UNIDENTIFIED QUESTIONER: What about this ad?-- Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), July 25, 2015. Christie was being questioned about his commitment to gun rights, and the questioner referred to an ad from 1995 in which Christie supported a ban on assault rifles.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: By the way, that ad was from 1995. And I’ll ask you this, if you’ve not changed your mind once in 20 years, if you haven't changed your mind once in 20 years on any issue, then I'll tell you, you're not a thinking, breathing, living human being.
Comment: Christie is being accused of flip-flopping, and he is defending the fact that he has changed positions.
Bills are being rushed to the floor in the House and Senate in response to a woman’s senseless killing in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant with a long criminal record. That single crime has energized hard-line Republican lawmakers who have long peddled the false argument that all illegal immigrants are a criminal menace, and that the best way to erase their threat is by new layers of inflexible policing. … Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina mused about the need to find and swiftly rid the country of criminal “aliens”: “How are we going to identify that universe, however small it may be?” he said, adding, “What is our plan to identify that universe before they reoffend?” Representative Steve King of Iowa likened crimes by unauthorized immigrants to the 9/11 attacks, “a tragedy that causes my hard heart to cry.” Representative Lamar Smith of Texas said “someone in this administration probably should be arrested for negligent homicide.” Language like that is hard to distinguish from the rantings of Donald Trump, who brought his racist road show to Laredo, Tex., on Thursday. But there is room — even in immigration — for sane, sound policy. … That would be a serious solution, one that gives deserving immigrants a foothold in this country and makes it easier to uncover those who come here to do harm. It is called comprehensive reform, which Mr. Smith, Mr. Gowdy and others in their anti-immigrant caucus, now consumed with exploitive fury over the San Francisco tragedy, have fought at every turn.-- New York Times editorial, July 24, 2015.
Comment: First, the editorial board is knocking over a straw man: many Republicans have said some illegal immigrants are involved in criminal behavior, but few if any have said all illegal immigrants are criminals (apart, of course, from breaking immigration law). The editorial board is demonizing the Republicans mentioned as being racists and bigoted xenophobes (despite the fact that their comments aren't on par with presidential candidate Donald Trump's), and is also accusing them of exploiting a tragedy.
MARCO RUBIO: I think it's important for the president of the United States to be someone that can conduct, and be engaged in a public debate on an issue without demonizing their opponents, that can hold a speech where you don't invite Paul Ryan, sit him in the front row of the speech and lambast him and attack him in front of everybody, knowing he can't respond. It's important for the office the presidency to be be someone that is capable of doing those things. I have said repeatedly, Barack Obama is a great husband and great father. But I do believe the way he has conducted his presidency has been divisive. I think he unnecessarily demonizes his opponents on policy issues, not just disagreement on policies. He wants to convince people that you are a bad person, that you don't care about the disabled or children or women, or someone who is being hurt. I think that's bad for the country. I truly believe that sort of activity, and is he not alone in it, but I do believe that sort of activity is not what we need from a president.-- Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), July 23, 2015, being interviewed by Bret Baier of Fox News. The discussion concerned Rubio's July 22, 2015, remarks stating that President Barack Obama had "no class".
BRET BAIER: So you stand by that statement that the president has no class?
MARCO RUBIO: I think, on the major issues of our time, he has not conducted himself of the dignity of worthy of that was office. Demonization of political opponents and divisions in America which have made it harder for us to solve our problems, and have poisoned the political environment as a result.
Comment: There are many things going on here. Rubio is calling for civility in political debate, and is accusing Obama of resorting to demonizing. Rubio is also using "hate the policies, not the person" rhetoric. It's not clear whether Rubio answers the question of whether Obama "has no class" or if he evades it. It's certainly true that Obama has resorted to demonization, but, first, is that appropriately summed up by saying Obama has "no class" whatsoever (or is that itself an act of demonizing)? Second, many Republicans have resorted to demonizing, too: will Rubio describe all of them the same way, or is he resorting to the "only my opponent" caricature?
