Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 28, 2007

NOONAN DEFINES 'REASONABLE'....The WSJ's Peggy Noonan argues today that her top characteristic when evaluating presidential candidates is "reasonableness." The former Reagan speechwriter insists:

We are grown-ups, we know our country needs greatness, but we do not expect it and will settle at the moment for good. We just want a reasonable person. We would like a candidate who does not appear to be obviously insane. We'd like knowledge, judgment, a prudent understanding of the world and of the ways and histories of the men and women in it.

At face value, there's nothing especially offensive about this standard. Noonan is setting the bar fairly low -- "not insane" isn't exactly a compelling campaign pitch -- but she's sketched out a relatively practical model.

That is, until Noonan starts applying her standards to specific candidates. Here's her take on the former senator from North Carolina:

John Edwards is not reasonable. All the Democrats would raise taxes as president, but Mr. Edwards's populism is the worst of both worlds, both intemperate and insincere. Also we can't have a president who spent two minutes on YouTube staring in a mirror and poofing his hair. Really, we just can't.

Noonan had just finished arguing that American voters "are grown-ups," and then she turns around and takes on John Edwards' hair, suggesting brushing one's hair before a TV interview is somehow a disqualifying factor for a presidential candidate. He's just not "reasonable" enough.

What's more, Glenn Greenwald notes that "poofing" isn't actually a word, "but rather, a British epithet for a male homosexual -- 'Slang: Disparaging and Offensive' -- a synonym for 'faggot.'"

Noonan's looking for a candidate with a "prudent understanding of the world." I'm looking for a columnist in a major national newspaper with the same attribute.

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (81)

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Comments

You need to change that period to a slash in your unbold tag...

Posted by: rabbit on December 28, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

That's a valid criticism, because I'm sure Saint Ronnie never combed his hair or wore make-up.

To Republicans, raising taxes is worse than turning the US into a rogue nation and wiping your ass with the bill of rights.

nuff said.

Posted by: goethean on December 28, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone read this woman? All she can provide is a display of unbridled lunacy.

Posted by: CN on December 28, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Her bit about Hillary is by far the worst, though. How "reasonable" is it to suggest that the "simple fact" that Republicans hate and distrust Hillary would make her presidency as damaging to the nation after another terrorist attack than the terrorist attack itself?

Posted by: ahab on December 28, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I'll echo the comment about the period to end the bold tag. The whole blog now looks ugly.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on December 28, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Being a warmonger and willing to play $50B a day for endless military involvement overseas, that's the very definition of reasonable!

But haircare...geez, only West Village types care about their hair before interviews and speeches! We can't have someone like that for president!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find out if Hillary killed Benazir Bhutto. I mean, CNN posed the question themselves!

JOURNALISTIC ETHICS, BABY!!

Posted by: Kryptik on December 28, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Noonan is the "reasonable" crazy.

Fellatrix of the Republican party.

Posted by: Neal on December 28, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I am dumbfounded....that anyone cares what Noonan thinks about anything.

Posted by: Del Capslock on December 28, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

You need to change that period to a slash in your unbold tag...

Quite right, sorry about that. It's fixed.

Posted by: Steve Benen on December 28, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

As Greenwald points out, Noonan gives a pass to "reasonable" candidates Rudy Giuliani, who appears on YouTube wearing various dresses, and John McCain, whose happy little tune about bombing Iran is a YT fave.

Greenwald calls her "stupid and vapid," but I think "vapidly vicious" is more on the mark.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

There you have it: reasonableness described by an unreasonalbe woman who doesn't display reasoning. Poof!

(Oh - a wee point of disagreement in that the term, poof, has been used to describe elevated hairstyles in the 1960s. It is a commonly used term in hair styling vernacular.)

Posted by: Annie on December 28, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

That's a valid criticism, because I'm sure Saint Ronnie never combed his hair or wore make-up.

Yeah, and I'm sure he kept his hair perfectly black into his eighties just by staring down the gray. It's a matter of willpower, not some swishy application of vanity and dye.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 28, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Peggy Noonan is a cult.

Posted by: Hostile on December 28, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

We are grown-ups

Magic Dolphins Peggy a grown up? Other than Chris Matthews, I can think of no other more prominent media figure so desperate for a President Daddy.

Also we can't have a president who spent two minutes on YouTube staring in a mirror and poofing his hair.

She has spent the last seven years relentlessly defending a president who spent seven minutes staring blankly into space after being told our country was under attack.

Posted by: Jim on December 28, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Love that she calls Multiple Mitt "reasonable", but we can't have a president who spent $300 on primping his face with mascara. Really, we just can't.

Romney spent $300 on makeup 'consulting'
By: Kenneth P. Vogel
Jul 16, 2007 06:57 PM EST

....Well, "communications consulting" is how presidential candidate Mitt Romney recorded $300 in payments to a California company that describes itself as "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services."....

Posted by: Stefan on December 28, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I think Noonan is precisely 180 degrees wrong about Republican loathing for Senator Clinton: it's a patriotism check. (It's also the failure to recognize that when Republicans suffer the historic loss at the polls that they deserve, nobody will give a damn what they think.)

Once in awhile, folks throw some serious shit at me around here (to the extent any of this shit is serious) cuz I note that we only have one President at a time, so now and then we have to back Bush just because he has the job -- or we're no good.

THE SAME THING WOULD HOLD TRUE FOR A SECOND PRESIDENT CLINTON.

And it would have far more leverage, cuz she's got more character appealing to patriotism than Bush does.

She would also be in a unique position to SAY "I need your help" to the nation about her conservative adversaries. She DID back Bush's stated policy over Iraq -- and got burned for it, but never backed down from the fact that she supported Bush's stated effort to force Saddam to back down. She might even rather primly note, while arranging for Bush and his pals to face ungodly legal trials and embarrassing public disclosure, that Republicans had eagerly sought to ensure that a SERVING President had to appear in court to answer for what he'd been alleged to have done, why would a FORMER President be exempt?

