Political Hay

Did I Hear That Right?

Perhaps one day someone smart will write a book explaining how to parse political logic.

By 10.20.08

Send to Kindle

Perhaps one day someone smart will write a book explaining how to parse political logic, because the political kind is very different from the regular logic we all use, with varying degrees of skill, to get through the day. The only sane response to some of the downright peculiar syllogisms we hear from the campaign trail is, "Say what?"

One of the most dazzling examples of faux logic from the trail is Obama's excusing of himself for hanging around with former Weatherman (not the kind you see on TV every day at 6 and 11) Bill Ayers, a man who gave his heart and soul (if he ever had either) to a terrorist organization that murdered Americans and would have liked to have murdered more in order to bring America down. It's OK to do business with this guy, Obama explains, because Ayers and his merry associates committed their atrocities when, in Obama's words, "I was only eight years old."

This is the most perverse statute of limitations I've ever heard of. Who the hell cares that Obama was just a kid when Ayers was in league with murderers and America-hating crazies? Using this logic Obama would be free to hang around with Dr. Mengele if he were available, as Dr. Joe's terrible work was done before Obama was even born.

The fact that Obama is allowed to slip his responsibility on this one using a transparent non sequitur demonstrates again, as if another demonstration were necessary, the double-standard that exists in the left-stream media. If John McCain (or any Republican or conservative) had a relationship as close as Obama's with Ayers with someone who was an unrepentant Klan member it would be page-one news and clear evidence to the chattering class that McCain was unfit for high office.

As lame as Obama's Ayers defense has been, John McCain's dealing with it has been only slightly more coherent. McCain has been saying on the campaign trail, and I paraphrase here from memory, that it doesn't matter that Obama associates with a washed-up Weatherman, but it's important that Obama should be honest with the American people about his association with Ayers.

Huh?

Of course it matters that Obama associates with anti-American, far-left extremists who have admitted to but never apologized for or showed repentance for the most despicable acts. This goes directly to character and world view. But if McCain takes the peculiar position that this kind of association doesn't matter, why is he bringing it up at all? And why should McCain make such a point of Obama's association with Ayers while at the same time putting his even longer and closer association with Rev. Wright out of bounds for discussion. Trying to follow McCain's twisted logic re Obama, Wright, and Ayers reminds me of the time I listened to Yogi Berra on television trying to explain the infield fly rule.


NOW COMES General Colin Powell gracing page one of most of America's dailies with the less-than-shocking news that a social liberal who supports affirmative action (discrimination against white people and Asian-Americans) will be voting for another social liberal who supports affirmative action. Thus is news judgment these days. All these editors missed the bigger point of the story, which is how much more comfortable the general would be as a Democrat.

The NYT tells us that Obama fetched in the general because he, Obama, is reaching out in a "more diverse and inclusive way across our society." Diverse and inclusive are two words with political meanings quite different from the meaning the words have traditionally carried for the apolitical. In operation they basically mean, as affirmative action means, including as few straight, white males in on the good stuff as possible while escorting minorities, women, gays, and members of other certified victim-groups (certified by the left) to the head of the line and catering to their interests. I don't mind a political party whooping these policies up, but it frosts me that these policies are hidden behind cuddly-sounding adjectives like "diverse" and "inclusive."

General Powell also said Obama has the gravitas and the understanding to conduct foreign policy and to be commander in chief, which is a pretty breathtaking conclusion based on the evidence. In giving Obama his blessing, Powell went on to complain of how far to the right the Republican Party has come (would it were so) and to assert how he would not like to see "two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court." We're deep into RINO-land now.

Powell says he has gotten to know Obama, has followed the campaign closely, and claims that Obama has demonstrated "intellectual vigor," and has crossed intellectual, ethnic, and racial lines. Hmm. I guess I was out of town the weekend when Obama did all this.

Powell even said McCain's criticism of Obama for his relationship with Ayers was "over the top." It's the general's view that McCain should not be suggesting that Obama "pals around with terrorists" just because he, well, pals around with terrorists. At least has a history of hanging out with them, though of course his guest list has been sanitized of late for the campaign. The general has well learned the lesson from the left-stream media that the life-time associations of Republicans, particularly the more conservative ones, must pass a Marine Corps white-glove inspection. But if a Democrat works and plays with Old Scratch himself it would be tasteless and narrow-minded and not at all inclusive to point it out.

Here's some G-2 for you, General. You're a Democrat.

Somebody smart, I forget who or I would give credit, said, "Most political campaigns in America are mere exchanges of nonsense. To the extent a candidate has a case -- and it's rare that one does -- he almost never states it clearly." There's been little in this gaudy election cycle to prove this melancholy diagnosis wrong. Hey, maybe the guy who came up with this insightful quote could write the book on political logic. It would be a public service. And it's clear that this guy understands American politics.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.