Argument patterns

Overheard in the Fog Island Tavern:
What in all of Pedro Domecq’s cellars are you chuckling about, Abbé Boulah? Are you still reading the funnies?

Ah, no, Bog-Hubert my friend. The funnies aren’t really much fun anymore. No, it’s the election. What a spectacle!

You lost me. I am getting so tired of all that bickering I can’t even listen to it anymore. What in three twister’s name are you still getting out of hearing the same old points being hashed over and over?

I agree, there’s a lot of boring repetition. But there are patterns — oh brother — that make you marvel at humanity’s ability to be duped!

You’ll have to explain that to an old dupe, your Boulahighness.

Why, haven’t you seen the emergence of this marvelous new pattern in the exchange of inanities between the two campaigns? Ah well, I guess it’s not all that new, the Democrats have been using it for quite a while, but now the Republicans are turning it back on them with a vengeance?

What are you talking about, by all the papermaché cliff hangers in Hollywood action flicks?

Well, my friend, you may have perceived this persistent phenomenon: anytime the Republican launched an attack on the Democratic nominee, it was effectively reflected by the argument that it was really revealing a racist attitude, and therefore not only beneath consideration, but also exposing the entire Republican campaign as a crypto-racist enterprise.

Well, isn’t it?

Who knows, perhaps you are right. but they could never openly admit to it, and therefore their defense was, well, somewhat lamely defensive, and therefore not very convincing.

I couldn’t argue with that. But I’ve noticed that they have countered that with the strange argument that the Democrats were somehow playing ‘the race card’ in doing that?

That’s the strange part: both sides are accusing the other of playing that card! What do you make of that?

I dunno. It somehow looks like it’s a red herring…

Not entirely. Because there are still people out there who are eminently susceptible to having race as a justification to vote this way or the other. But the interesting part is that now the Republicans have countered that whole strategy with their own version of it, selecting a woman for the Vice president spot. And any criticism of that person can now be easily deflected as ‘playing the gender card’ and in the same motion painting the opposition as male-chauvinistic and antifeminist — and therefore not to be taken seriously — whether or not there are legitimate issues at stake. Brilliant, if you ask me.  Just like the other devious tactic they are using.

What’s that?

Oh,  don’t tell me you haven’t noticed what’s going on: the increasing tendency to just accuse the opposing side of engaging in unsavory campaign tactics — like attacking the VP nominee on the grounds that her daughter is pregnant with an out-of-wedlock child.  Doesn’t matter that the opposite candidate has declared that family and children are off-limit topics — perhaps they have planted some scurrilous blog attacks themselves as pretend-Democrats — and now they can denounce all the Democrats as engaging in this kind of dirty and unconscionable campaigning.

Can they really do that?

Why not?  Just look at the devious ‘Operation Chaos’ scheme of a certain ‘Doctor of Democracy’  talk show host,  who persuaded a bunch of Republicans to register — temporarily, of course, — as democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

Why the hell did he do that?

I guess he thought that Hillary would be easier to beat in the main election.

But what about those Republican voters: did they get to vote for their Republican candidate in the primaries?

Good point. They didn’t. So it seems that he didn’t quite think that one through — at the time, he sounded like he didn’t really like the way the Republican primaries turned out either — but perhaps the point is that he knew no matter which Republican would be elected President, the policies and laws he’d pass would be pretty much the same?

You’re really scaring me now. You are saying that something or somebody else is pulling the strings?

I’m not saying anything of the kind. Make up your own mind. But I’ll just remind you that the Republican nominee had to go make peace with those folks who, in the 2000 election when he ran against Dubja, called him the embodiment of evil. And that he surprised everybody by suddenly embracing the drill baby drill battle cry he had previously stayed away from.

So you are saying this chaos-monger shot himself in the foot with that Chaos thing? That he screwed up the primaries and ended up with the wrong nominee?

Hard to tell, especially now that the nominee has kowtowed to all the Right proper powers that be, and picked a VP candidate that allows him to play that argument game we talked about.

Well if both sides are playing it, as you said, what’s wrong with it?

Did I say that? I guess I did, as far as both sides playing it is concerned. But the problem is that while playing those entertaining games, non of the really important issues are being discussed. It’s a diversion.

And you think that’s funny, entertaining?

It’s hilarious. Yes. It makes me laugh so hard it makes me cry. Because, aren’t both sides are still claiming — seriously? — that this kind of democracy is what America should spread all around the world?

So what are the important issues?

You know, Hubertissime, with all this entertainment, I just plumb forgot.

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