Progressives have an anti-American reflex, but it's not quite as pathological as the comprehensive conservative instinct illustrated by the Hillary-bashing and Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. You'd never find a Democratic leader in Congress openly and deliberately undermining an American President's commitment to troops in the field, the way DeLay dissed Clinton over the Balkans.

That is a very potent lever for Democrats after next year, IF...

But, jeeze, progressives gotta get over the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated: this reflexive distaste for democracy (including snidery over "I could handle this better than him") is elitist and counterproductive.

A second President Clinton would have Republican allies when she needed 'em, in directions where Bush burned his bridges to Democrats: McCain would back her over national security issues and immigration, I expect.

So asecond Clinton presidency faces a far smaller risk from the right, than from the left.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 28, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

What the fuck does Nooner...er, I mean Noonan know about "reasonable"? In practically 30 years, I've never seen any sign that she would recognize "reason" if it kicked her in the ass.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 28, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, Peggy Noonan makes ridiculing her as easy as shooting dolphins in a barrel.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 28, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Looky Here...

It seems we already HAVE a President that 'poofs' his hair-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMvt7aye7K8

As well as 'picking' his, umm, well you know...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keFIWob8NM4

Posted by: Paidi on December 28, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

We currently have a president who can be seen in a video primping for the camera and then making an obscene gesture at it. (http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/bushvideos/youtube/bushfingerflip.htm)

Posted by: Tennessean with a Memory on December 28, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that a really good, really complete dictionary (the big edition of the Oxford English Dictionary?) would include a definition of "poofing" that basically means "puffing up" or "teasing," albeit with the addition of an anti-gay tone or implication. So carping about that small word choice seems almost as silly as her talking about his hair at all.

Peggy Noonan is the ultimate concern troll. "I talk about how dreadful anyone with liberal beliefs is because I care, I care so very, very deeply." She's so much like the wicked Imelda Staunton Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in the latest "Harry Potter" movie installment. Noonan's voice, Noonan's face--dripping with "concern" and fakery. You would think someone with that much media training might be able to come across as just a bit less phony and plastic.

And when it comes to her arguments, of course, there's never any shred of logic or brains. It's just the typical right-wing arsenal or quiver of whatever sneering misrepresentations she can grab.

It would have been nice if she could have spared a moment in the last six+ years of Bush's reign to analyze him and what he's done and what he stands for, rather than sitting around with Chris Wallace and joining him in talking about how every speech by Bush blows her away with the beauty of Bush's soul.

Posted by: Anon on December 28, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I meant Chris Matthews, of course.

Posted by: Anon on December 28, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Spending two minutes poofing one's hair each day is obviously much worse than spending two hours riding a bicycle around each day. One is about personal appearance, and the other is about personal fitness, with the latter being a much more important and relevant attribute for a President.

Posted by: RSA on December 28, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poof

The term poof can be used in several ways:
as a British English term for a large footstool or ottoman, see pouffe.
as a pejorative English term for a gay man, shortened form of 'poofter'. See also British slang, faggot (epithet).
as a term for an act of disappearance or appearance.
as a term for something fluffy.
as in Pursuing Opportunities Outside the Firm
In Arrested Development, it is the name of a magazine for magicians that Gob subscribes to.
as a Western Canadian slang term for flatulence.
as an American slang term for female flatulence.
as a horrible player in a MMORPG.[citation needed]
as in the head of a dandelion, light and airy, with little substance.
as the action of smoking marijuana.
the sound or act of flatulence; a fart
as a term for a women's hairstyle

Posted by: Larry on December 28, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Papoon for President - Not Insane!

A campaign whose time has come.

Posted by: Cap'n Phealy on December 28, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

She DID back Bush's stated policy over Iraq...

Are you saying that anyone who saw through Bush's charade and realized that Bush was bad news on Iraq and refused to back him is "no good"? Because that sounds a lot like you're saying, and that's a pretty inappropriate statement to make about the people who were right, while you were wrong. Personally, I think it stems from jealously-- you're a fairly old guy and think you're wise and experienced, and you got majorly duped by the Bush administration, and you get touchy and insulted everytime someone else reminds you of the fact that lots of other people had much better judgment than you did.

Posted by: Tyro on December 28, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Glenn also pointed out that while 'poof' is synonomous with gay, her greater point was that he (Edwards) was the least, ahem, manly of the candidates.

There isn't enough Aqua Velva in the world to sate this woman.

Posted by: Zap Rowsdower on December 28, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Is John McCain insane?
'Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran?'
Then there's his revisionist take on the Vietnam war that is really only rivaled by David Irving's on the big red one.
Mitt 'double-down-Delta' Romney. Your going to stand here and tell me he's NOT crazy!?
Folks seem to all know Rudy and Huckster are both certifiable so we won't go there.
Fred looks senile. By Nurse Noonan's standards this is looking like the chronic wing of the state mental facility, but maybe McCain should be transferred to the 'Acute' wing for a little while.

Posted by: professor rat on December 28, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Spending two minutes on your hair before you are to appear on television: unreasonable.

Believing that dolphins wafted Elian Gonzales onto the Florida shore: reasonable.

Posted by: kth on December 28, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

It is funny, but John Edwards' response to the Bhutto assassination was the most presidential of all the comments made yesterday by the pandering nabobs. In fact it was better than GWB's. Hillary and Obama came off looking childish and the Republicans all reminded us why none of them should be trusted with the responsibility.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 28, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I admire all the people who read Peggy Noonan so that I don't have to. You are brave and courageous people.

Posted by: Mazurka on December 28, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Glenn also pointed out that while 'poof' is synonomous with gay, her greater point was that he (Edwards) was the least, ahem, manly of the candidates.

Uh, yeah. According to Noonan John Edwards, who was a Southern high school football star isn't manly, while her sainted George W. Bush, a prep school cheerleader who travels with his own feather pillow, is.

Man, you can almost taste the crazy.....

Posted by: Stefan on December 28, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Every presidential candidate who is unwilling to raise enough taxes to do what the government needs to do is completely unreasonable and should stop running immediately. The obsession with taxes that the Republicans have has already made our government less workable, less successful, than it would be otherwise.

