Self-Triangulation

Reactions to Obama’s first try on the attempted terror attack:

Dan Riehl: “OMG – He’s Sleep Walking It! Obama Saves Self From Tasty Waves, Cool Buds … To Speak! This has to be the most perfunctory speech the orator in chief has ever given. It’s as if he resents being pulled away from his vacation to make it. Where’s the energy? The personal connection? It isn’t there. He’s literally reading a press release and it shows. Where is all that charisma we’ve heard so much about? It’s as if the issue doesn’t even interest him at all.”

Richard Fernandez: “Mutallab wasn’t so isolated. Maybe that’s lesson number one. Lesson number two may be that the President should take the enemy at their word when they say they have declared war on America; that they intend to kill all who stand in the way of their cause. It’s possible they mean it.”

Robert Spencer: “Gitmo recidivism comes back to bite us directly…. ‘American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.’ An ‘art therapy rehabilitation program.’ Yes, you read that right.”

So, this afternoon, Obama tries again. Now, the system didn’t work perfectly; now, failures were “systemic” and “disastrous.” But I don’t think this is the kind of situation in which you get a do-over. I can see it now:

“Mr. President? That speech didn’t go over too well. Even members of your own party are upset about it.”

“What? Don’t they appreciate that I interrupted my vacation? That I delayed my tee time for a full 30 minutes?”

“Apparently not, sir.  Several Democratic Senators have called to complain that this confirms the image voters have of the Democratic Party being weak on defense.”

“You mean they want me to pretend to care about American lives?”

“Yes, sir.”

“O, good grief. What do they want me to say? Write it down and I’ll say it.”

(No wonder Neo-Neo-Con notes that Obama has lost his magic touch. If he ever had it; I maintain that it was always hype and nothing but hype.)

That may sound harsh, but the left-wing sites I’ve seen, and the leftist comments I’ve read on Facebook, make me think those people don’t care about American lives. So what? they seem to say. Even if the plane had blown up, the odds of being killed while flying would still be very low, so why get excited? Republicans, they claim, are just scaredy-cats. I honestly don’t know how to respond to comments like that.

I’m especially shocked by them, in view of Iran’s impending acquisition of nuclear weapons. Today’s AP report: “Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer on Obama on Iran: “The regime is weakening. This is a hinge in history. Everything in the region with change if the regime is changed. Obama ought to be strong out there in saying it’s an illegitimate government; we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people in the street. When he talks about diplomacy he should be urging our Western allies to that have relations to cut them off. He ought to be going into the UN every forum denouncing it. This is a moment in history, and he’s missing it.”

I expect more noise from the President shortly expressing support for the protesters. But he’ll take no action, and even express the support after the tipping point has been reached.

I think there’s a pattern here, and in Obama’s recent pronouncements deploring deficit spending. President Clinton famously triangulated, positioning himself between Republicans and congressional Democrats. Obama positions himself between Republicans and himself. He does A; finds that masses of voters support the Republicans in rejecting A; gives a speech in which he decries the “false choice” between A and not-A, and expresses his own firm position against A.

Clinton, faced with a choice between A and not-A, chose neither. Obama chooses both. Paraconsistent triangulation? I don’t see how that’s supposed to work.

Actually, it’s even worse. He chooses A and not-A while rejecting the choice, i.e., affirming neither A nor not-A. I think even paraconsistent logicians would have trouble making sense of that.

One thought on “Self-Triangulation

  1. Harsh? You need to raise your standards. I always come here to see what I would write if I were level-headed and deep. To be truly harsh, it helps to have a long string of unflattering adjectives at the ready.

    I’ve only taken one puny Logic course, as you know, and find that our president is a poster child for fallacious argumentation, a prodigious perveyor of crapola even by the very demanding standards of the political classes . Your observation about his rhetorical skills is spot on: hype, and nothing but hype. He uses straw man arguments habitually as a rhetorical crutch which is symptomatic of his intellectual laziness. Thanks to a general decline in education, most people can’t really appreciate a tight argument, which is why the Lincoln-Douglas debates or the Federalist papers are drifting further from the national consciousness. Enter Obama with his sloppy syllogistic style of persuasion, its faint echoes of intellect, its cheap flattery of the audience’s acumen, and suddenly we see the new Cicero. Really, he’s a huge bore.

    Now *that’s* harsh.

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