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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Dec 3, 2003.
good insight from a reporter who's been following him his entire political career
Not an unbiased source of course, but I don't think anyone has ever successfully accused Molly Ivans of being untruthful.
Molly Ivins' book that this is excerpted from is quite good, I read it last month.
i read this after receiving the latest motherjones i the mail...thought it was a good piece without any meanspiritedness to it.
but my favorite quote was from jim hightower:
bush was born on third and thinks he hit a triple.
People like Molly Ivins give me hope for Texas. A great article. I just sent it off to a half dozen friends.
An article by someone's political opponent is not always the most balanced source for understanding a person. It would kind be like having Bill Gates write something about Steve Jobs. You might get a lot of accurate facts and honest opinion, but you wouldn't get a balanced view.
Ok, then will you agree not to get any of your information on Sen. Clinton from right wing sources?
Or alternately, would you agree that AM radio is not the most balanced source of information either?
Of course they aren't balanced sources of information. Who in world would ever think AM radio was balanced? LOL.
As for my "information" on Senator Clinton, I think my main discussion on her has been to argue that she is, in fact, a national political figure. I get that information mainly from the mainstream media, including legitimate polls.
I'm not saying we should ignore information from biased sources, I'm just saying we should consider the source and get information for more than a narrow band of political opinion, or we risk being quite uninformed and looking like fools.
And yet your only reply to all the issues Molly Ivins raises is "well she's not a very unbiased source now, is she"?
I think all of us in here know about bias in reporting, so I think you could have spared us that lesson, unless your intent was to shrug off her argument by saying she is a biased source.
I think we should be a little less concerned with whether someone is expressing an unbiased opinion then with whether that opinion is based on fact or fiction. As nearly as I can tell, Ivans isn't making anything up here.
ms. ivins is a syndicated columnist and makes no effort to declare herself balanced. she's been writing about bush for years, had hung out him before that, and is, imo, in a unique position to analyze him.
i've always found her analysis of bush interesting and reasonable.
are there parts of her analysis you think are incorrect?
You probably find her analysis interesting and reasonable because you agree with her politics. You see certain tax cuts as immoral, as does she. Others don't see it that way. She sees any reduction in funding of a particular program as tantamount to murder, maybe you do as well, but that isn't the case with everyone.
Consider that if a right wing hack writes something equally unflattering regarding someone you agree with politically you will not see that as reasonable or interesting, but as biased, possibly filled with unreasonable hatred, and generally incompetent.
Explaining the political decisons of one's opponents by attributing negative personal traits is something that happens a lot. Someone said earlier about a conservative who hated Hillary Clinton because she is a bitch or some such nonsense. That individual's dislike of some political policy (be it socialized healthcare, tax increases, etc.) he or she associated that with a personal trait attributed to Senator Clinton (i.e. she's a bitch). If Senator Clinton agreed with that person, but had the exact same personality, she would not be known to him or her as a bitch, but as a strong advovate for doing what is right.
Same thing happens on the other side with Bush, and Ms. Ivins provides an example. If Bush agreed with Ivins politically, she would have a totally different view of him as a person, as would you.
This is one awfully cynical remark. Much of what Ivans opines about here seems to be based on facts on the record -- Bush praising social programs, and then cutting their budgets, for instance. He seeming to be out of touch with people not of his own class, based on direct quotes.
Ignore Ivans' conclusions, if you like. You are invited to draw alternates from the same set of facts. Please, just don't ascribe your cynicism to others.
Why is the part about Bush cynical, but Clinton not? It's two sides of the same coin!
C'mon. Don't pretend that her view of politics doesn't lead her to draw negative conclusions about Bush as a person. If Bush had the same views that she had politically, she's be singing his praises. She selectively takes "facts" and imposes her personal moral judgments, much like those on the right did to President Clinton.
Granted, but the primary definition of a cynic is one who doubts the sincerity of others, and that's what you have done in this case.
When Bill Clinton arrived in Washington, he brought with him the label he'd presumably earned in Arkansas, "slick willie." Obviously, that was a one-sided evaluation of his personality not created by his political friends. But to the extent it could be supported by Clinton's behavior, it was not so much a "one sided" view, as it was the reactions of some people to his MOA. An insight, if you will.
These things don't require desconstruction. It's someone's opinion based on their observations.
OK, so if she is "selectively" taking facts and imposing personal moral judgements, her arguments should be easy to refute, right?
Tell me how his praising the HeadStart program then cutting its funding is a good thing.
Tell me how he denying there were hungry children in Texas while serving as governer in that state is a good thing.
Tell me how cutting funding for the United Nations Population fund was a good thing. (It is a program that fights infant mortality, maternal death and AIDS in impovirshed countries.)
My point? You haven't refuted a single point the columnist makes! Instead, you have resorted to an ad hominem attack on Ms. Ivans. Instead of focusing on the topic at hand, you chose to try to undermine her arguments by attempting to call her character and intent into question.
This is not a valid method of argument.
If Molly Ivan's arguments are suspect, then it should be quite easy for you to refute her points.
Well? I'm waiting...
Ivins, Taft. Not Ivans.
It is not an attack on her, personal or otherwise, to say that her percetion of Bush's personal traits is driven by her political views. It is just an observation.
What she has laid out is an ad hominem attack on Bush, not a discussion of the merits of funding particular programs over others. Federal spending is not going down under the Bush administration by any means. If spending money makes one compassionate, then Bush is very compassionate! Her conclusion is merely her opinion that Bush is a clueless clown lacking compassion, not some kind of issue-based conclusion. She's entitled to her opinion, but she laid out a discussion about a personality, but not about issues, an ad hominem argument. In short, she said "Bush did these evil things so he is an uncompassionate liar." She did not say, these things are bad policy for the following reasons when considered in the context of the federal budget. She said this is a bad person because of the contents of the federal budget.