We need to remember that every Republican running is promising to make our government worse.

Posted by: freelunch on December 28, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Reading Noonan is like listening to your slightly racist grandma tell you how things "really" work.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on December 28, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I am British and have never heard the word "poofing" used an epithet for "homosexual". "Poof" and "poofter" yes, but not "poofing".

And if you google "poofing her hair" you get a lot of results, suggesting that this us eof the word is not all that unusual.

Posted by: pb43 on December 28, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

LOL, dontcallmefrancis.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

"not insane" isn't exactly a compelling campaign pitch

Sez you. I'd vote for "not insane" in a heartbeat if only s/he was running.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 28, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Tyro: "Are you saying that anyone who saw through Bush's charade and realized that Bush was bad news on Iraq and refused to back him is "no good"?"

No.

I'm saying that there's a line between saying "the President is full of shit" and "she's not MY President".

Many conservatives crossed that line over the first President Clinton; a fair # of progressives cross that line over the second President Bush -- notably, since you raised the issue, a considerable percentage of dumbass young'uns.

Noonan's shtick is to be the "white ethnic" woman, personified. That means she is a Reagan Democrat (sort of), a pro-life Catholic who bought into Reagan because he epitomized American greatness, who started out as a Democrat until "the party left him" over taxes and Communism.

There is a lively effort on the right to re-write history over all that, which is sorta intellectually interesting but not particularly meaningful.

What's more significant is looking forward about it: the next President is surely gonna be looking at a LOT of American lives at risk in Iraq, along with assorted other WTF-do-we-do-now situations all over this messy planet, e.g., Pakistan.

Psst -- in yet another of my increasinly infallible predictions: people are gonna disagree about what we should do.

And, what the hell, I'll make another one: a dumbass like you, Tyro, is likely to dis whatEVER a President thinks he or she CAN do about it, given the givens that you ain't likely to give. (YOU'RE not in the armed forces, now are you? Got any relatives who are?)

In those not unlikely circumstances, a second President Clinton is likely to have the opposite effect that Noonan thinks: she will be able to put Republicans and conservatives in a position where they will be perceived by most Americans as flat-out unpatriotic (not to mention stooopid) for their visciously automatic attacks on her.

She'll be more vulnerable from the left than the right.

You disagree? Then WHY did you promptly prove it with your question?

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 28, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

How rich! Noonan, the right-wing's less vulgar version of Coulter, the woman whose schmaltzy scribblings helped elevate Reagan, (the plastic idol and king of poofed and pancaked and whose 80 year old hair was dyed to match his shoes, suffered from dementia) really has no business judging candidates, Republican or Democratic.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 28, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

As usual with Noonan, where to begin?

Bush spent hundreds of dollars to hire the makeup artist from "Austin City Limits" to prep him for his TV appearances in 2000. He is a notorious fop who'd rather spend hours preening in the gym than doing just about anything else. Ronald Reagan, Noonan's main object of lust, spent decades in make-up, both on and off soundstages.

As is pretty much true of everybody in her crowd, to Noonan, "reasonableness" (is that even a word?) means roll over for the Repugs, don't fight back (lest you be accused of being "angry" and starting "class warfare") and swallow all the BS that masquerades as conventional wisdom wholesale (ie, Social Security is in trouble, opposing the war means opposing the troops, etc.). If you don't do that, you're not "reasonable," and oh, yeah, we'll make snarky fifth-grade comments about you. Because we have a patent on "reasonable."

She prefers the "reasonable" guys who deny global warming and even evolution and think the Iraq War is going swimmingly.


Posted by: sullijan on December 28, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Tirebiter for President! Not Insane!

Noonan's 'reasonableness' is a transparent cloak for personal prejudice. Funny how she's able to disqualify all three top-tier Dem candidates, but other than Huckabee, the GOP contenders are all reasonable.

Especially damning is her comment on Obama. After criticizing Bush minimally if at all for the past seven years, she says: Is he experienced enough? No. He's not old enough either. Men in their 40s love drama too much. Young politicians on fire over this issue or that tend to see politics as a stage on which they can act out their greatness. And we don't need more theatrics, more comedies or tragedies.

Thanks, Peggy, but we didn't need the theatrics, tragedies, and unintentional comedies of the past seven years. It's a bit late for you to find fault with such things on the other side of our political divide.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 28, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, "Americanist", I actually like the idea of a Clinton presidency for the very reasons you outline-- she'd both flip some republicans over the edge into insanity AND force other republicans, after 8 years, to re-evaluate themselves when they realize that, in fact, Americans actually like the Clintons. Throw in the possibility that she'll use the presidency to enact some payback on the Republican damage done to all levels of government, and she seems like a pretty attractive candidate.

But failing to back Bush makes us "not good"? No way. We have standards and we have to draw lines.

a considerable percentage of dumbass young'uns.

The ones who were right about Iraq, you mean?

If you can't muster up some moral indignation about the use of torture and if you can't gather up the motivation to criticize clinton for her mindless stubbornness over being duped by Bush on Iraq and Kyl-Lieberman, you really shouldn't be in any position to tell people that they' "no good" for not deciding that -- your words -- "we have to back Bush." You are the one who said that we "have to back Bush" and discuss Hillary's vote for the war admiringly in these very terms. Your problem is that you fail to delineate a moral difference between the actions of one policy over another. To you they're interchangeable parts that we need to "back" to show our patriotism.

Posted by: Tyro on December 28, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Is he experienced enough? No. He's not old enough either. Men in their 40s love drama too much.

Men in their 40s love drama too much? On what fucking planet???

Posted by: Stefan on December 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

At this point I would settle for a President that doesn't massage the neck of the German chancellor.

Posted by: john john on December 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Men in their 40s love drama too much? On what fucking planet???

An enterprising independent journalist could look up how old Noonan and her husband were when they got divorced, and the answer might clarify your confusion.

Posted by: Tyro on December 28, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

An enterprising independent journalist could look up how old Noonan and her husband were when they got divorced, and the answer might clarify your confusion.

