Fox pundits sure do love strawman arguments…


Fox Host: Obama Would Love To Appoint “First Lesbian Transgender Poet” To Supreme Court

Jonah Goldberg

Fox News talking head and Editor at Large of the neo-conservative National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg took “straw man argument” to new heights on Wednesday.

A straw man argument is when you can’t argue with the reality of a situation, so you make up a new, far more extreme reality, and argue against that instead. If the reality you build out of straw is ridiculous enough, then your arguments, however weak will appear to have merit.

Goldberg was speaking about the possibility that President Obama may have an opportunity to nominate another Supreme Court justice before the end of his term when he said;

“I think that he very much would love to appoint, pick some incredibly exotic identity politics wedge issue kind of guy to rev up the base, or gal, or to be determined, or in between, the first lesbian transgender poet Supreme Court justice or something” 

By painting the most outrageous picture possible of a liberal wet dream nominee, of course, Goldberg was pandering to his own base, trying to rev up support to keep the chances of success for approving even the most centrist of nominees.

Goldberg’s comments were prompted by a remark by the president at a fundraiser on Monday;

“We’re going to have Supreme Court appointments,” Obama told donors at a fundraiser in Tisbury, Mass. “And there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”

With Cancer survivor Ruth Bader Ginsberg at 81, Anthony Kennedy and Anton Scalia at 78 and Stephen Breyer at 76, the possibility of one or more seats becoming vacant in the next two years is very real.

Goldberg rationalized the situation thus:

“Everything is possible. But all I’m saying is that he would love to do that for the same reasons that he wants people to declare war on women, it would be to put the Republicans in a very difficult place of having to sort of seem like they were being racist, or sexist, or homophobic. And those are the games he plays these days, and that crowd ate it up.”

The flaw in that argument is that, while a few hard-core liberals would indeed eat it up, the vast majority would not be moved if they were rejected. Blocking another Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor however would be a different story. To suggest that this filibuster record-setting GOP would easily confirm another solid left of center jurist, no matter how reasonable their record, seems naïve, but to block them would send yet another message of just how far right the GOP has moved that even independents will notice.

To keep that from being a possibility, Jonah Goldberg has constructed a man of straw so obviously false that if Dorothy and her dog Toto happened upon him, even they would leave him stuck up on his post.



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