You say that is not a valid method of argument. You even use bold face type.
Here's some of her opinion...
Sorry, but I don't think he lied about the tax cuts, which I don't see as hideously unfair. Please, Ms. Ivins, quit being a drama queen! I don't think he led us into an unnecessary war, but there are valid arguments on both sides, as there often are in difficult issues, and I don't think that the he lied about the Patriot Act, which didn't exactly "eviscerate" our freedoms, IMO. The reason she says he lied is because she doesn't like the policy. When Clinton "lied" about tax cuts, did she complain? (Honest question, I don't remember!) Did you complain?
That isn't true. She gave at least two concrete examples of Bush saying he supported a program, then subsequently cutting that program's funding. She gave concrete examples of Bush lying (or his ignorance). She was making the point that the President preaches compassion and a desire to fund programs for the poor, then turns around and does the exact opposite (or is ignorant of the problem in the first place). That is not an ad hominem argument.
No, her conclusion is that Bush lies stem from ignorance of the plight of the less fortunate. She makes the case that he has lied, then establishes a probable motive. Again, that is not an ad hominem attack.
What you failed to mention about this quote is that it comes at the end of her column. She had already made a case for lies Bush told. These items, in her opinion, were additional ways in which Bush misled the public. You don't share that opinion. Fine. But that doesn't make it an ad hominem argument.
Your right that Ivins, doesn't address the full scope of the budget. You are also correct that Bush very well may have instituted other programs to fill the gaps left by cutting funding to the programs listed in the column. But reporting on that really isn't her responsibility.
She was making the point that Bush has lied on multiple occasions about supporting various programs. She was also making the point that this makes him callous in regards to the less fortunate. She then probes his character to figure out why.
If you disagree with her assesment of the president--say, for example, that you believe he has done some really good things for the poor, or those with AIDS--why don't you give some concrete examples. If her arguments don't have merit, tell me why they don't. You continually dismiss her opinion without really addressing any of the points she makes. You cite the last line of the column as a representation of the whole.
But you used that statement in an attempt to discredit her arguments without speaking of the merits of those arguments. That is an ad homenim argument, even if it isn't an attack.
I'm still waiting for a rebuttle of her actual arguments.
You're entitled to your opinion, now let me give you my equally valid view. The piece as a whole is an ad hominem attack on Bush. Just substitute Bush for Clinton, thrown in a bit about draft dodging instead of Air National Guard service, and add in something about Juanita Broddrick instead of saying that he didn't deserve getting into Harvard. Change the issues to some spending reductions in the Clinton administration, maybe on the military. Add a quote from Tom Delay calling Clinton a liar. Then come back and say that it's not an ad hominem attack.
The bitching about particlar programs is just designed for the purpose of forwarding that ad hominem attack. It's not about a program or two, it's about an attack on a person. That's why the title isn't "Programs cut that shouldn't be." but "Uncompassionate Conservative." That's why you see various digs at Bush trying to paint him as a narrow-minded idiot. Let's not pretend that something is a policy piece deserving of serious policy analysis when it's not. I don't know whether the particular federal programs that Ms. Ivins laments needed more money or less money, but we can clearly see that her purpose is to attack Bush as a person, not to discuss any policy concerns.
Did you know, Taft, that it is possible to support a program, but not support a particular funding level? Really, it is. I support building roads, but that doesn't mean that if I someday supported reducing spending on particular road projects that I lack compassion for the transportation needs of the country.
Instead, of touting the good things this administration has done, let's look at some policies of Bush's that I don't like. I don't like the taxes on steel imports. I don't like US trade policy with Africa. I don't like Bush's faith-based initiative or education bill, but I don't think that makes me anti education or anti religious. Those are fairly substantial disagreements. However, I can discuss them without calling the guy an narrow-minded idiot, without making the person the focus of the argument.
You mean what is written in the article does paint him as a narrow-minded idiot dispite the fact it is written in several places that it isnt the case?
Ill give you that, it is a personal attack on bush, saying he doesnt care too much about what he is doing, despite saying so. At least in my Opinion.
You are even right that whoever is current leader in america, pieces like this are going to be released about him - that doesnt cancel out the fact that this specific one is fairly well written and clearly has some truths in it.
Yes. That is correct. You see, the article argues, it's not his fault that he's a narrow minded idiot. He's from Midland, and that a narrow-minded place. He couldn't get into the top school in Houston, didn't deserve to get into college, etc. etc. He's an idiot. Absolutely, the overall picture is to paint him as a narrow-minded idiot who doesn't care, not to address a particular set of issues. It is, as you say, an attack on the person, and, I might add, an attack on the person rather than a serious discussion of issues.
Lets do something hypotetic:
But what if he actually IS a narrow minded idiot that doesnt care?
Would it be OK to write something like that then?
It's OK to write something like that if he isn't a narrow-minded idiot. Why wouldn't it be OK to do so if he was a narrow-minded idiot? In any event, whether someone is a narrow-minded idiot is a matter of opinion, not fact, so it is rather difficult to say someone "actually is" this way or that way.
You are deconstructing again. This is an opinion piece. I'm prepared to presume that author has said what she means to say, that it's not some sort of a coded message.
And another thing: politicians today, and George Bush is certainly no exception, run on "character" issues as much as, if not more then, how they intend to steer the government. If candidates for office are prepared to run on who they are instead of what they plan to do, then it's entirely fair game to explore whether they've accurately represented who they are. In this piece, Ivins is calling Bush's posture as a "compassionate conservative" into question. As one who never understood what this term was supposed to mean, I don't have any problem with the difference between the advertising and the product being exposed to the sometimes cruel light of day.
gw bush has an IQ of 92 full stop
virtually everyone in the uk hates him