Yes, and I suspect a review of her dating history would also be instructive.

At this point I would settle for a President that doesn't massage the neck of the German chancellor.

I barked with mirth at this one, but I fear my laughter had a hollow, bitter sound.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Once in awhile, folks throw some serious shit at me around here (to the extent any of this shit is serious) cuz I note that we only have one President at a time, so now and then we have to back Bush just because he has the job -- or we're no good."

LOL... No, dear, we throw "serious shit" at you because a) you're a moron and b) your every post here, including this one, flings shit at everyone here. You're quite right about one thing, dear; it isn't serious. You're too hilariously idiotic to take seriously.

"Progressives have an anti-American reflex"

Q.E.D.

"But, jeeze, progressives gotta get over the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated:"

LOL.... I just love the utter inanity of this statement, not to mention the lame strawman argument since, of course, nobody here (or anywhere else) has made anything like this argument.

"this reflexive distaste for democracy"

And, again, Q.E.D.

"So asecond Clinton presidency faces a far smaller risk from the right, than from the left."

And what can I possibly say about the utter stupidity of this statement? I do so love it when someone has a self-fisking post where all you have to do is stand back and watch as they self-destruct.

Posted by: PaulB on December 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"a fair # of progressives cross that line over the second President Bush -- notably, since you raised the issue, a considerable percentage of dumbass young'uns."

Really, dear? And your evidence for this is ... what, exactly? And your evidence that this is anything more than fairly standard hyperbole to make a point?

"You disagree?"

Dear heart, since you provided absolutely no evidence to support the silly assertion, our disagreement, or lack thereof, is immaterial. Do let us know when you're going to do something to prove your silly assertions, won't you? We'll be happy to examine the evidence if and when you actually provide some. We're not holding our breath, though, given your track record.

Posted by: PaulB on December 28, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Huh, look at that. Noonan was divorced at age 40 after five years of marriage and hasn't remarried. If her former husband was a traditional-aged undergraduate, he would have been 44 at the time of their divorce.

I love Christmas week and its dearth of deadlines and commitments.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I am British and have never heard the word 'poofing' used an epithet for 'homosexual'. 'Poof' and 'poofter' yes, but not 'poofing'."

I suspect Glenn's knee jerked a bit there, and he's backed down just a bit in later updates. He does have one valid point, though, and that is that there is an implication in that text that someone who spends two minutes "poofing their hair" isn't "manly" enough to be president. Now whether you think that means "girly man" or "homosexual", the outcome is pretty much the same.

Posted by: PaulB on December 28, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well, somebody is listening to her.

Like Limbaugh, should the ratings/readership drop enough, they would be dumped, the both of them. There is no small amount of horror that enough people ARE paying attention to these folks to keep them in business.

The average joe takes these peoples opinions and parrots them out in the community where they get repeated enough to become the New Truth, and once it's a NEOCON truth it becomes a self-sustaining tool in the conservative arsenal against anyone not like them.

There is scant little in the verbal digs thrown at me by conservatives these days that has any actual bearing on my stance as a liberal. Most all their jabs are as valid as Gore inventing the Internet. Countering these regurgitated ghosts of opinion and entertainment "facts" wastes time and keeps derailing the discussion off authentic points.

If there wasn't so much GOP mud on the windshield, the citizens of this country might get a better view of the road we are on.

Posted by: Zit on December 28, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I am not looking forward to "the nooner's" critique of Inkblot when he decides to enter the race after the January caucuses.

I can just hear her diatribe on Inkie's jelly belly now!

Posted by: optical weenie on December 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, WTF did you expect from a former Reagan speech writer?

Posted by: Neil B. on December 28, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

whoa Karl settle down your little face is turning red like your trying to poop.Do you really believe what you just posted or are you a big enough man to admitt you carried on a little in that post.What say you..

Posted by: john john on December 28, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

How many hours has Bush spent "poofing" wood on his "ranch?"

How many working hours has Giuliani spent "poofing" mistresses on the taxpayer dollar?

And does anybody have "poofier" hair than Mitt Romney?

Posted by: anonymous on December 28, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I can just hear her diatribe on Inkie's jelly belly now! "Posted by: optical weenie on December 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM

Indeed. And then he will know he has reached the purrrrfect height of sophistication when Noonan trashes him for his liberal belly values?

(I don't think we are going to get our Friday Cat Blog fix, are we, Optical Weenie? :(

Posted by: Zit on December 28, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

The reason Bush doesn't object to private stem cell research is so that the profits from government sponsored research in the past (which we paid for) will go to private companies, no doubt large contributors to Bush.

Posted by: nonheroicvet on December 28, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

the great thing about peggy noonan writing a column for the wsj is that she has absolutely no influence at all ...

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 28, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

unlimited amount of money we can tax and borrow in order to give everyone perfect lives...(continued blather)" Posted by: karl on December 28, 2007 at 1:32 PM

for Bush there seems to be unlimited money to borrow for the making of war.

When it comes time to clean up the Bush Borrowing and War Mongering, you and your ilk aren't going to wanna help pay his bills, are you?

Where was the national debt when Bush took office, where is it now, who gets to pay that off, and where is the money coming from? These are rational and sensible questions you don't want to deal with in your lifetime, apparently.

Posted by: Zit on December 28, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: " of course, nobody here (or anywhere else) has made anything like this argument [that one candidate could handle a crisis like the Bhutto assassination better than another]...."

Steven B: "MAKING THE MOST OF A TRAGEDY....I hesitate to use the word "shameless," but to see presidential campaigns exploit the Bhutto assassination for partisan gain is more than a little disconcerting.

Josh Marshall noted, "The leading Dem candidates for president appear to be in a pitched battle to make the most craven and insipid uses of the Bhutto assassination for immediate political advantage. A true horse race."

LOL -- ya know, PaulB, you'd be more fun to smack around if you weren't so gobsmacking stooopid.

