30, 2015

"Silver Bullet" Examples: 2012

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2012 "Silver Bullet"
"The big obstacle to comprehensive tax reform is the persistent Republican myth that spending cuts alone can achieve economic and budget goals. That notion was sounded [sic] rejected by voters during the election."
-- New York Times editorial, December 29, 2012.

Comment: First, this seems like a "silver bullet" caricature. Have Republicans really said that spending cuts alone would meet their economic and budget goals? Haven't they also called for tax reform? Second, it seems like the editorial is indulging in "Americans want" rhetoric -- as well as mandate rhetoric -- by saying that voters rejected the Republican position.

OBAMA: Governor Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector; that’s been his philosophy as governor; that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.
-- President Barack Obama, October 16, 2012, during the second presidential debate in Hempstead, NY, between Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA).

Comment: This is a caricature. In particular, it's the "silver bullet" caricature. Romney isn't proposing only one thing -- a "silver bullet" -- in order to fix the economy. He has a plan that involves tax reform, energy production, trade deals with foreign nations, etc. Obama may not think it's an effective plan -- that's something he needs to argue for -- but it's not acceptable for him to distort Romney as having only a one-dimensional plan.

"And when he was asked what he’d actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he’d eliminate funding for public television. That was his answer. I mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It’s about time. We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that's what we heard last night. How about that?"
-- President Barack Obama, October 4, 2012. Obama was referring to remarks made by GOP presidential candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) the day before during their first presidential debate.

Comment: Obama is making a "silver bullet" caricature of Romney's position. Romney never said cutting funding for public broadcasting alone would balance the budget, and has offered many other proposals toward that goal (for instance, he said he'd eliminate Obamacare, AKA the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Obama might disagree with Romney on whether those other proposals would work, but he can't caricature Romney as not offering those other proposals at all.

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