This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting America), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the American workforce and have been at a low ebb.-- Pundit Dana Milbank, July 23, 2015. Milbank's remarks concerned presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).
Comment: This is "demagogue" (and perhaps also "fear-mongering") rhetoric. Plus, it seems like Milbank is knocking over a straw man: Walker has certainly criticized labor unions, but has he really said that they are the source of all the nation's problems?
Liberals who still refuse to condemn Planned Parenthood — which is almost all of them, with rare exception — have announced, either explicitly or implicitly, that they categorically do not care about what is right, true, humane, or moral. They have laid all of these concerns as burnt offerings on the altar of Liberalism, and in the process become morally indistinguishable from Nazi sympathizers. Thus, all of the rest of their opinions are worthless, and no rational person ought to respect their point of view or take any of their perspectives about anything seriously. If you are too selfish, obtuse, indifferent, brainwashed, or cruel to unequivocally condemn the trafficking and murder of infants, then you forfeit all intellectual credibility.-- Pundit Matt Walsh, July 22, 2015. His remarks concern a video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing what is done with fetal tissue after abortions.
Comment: Walsh is demonizing liberals, saying they don't care about what is good. He is also using ad hominem reasoning, arguing that, because they are wrong on abortion, they are therefore wrong on everything else.
“Think about this war on CO2. If we don’t have CO2 we’re Mars. … CO2 is not a pollutant.”-- Pundit Mark Levin, July 22, 2015, during the 1st hour of his radio program. Levin was referring to efforts by global warming advocates to lower CO2 levels.
Comment: First, this is "war" rhetoric. Second, Levin is knocking over a straw man. Global warming activists aren't proposing that we get rid of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which of course we need to live. Rather, they propose that we stop raising it to dangerous levels in the atmosphere (i.e., the dose makes the poison), which is different from eliminating it altogether. Levin is distorting their position.
A hidden-camera video released last week purported to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. It shows nothing of the sort. But it is the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood, which offers health care services to millions of people every year. The politicians howling to defund Planned Parenthood care nothing about the truth here, being perfectly willing to undermine women’s reproductive rights any way they can.-- New York Times editorial, July 22, 2015. The editorial concerns a video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing what is done with fetal tissue after abortions.
Comment: The New York Times is demonizing the makers of the video, saying they don't want women to have reproductive rights, care nothing about truth, and will say anything to win. Would it be fair to say that The New York Times editorial board supports infanticide, or would they call that demonizing?
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), reflecting nervousness in his party over the issue, read from a prepared statement when he was asked about the controversy by reporters Tuesday afternoon.-- Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), July 21, 2015, from a story by Rachael Bade and Jake Sherman of Politico. Reid's remarks concerned a video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing what is done with fetal tissue after abortions.
“These politically motivated videos raise questions, but nothing I’ve seen indicates Planned Parenthood violated federal law,” Reid said. “These edited videos should not take away from the important work that Planned Parenthood does on behalf of women.”
Comment: The fact that the videos are politically motivated doesn't mean they are false. To argue otherwise is ad hominem reasoning. If the videos were edited to distort their content, they would be false regardless of any political motivation.
California Gov. Jerry Brown slammed global warming deniers in a keynote speech on Tuesday at a Vatican conference of environmentally friendly mayors. Politicians running for office who do not accept climate change as real are “troglodytes,” he said, according to The Associated Press.-- Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA), July 21, 2015, from a story by Nick Gass of Politico.
Deniers of climate change are spending “billions on trying to keep from office people such as yourselves and elect troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science,” the Democratic governor said, according to the AP.
It’s not the first time Brown has hurled the “troglodyte” insult at political opponents.
In March, for example, he ripped the positions of Republican governors and attorneys general challenging President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions as “at best troglodyte, and at worst, un-Christian.”
Speaking at a climate change conference in Toronto earlier this month, Brown said that “[w]e have a lot of troglodytes south of the border.”
Comment: “Troglodytes” is name-calling, of perhaps the “evil” or “stupid” variety.