Tyro: "If you can't muster up some moral indignation about the use of torture and if you can't gather up the motivation to criticize clinton for her mindless stubbornness... interchangeable parts that we need to "back" to show our patriotism."

Not so.

Honest, it WOULD help if you guys 1) learned to read, and 2) developed the habit of acquiring facts before you tried to form opinions, much less to express 'em in public.

PaulB is rapidly approaching Dice-itude in sheer uselessness.

Tyro, try to read this carefully, since you have such difficulty with language: Clinton did not launch the war with Iraq. She voted for the resolution, which had all kinds of context and caveats built into it, but more to the point: she has refused to apologize cuz she voted for it, even as the war became an utter clusterfuck.

That confidence in her own judgment, AND the moxie to stand up for it, is a GOOD thing, not a bad one. Grownups understand that folks who run for office are not necessarily gonna mold every decision to suit the public.

Methinks you, on the other hand, oughta learn what judgment LOOKS like, viz: "I actually like the idea of a Clinton presidency for the very reasons you outline-- she'd both flip some republicans over the edge into insanity AND force other republicans, after 8 years, to re-evaluate themselves when they realize that, in fact, Americans actually like the Clintons. Throw in the possibility that she'll use the presidency to enact some payback on the Republican damage done to all levels of government, and she seems like a pretty attractive candidate."

Those are NOT the reasons why I like the possibility of a second Clinton presidency -- and if you weren't such a dumbass young'un, you'd know better.

I do NOT want Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) to decide to make nice with Clinton cuz they discover America likes her.

I want people who run for public office to want to get good things done. I want folks who like what Clinton wants to get done to vote for her and to work with her so that those things DO get done.

And I would not consider payback against Republicans to be very high on the priority list. If you truly DO, you're precisely the problem I'm pointing to -- you SAY you want to drive, but you're looking in the rearview mirror.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 28, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"What's more, Glenn Greenwald notes that 'poofing' isn't actually a word, 'but rather, a British epithet' "

I support John Edwards but Glenn Greenwald is confused. He should have checked a dictionary. An epithet is a word (or phrase).

And epithets are generally not verbs used in sentences.

Plus, if there is no such thing as "poofing" then how in the name of Google does hair get "poofed (up)"?

The hair sense of "poof" may have some historical connection to the homosexual sense of the word but they are different.

Noonan's comment was stupid but completely in line with common usage.

Posted by: Ross Best on December 28, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

No, Americanist, the point in Republicans' realizing that Americans actually like the Clintons and their presidency is so that they finally realize that the policies of the Clinton presidencies are good things and that maybe when they run for office, next time, they adopt stances that are further to the left than the ones they currently adhere to. Some time out in the wilderness, forced upon them by their arch-enemy, would do them some good.

And, also, it is pretty stupid of you to claim someone has good judgment and to use as an example of that the fact that a politician stands by the time that she made an error in judgment! You're confusing judgment with stubbornness. It is stunning that you would claim that voting for the Iraq war Kyl-Lieberman and then publicly standing by those votes as good things demonstrates "judgment. You have a pretty warped view of "judgment" and it explains pretty well your hosility to everyone who's more knowledgeable and has a better track record of decision making than you do. Anger and bitterness towards you moral betters isn't one of your more attractive features, Americanist. I suggest you settle down and learn to follow those who reflect the moral and political judgment that in your life you have consistently failed to follow yourself.

And I would not consider payback against Republicans to be very high on the priority list

You keep thinking that. Because, you know, there's no possibility whatsoever that a few disgruntled members of the Bush administration could possible end up rearing their ugly heads 8-12 years later... the point of such a cleansing is to do what we failed to do in the aftermath of Watergate-- ensure that the sleazeballs don't come back into government.

Posted by: Tyro on December 28, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

A shame the post was not titled "Republican Shocker: Noonan un-dorses Romney !"

Posted by: Rich on December 28, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I support John Edwards but Glenn Greenwald is confused. He should have checked a dictionary. An epithet is a word (or phrase).... And epithets are generally not verbs used in sentences.

Well, maybe not generally, but always room for innovation. Ever heard the phrase... jew you down on price? That's qualifies as an insidious anti-Semitic epithet used as a verb in my world.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

G-O-P Peggy,
Whose blind loyalty makes her
Reasoning go poof!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

"That's qualifies as an insidious anti-Semitic epithet used as a verb in my world."

Okay, I've done a little more research. Greenwald is still absolutely wrong to say that "poofing" is not a word. It is. And all epithets are words or groups of words. Though Noonan's comment was obviously supposed to insult Edwards there is no question that "poofing" is a form of a common word having to do with the grooming of hair. The explicit hair meaning certainly also implied nasty things about Edwards.

The original meaning of "epithet" ("a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing") is much narrower than the more familiar sense ("a disparaging or abusive word or phrase").

The former sense is neutral. The latter sense is negative.

The latter sense probably arose because some people misunderstood occurrences of the word in the former sense. Purists prefer to stick to the original sense. But the broader sense is obviously taking over the world.

So I would call "jew you down" an ethnic slur and not an epithet. But everyone is free to call it an epithet.

And everyone is free to disparage Peggy Noonan and vote for John Edwards. Please do.

http://merriamwebster.com/dictionary/epithet

Posted by: Ross Best on December 28, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo! Mio caro! Those haikus, they drive me wild!

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the equally loathsome Andrew Sullivan just loves Peggy Noonan for her - wait for it -"reasonableness"! Before I could no longer endure Sully's dreck & stopped reading him altogether, I did catch a post of his where he lovingly compared her to his wonderfully reasonable mother.

If Sullivan really does have a mother like Peggy Noonan that would actually explain a lot about some of his more florid neuroses.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on December 28, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Tyro, ya wanna be careful here, cuz you might learn something: "the point in Democrats realizing that Americans actually like Reagan and his presidency is so that they finally realize that the policies of the Reagan presidency are good things and that maybe when they run for office, next time, they adopt stances that are further to the right than the ones they currently adhere to. Some time out in the wilderness, forced upon them by their arch-enemy, would do them some good."

