"There are a lot of Republicans, including myself, who find him morally repulsive. And he’s just not — there are some things more important things than winning an election. And supporting a guy who tears at the social fabric, who insults the office of the presidency by being completely unprepared for it, who plays on bigotry and fear, who is the sort of demagogue our founders feared would upset the American experiment in self-government, well, that kind of guy, you just can’t support, even if it means a defeat."-- Pundit David Brooks, March 18, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
Comment: Brooks is accusing Trump of being a bigot and a demagogue who uses scare tactics (he is also perhaps using the language of disgust: "morally repulsive").
O'DONNELL: Do you believe that Senator [sic] Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs?-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, March 17, 2016, being questioned by Norah O'Donnell of CBS News regarding speeches made by Democratic presidential contender former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
WARREN: Look, I think that our candidates are out doing what they should do in a primary. They are debating the issues.
O'DONNELL: You're not answering my question, Senator.
WARREN: They answer for themselves. What I'm doing is I'm telling you what I think should be going on right now in this election.
O'DONNELL: It's just a yes-or-no question. It's a yes-or-no question. Should she release the transcripts or not?
WARREN: What I told you is I think the primaries are doing what they should be doing and the candidates are being tested.
Comment: This is an evasion. So, Warren would NEVER offer an opinion about what someone else should or shouldn’t do, because that person answers for themselves?
"The Biden rule reminds us that the decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person. About a principle and not a person. It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not — not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election, which is the type of thing then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Biden was concerned about".-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, March 16, 2016, referring to President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, which McConnell argued was at odds with remarks that Vice President Joe Biden made (opposing election-year nomination hearings) when Biden was in the Senate in 1992.
Comment: First, McConnell is accusing the Obama administration of hypocrisy – Biden opposing an election year Supreme Court nomination when a Republican was president, but now supporting it when a Democrat is president. Second, McConnell is accusing Obama of "politicizing".
"At a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comity are so often treated like they’re disposable -- this is precisely the time when we should play it straight, and treat the process of appointing a Supreme Court justice with the seriousness and care it deserves. Because our Supreme Court really is unique. It’s supposed to be above politics. It has to be. And it should stay that way. To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing, let alone an up or down vote, to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court, when two-thirds of Americans believe otherwise -- that would be unprecedented."-- President Barack Obama, March 16, 2016, remarking on his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.
Comment: Obama is accusing his opponents of "politicizing".
If the Republican National Committee is worried about the possibility of a contentious contested convention, one of its top officials showed no signs of concern Wednesday, even after the party's front-runner warned of possible riots in Cleveland if he is denied the party's nomination.-- From a March 16, 2016, story by Nick Gass of Politico, regarding statements by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
“Well first of all, I assume he’s speaking figuratively," Sean Spicer, the RNC's chief strategist and spokesman, told CNN. "I think if we go into a convention, whoever gets 1,237 delegates becomes the nominee. It’s plain and simple.”
Comment: Spicer is arguing that Trump's violent rhetoric – "riots" – is to be taken figuratively rather than literally.
"Our next president has to be ready to face three big tasks: first, can you make positive differences in people's lives; second, can you keep us safe; third, can you bring our country together again?"-- Democratic presidential contender former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, March 15, 2016.
Comment: First, Clinton's tasks sound largely like platitudes: when has it not been the job of the president to make life better and more safe? Second, Clinton is using "unify the country" rhetoric, but she doesn't spell out what that means or how she would accomplish it (nor does she say when we were "together" in the past such that we need to be brought back there "again").
"In my State of the Union address, I remarked that many of you have told me you’d like to see more cooperation and a more elevated debate in Washington, but everyone sometimes feels trapped by their politics. I understand that feeling. I served with many of you in Congress. And so I know that I’m not the only one in this room who may be more than a little dismayed about what’s happening on the campaign trail lately. We have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities -- at Americans who don’t look like “us,” or pray like “us,” or vote like we do. We’ve seen misguided attempts to shut down that speech, however offensive it may be. We live in a country where free speech is one of the most important rights that we hold. In response to those attempts, we’ve seen actual violence, and we’ve heard silence from too many of our leaders."-- President Barack Obama, March 15, 2016.