See how it feels? Kindly don't be so transparently stooopid next time.

I am all for Republicans insisting that their policies are principled, and they are willing to LOSE based on unequivocally clear beliefs. That way, they lose.

I am all for Democrats insisting that OUR policies are principled -- AND that we are willing to lose on unequivocally clear beliefs. That way, we win...

... unless they're really STOOOPID. Which, as it happens, is what you're advocating.

Insisting that the public only likes what WE like, and that when they like what we DON'T, it's not really the public who feels that way, or "the public" wase duped, or what can you expect, cuz "the public" is dumb and racist and likes to smash up Third World countries, is basically pretty juvenile.

All of us collectively aren't all that different from each of us, individually: we believe wholly contradictory things at the same time. That's why most American voted for Reagan, and then just a few years later, voted for Clinton. You can argue that we were right the second time, and wrong the first, but the more you do that, the less the public will care about such a self-righteous prick. The 15-20 million American voters who supported Reagan in 1984 and Clinton in 1992 would NOT have voted for the latter if the message to them was what you advocate, Tyro.

They were looking FORWARD. You're looking back -- you just think it's forward because you relish the idea of retroactively winning battles you lost years ago.

Grow up.

If Clinton is elected next year, she will have a foundation of credibility with folks who WON'T vote for her on national security issues, BECAUSE she voted for Iraq, that Republicans always denied President Clinton -- and which you want to deny Bush, but which, significantly, she did not.

You may not see that as an enormous strength -- you sure as hell get it wrong when you try to claim it as your own -- but that's what it is.

I knew a guy once who really loathed a previous President. He voted against him, worked for an opponent; knew the guy personally and didn't like him at all. Then the President called him up, and asked him to do a job. He accepted in a heartbeat. I asked him why -- and he said: cuz he's the President.

Very few Americans get calls like that, but a huge majority understand and applaud his answer.

THAT is something Clinton will have, that I don't think others in the race can count on.

So Noonan is wrong. She misreads the public on it.

And Tyro, I don't think you read the public at all.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 28, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve: I think sarcastic posts like this one deserve better titles.

"Noonan Defines 'Reasonable'"? Accurate but boring.

"Noonan Defines 'Reasonable', Defies Reason" or
"Noonan Defines (and Defies) 'Reasonable'"? More accurate, less boring.

"Noonan: Good Hair = Unreasonable"? Inaccurate, awesome.

I mean, much love to Kevin for thoughtful and entertaining analysis but I've given up on him ever writing a decent title. You on the other hand still have hope (though I'll admit that too much and you'll be in dangerously Wonkette-ish snark territory).


Posted by: Mark Kawakami on December 29, 2007 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Noonan: "Hair Matters More Than Brains"

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 29, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, this is going to be fun. One of our favorite trolls wants to play.

PaulB: " of course, nobody here (or anywhere else) has made anything like this argument [that one candidate could handle a crisis like the Bhutto assassination better than another]...."

ROFL.... Dear heart, you really should learn to read, because your little "restatement" above is simply a lie. That is not the strawman argument you made above. Had you written that, I wouldn't have called you out as a fool. Now, with this lie, you're not only a fool, you're a dishonest one. Nice going, sweetheart. For the record, dear, this is what you wrote above:

But, jeeze, progressives gotta get over the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated

See the difference, dear? This statement is utterly foolish.

"LOL -- ya know, PaulB, you'd be more fun to smack around if you weren't so gobsmacking stooopid."

ROFLMAO.... Oh, the irony....

"Honest, it WOULD help if you guys 1) learned to read"

ROFLMAO.... Oh, the irony....

"and 2) developed the habit of acquiring facts before you tried to form opinions, much less to express 'em in public."

ROFLMAO.... Oh, the irony....

"PaulB is rapidly approaching Dice-itude in sheer uselessness."

LOL.... Coming from you, dear, that's a compliment. Of course, I'm not the one pathetically trolling.

"That confidence in her own judgment, AND the moxie to stand up for it, is a GOOD thing, not a bad one."

No, dear, it's not, since her judgment was bad. Unwarranted confidence in horrendously bad judgment is precisely what got us to where we are today with the Bush administration.

"Grownups understand that folks who run for office are not necessarily gonna mold every decision to suit the public."

Dear heart, "grownups" understand that candidates can be, and are, held accountable for their poor judgment.

"Methinks you, on the other hand, oughta learn what judgment LOOKS like"

ROFL.... Oh, the irony.... The rest of the post was just the usual unsupported silly assertions, not worth the bother to repeat, much less refute, since they were, in fact, entirely unsupported by anything resembling, logic, reason, or data.

Posted by: PaulB on December 29, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

As noted, PaulB, literacy ain't your strong suit.

(wicked smile) Let's DO your honesty check. You quoted:

"the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated..."

But somehow you forgot the next part: "...this reflexive distaste for democracy (including snidery over "I could handle this better than him") is elitist and counterproductive."

Ya wanna tell us again how if "you written that, I wouldn't have called you out ..." being as how it is EXACTLY what I wrote?

Which I used to explain how you demonstrate you're stoooopid, quoting you, and noting what I'd actually said: "...of course, nobody here (or anywhere else) has made anything like this argument [that one candidate could handle a crisis like the Bhutto assassination better than another]...."

When you fucked this up the FIRST time, I noted there was a whole thread on the subject. Take a remedial reading course, willya?

If you had the brains God gave fish, you'd have caught on that this illustrates that I'm not making the shallow "let's all back the President no matter what" argument you knuckleheads figure anybody more patriotic than you has to be making.

I'm pointing out that there is an anti-American reflex that progressives do when something difficult occurs in the world. Like the kick when a relaxed leg is struck below the knee, this place constantly reflects the focus-group characteristic of the things people take for granted, what y'all object to -- and what you don't.

You guys keep proving my point, e.g., when RickB posted "America is evil", and NOBODY objected -- but, hey, you don't like it when I observe you're stoooopid in a typically progressive manner, PaulB: a breach of netiquette, I suppose.

Methinks (as I said, EXPLICITLY, ya gotta work on your reading comprehension: have you tried graphic novels? Then you could move on to Classic Comics...) it is the SAME reflex that disses Biden, Richardson, Dodd, McCain, et al. when they legitimately respond to something like the Bhutto assassination with "I could handle this better than..."

Yet somehow, you missed that simple, clearly stated point. I'd wonder why -- except, of course, there's no need: like, Dice, you're OBVIOUS.

Anything else to "add" to this thread, asshole?

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 29, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

To head off another stooopid digression: dissing Huckabee for knowing nothing about Pakistan isn't the same as dissing Biden, or Dodd, or Clinton, or McCain, cuz they have long records on foreign policy matters which they call attention to during a President campaign at a moment when folks just might be thinking it'd be a good idea to have a President who can find Pakistan on a globe.

One of the weird things about Noonan's piece is that she is bitching about Edwards' hair, even as Edwards was talking to Musharaff about how important it is to America that Pakistan hold elections even after Bhutto's murder.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 29, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"As noted, PaulB, literacy ain't your strong suit."

LOL.... Considering the source, dear, I'll take that as a compliment. By the way, have you figured out what the phrase non sequitur means yet?

"(wicked smile) Let's DO your honesty check."

By all means, dear. The words are right here in this thread, so this should be easy.

"the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated..."

Did you, perchance, actually read what you wrote, dear? Free clue: your purported "restatement" of this was entirely dishonest. As I said, nobody, anywhere, had made that claim, which is why you're so desperately trying to change the subject.

"But somehow you forgot the next part: '...this reflexive distaste for democracy (including snidery over 'I could handle this better than him') is elitist and counterproductive.'"

Dear heart, I didn't "forget" it, which is why I actually quoted it in my reply. Reading not your strong suit, is it, dear? It was simply another of your usual ad hominem attacks, wholly incorrect and devoid of content, which is why you cannot support that silly assertion any more than you can your first one.

Aren't you tired of digging these holes, dear? You're really just making yourself look even more foolish.

"Ya wanna tell us again how if "you written that, I wouldn't have called you out ..." being as how it is EXACTLY what I wrote?"

ROFLMAO.... Dear heart, the difference between:

But, jeeze, progressives gotta get over the idea that it's okay to dis OUR candidates for the presidency cuz they point out they ARE candidates when a major world leader is assassinated

and

that one candidate could handle a crisis like the Bhutto assassination better than another

is left as an exercise for the reader. Free clue: they aren't the same.

"Which I used to explain how you demonstrate you're stoooopid"

ROFL.... Whatever you say, dear.

"When you fucked this up the FIRST time, I noted there was a whole thread on the subject."

Yes, dear, and nowhere on that thread did anyone say what you wrote in your very first post, which is why you haven't been able to find a single example to support that silly assertion.

"Take a remedial reading course, willya?"

ROFL.... Oh, the irony....

"I'm not making the shallow 'let's all back the President no matter what' argument you knuckleheads figure anybody more patriotic than you has to be making."

ROFL.... Love the ad hominem attacks, dear. Tell me, are you ever going to actually have a point and support it? That was a rhetorical question, dear; we already know the answer.

"I'm pointing out that there is an anti-American reflex that progressives do when something difficult occurs in the world."

Dear heart, we know what you're doing. You're blatantly lying and issuing a variety of ad hominem attacks, none of which bear any resemblance to reality, which is why you never bother to even try to support any of them. It's just the usual trollish behavior we see all the time.

"Like the kick when a relaxed leg is struck below the knee, this place constantly reflects the focus-group characteristic of the things people take for granted, what y'all object to -- and what you don't."

So you continue to say, dear, but since a) you're usually blatantly lying and b) you've never been able to find even a single example of such behavior, forgive us if we don't take this accusation any more seriously than we do your other posts.

"You guys keep proving my point"

LOL.... Only in your fevered imagination, dear heart.

"Methinks (as I said, EXPLICITLY, ya gotta work on your reading comprehension"

ROFL.... Oh, the irony...

"Yet somehow, you missed that simple, clearly stated point."

Dear heart, since you never actually stated that "simple, clearly stated point," forgive me if I disregard this as the lie that it is.

"Anything else to "add" to this thread, asshole?"

Not yet, dear, but I'm sure you'll say something stupid in response that I'll have a lot of fun with. I can hardly wait.

Posted by: PaulB on December 29, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, dear heart, if you're going to pretend to quote someone who posts here, you really ought to a) get their handle right (it's "Rick B") and b) get the quote right. Otherwise, you simply look (even more) foolish.

Posted by: PaulB on December 29, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

"don't like it when I observe you're stoooopid in a typically progressive manner"

Dear heart, what part of "ROFL" are you having trouble understanding? I absolutely love it when you "observe [I'm] stoooopid in a typically progressive manner," dear, since you are invariably wrong and since your pathetic attacks on progressives reveal so much more about you than they do about anyone else. Your profound ignorance, dear heart, is enormously entertaining.

Posted by: PaulB on December 29, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Tyro, ya wanna be careful here, cuz you might learn something: "the point in Democrats realizing that Americans actually like Reagan and his presidency is so that they finally realize that the policies of the Reagan presidency are good things and that maybe when they run for office, next time, they adopt stances that are further to the right than the ones they currently adhere to. Some time out in the wilderness, forced upon them by their arch-enemy, would do them some good."

Actually, you ignorant dumbass, Dukakis's loss in 1988 caused some sober-minded re-evaluation among the Democratic side. That helped them win the presidency later on and also re-brand themselves in a relatively positive way.

You're looking back -- you just think it's forward because you relish the idea of retroactively winning battles you lost years ago.

Look, you're not a worthless immoral piece of trash. I don't think you are. However, you're the archetype of the naive, well-dressed Democrat who mouths happy platitudes while getting your ass kicked over and over again by Republicans because you keep giving them an opportunity to It's people like you who welcomes Dick Cheney and Adm. Poindexter into the community of civilized society because you wanted to "look forward" rather than engage in a policy of recriminations to make them and their execrable beliefs unacceptable to the public.