Comment: Obama is calling for a higher standard of debate, and saying that many people have failed to denounce inappropriate rhetoric in politics. He is correct, but he fails to include himself as being one of the people at fault.
"But everything was fine until these people start disrupting things. And, by the way, they are not the lovable, little peaceful fuzzballs. These are not people showing up hoping to be heard and protest and get their point of view out. They're trying to shut these events down and they jostle people around. They shove. These are not nice people, if I can just be as simplistic about it as possible. They're mean little angry troglodytes, these leftist protesters, and they have only one purpose, and that's to shut down these events and disrupt them for whatever reason. They get their jollies or they don't want the event to go on. They want to make it look like there are many more people opposed to whoever it is conducting the rally than there are supporters."-- Pundit Rush Limbaugh, March 14, 2016, referring to a rally held by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump held two days earlier, which was disrupted by protesters.
Comment: Limbaugh is demonizing – "these are not nice people" – and dehumanizing – "troglodytes" – the Trump protesters.
"Barack Obama's a world class demagogue. That language there is designed to divide us."-- Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), March 13, 2016, responding to remarks made the previous day by President Barack Obama.
Comment: Cruz is accusing Obama of being divisive and being a demagogue.
"But the truth of the matter is America is pretty darn great right now. … And what the folks who are running for office should be focused on is how we can make it even better. Not insults and schoolyard taunts, and manufacturing facts. Not divisiveness along the lines of race or faith. Certainly not violence against other Americans or excluding them. … And what’s been happening in our politics lately is not an accident. For years, we’ve been told we should be angry about America, and that the economy is a disaster, and that we’re weak and that compromise is weakness, and that you can ignore science and you can ignore facts, and say whatever you want about the President, and feed suspicion about immigrants and Muslims and poor people, and people who aren’t like “us,” and say that the reason that America is in decline is because of “those” people. That didn’t just happen last week. That narrative has been promoted now for years. It didn’t just spring out of nowhere. And of course, none of it has been true. It just ignores reality -- the reality that America is the most powerful nation on Earth. The reality that our economy is not only stronger than it was eight years ago, that it’s, right now, the bright spot in the world. … We can have political debates without turning on one another. We can have political debates without thinking that the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice. We can support candidates without treating their opponents as unpatriotic, or treasonous, or somehow deliberately trying to weaken America. That's not just one candidate who’s been saying that; some of the so-called more responsible candidates, including a gentleman from this state -- no, no, you read what he says, it's not -- it's no more rooted in reality than some of these other statements. We can point out bad policies without describing them as a “government takeover” or “an assault on freedom.” And by the way, when I say this, this is not about “political correctness.” It’s about not having to explain to our kids why our politics sounds like a schoolyard fight. We shouldn’t be afraid to take them to rallies, or let them watch debates. They watch the way we conduct ourselves. They learn from us. And we should be teaching them something about this democracy is a vibrant and precious thing. It's going to be theirs someday, and we should be teaching them how to disagree without being disagreeable, and how to engage, and how to analyze facts, and how to be honest and truthful, and admit if you make a mistake, and teach them that politics at its best is about a battle of ideas, and resolving our differences without encouraging or resorting to violence. … As Democrats, we believe in things like science. It has resulted in great improvements in our lives. Science -- that's why we have things like penicillin and airplanes."-- President Barack Obama, March 12, 2016, commenting on the Republican presidential nomination contest.
Comment: First, Obama is calling for setting a higher standard of debate, and accusing Republicans of being "divisive". Second, Obama is accusing Republicans of being bigots who ignore facts, science, and reality. Third, he is saying that Republicans – but not Democrats? – are guilty of questioning the patriotism of their opponents.