Posted by: Tyro on December 29, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- the guy who advocates a "policy of recriminations" wants to make folks "unacceptable to the public".

Do you have the slightest clue HOW that's done?

Tyro, observe Paul B.

He doesn't seem to know that when I observed that folks attacked Presidential candidates for BEING Presidential candidates when they talked about Bhutto's assassination, I meant precisely what I said next (this "follows", it is the failure to follow that denotes a non sequitur): candidates say lots of "I can handle this better than the other guy" stuff.

Fercryingoutloud, it's basic literacy. Yet this clown has attacked me what, four times? for it.

I don't think folks who bitch on blogs are necessarily representative of broader political movements, but THIS particular blog is a pretty fair focus group for progressives. So Paul B's example is relevant: what he objects to (being identified as "stooopid") and what he does not "Rick B's statement "America is evil").

This guy simply can't get the most blindingly obvious stuff straight, and won't shut up about it: yet THESE are the habits of political thinking, a culture of political identification you figure can effectively win battles retroactively, Tyro?

Hell, they didn't win 'em the first time, when they HAD a chance.

It's like I keep observing about torture: if you start with the idea that it is morally wrong, and only then add, as an afterthought, that it doesn't work, you send the message to folks whose PRIMARY concern is protecting their kids, that their legitimate fears about their children are at best secondary to your self-righteousness.

You may not LIKE that -- but that just indicates where ignorance intersects arrogance: it's what every scientific measure of public opinion shows on the subject. (Hint: public opinion is always contradictory.)

Likewise, the primary goal oughta be what we do next year, and the year after that: not how we can re-write the history of 2003 or 2004.

That's why I figure Noonan misreads public opinion: because Senator Clinton has been the target of seriously nasty politics, her high negatives come with a certain immunity to the usual viral attacks. Because she voted for the Iraq resolution, she is not vulnerable in the usual way Democrats are (or will be) for the mess in Iraq getting messier all the way through 2009.

Put it this way: if Kucinich were to somehow wind up in the White House, and ask Republicans to back him in some military cause (say to stop genocide in Darfur, or some craziness in North Korea), he would be FAR more vulnerable from the right than Clinton would be.

In a second Clinton administration, she would be in a position to isolate the Republican party's anti-Hillary wing with a deeply unpatriotic AND unpopular identity.

I'm all for it. Aren't you?

Thus, I figure if she DOES win, she's gonna be more vulnerable from the left than the right. (It was, after all, impulses from the left who did in Democrats during the first Clinton term: gays in the military and an elaborate health care plan BEFORE welfare reform, etc.)

LOL -- meanwhile, Paul B is so stooopid he actually wants to call attention to his ignorance, viz, what a non sequitur is. I posted examples of the most common types, you fucking idiot, and USED them to illustrate how you had posted a perfect example of the MOST common.


Posted by: theAmericanist on December 29, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, what the hell, it's still Yuletide, and perhaps Paul B isn't as complete a fool as he appears here: Maybe he CAN learn something.

So this is what a non sequitur is, and a couple common examples of how any non sequitur fails to work.

The Latin simply means 'does not follow'. It is used to describe a particular sort of stooopid thinking, generally when somebody says something along the lines of "A is B, and C is D, therefore A is D." A couple weeks ago in one of these threads, Paul B gave a textbook example.

Our host had posted that he thought there were two basic arguments made by American apologists for torture: that it wasn't really torture (because we are the good guys, therefore what we do can't be bad), OR that they are the bad guys, therefore anything we do to them is okay.

Somebody (SJRSM, I think) pointed out there is actually a third rationalization, that some apologists note that the US military waterboards some people (notably pilots) in training. I think this is actually more of a subset of the first argument, but it IS a distinct reason; and in any case Paul B's reaction to it missed that boat entirely.

He dived right off the dock into the filthy wash with the beercans and the seaweed, in fact: he attacked SJRSM (if that's who it was), by saying that ONLY somebody who supported torture would know this pro-torture argument persuades (or more precisely than Paul B could be, provides a rationalization for) some who support it.

The guy promptly pointed out that Paul B had provided a textbook example of a non sequitur, since it obviously doesn't follow that anybody who knows an argument must therefore be persuaded by it.

It is sorta impressive that Paul B still doesn't get it.

The two most common kinds of non sequiturs are affirming the consequent, and denying the antecedent. (More simply, a false positive and a false negative.)

Affirming the consequent goes like this: The President must be a US citizen. Lao Baixing is a US citizen. Therefore, Lao Baixing is the President.

This is the specific kind of non sequitur that Paul B fell into: just because Lao Baixing is a US citizen doesn't make him President, although if he was NOT a US citizen, he could not be President.

Likewise, simply knowing a particular argument doesn't mean anybody is persuaded by it. (And in this particular case extending the reasoning isn't parallel, either: just because someone is NOT persuaded that waterboarding American military pilots in training is torture doesn't mean that they either support or reject the use of torture by American officials during terrorism interrogations.)

Denying the antecedent is the most common negative non sequitur: If I am not in Maryland, I am not in Baltimore. I am not in Baltimore. Therefore, I am not in Maryland.

This is obviously untrue (for everybody that is, except Paul B) because Maryland includes much more than Baltimore. It IS true that all of Baltimore is in Maryland, so if I am in Baltimore, than I am in Maryland.

It generally helps when sorting out if something is a thought and what it would mean, if you can turn it over and stretch it some: just cuz somebody knows that X is an argument for torture, does that mean they are persuaded by it? Nope. If A is a fact and folks who know it is a fact are wrong, does A stop being true? Nope.

But this sorta mental agility is a bit beyond Paul B, who lacks a certain intellectual balance. Still, even he could get better with practice, so, as a mitzvah: now you can't claim ya dunno what a non sequitur is, nor how you illustrated one so perfectly.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 29, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

http://funkytube.notlong.com

ENJOY!!!!!!!!

Posted by: FunkyTube on June 5, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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