President Obama’s Paris Lie And The Tommyboy Effect

No, not THAT Tommyboy, though the photo might not be far off...

No, not THAT Tommyboy, though the photo might not be far off…

In Paris yesterday, President Obama said at a news conference, “I mean, I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” It’s a jaw-droppingly false and irresponsible statement, especially since where he made it was just devastated by multiple mass shootings, with ISIS-affiliated terrorists killing random victims in public places with automatic rifles. Just one mass shooting at the Bataclan theater took almost a hundred lives.

The Volokh Conspiracy (now under the auspices of The Washington Post),  as other fact-checking columns have done previously with similar assertions of this sort as Obama has demagogued the gun control issue, definitively rated the statement false:

Is the president’s statement about “other countries” accurate? No. For example, on Nov. 20, 2015, mass shooters attacked a hotel in Mali, murdering at least 19 people.

Although President Obama has relatives in Kenya, his statement suggests a lack of awareness of events there. On April 2, 2015, criminals murdered 142 students at the University College Campus of Garissa, in northeastern Kenya. Among the other mass shootings in Kenya in recent years are those as Lamu (29 murdered, July 5-6, 2014), Mpeketoni (53 murdered, June 15-17, 2014),  Majembeni and Poromoko (15 murdered, two days after Mpekoni) and the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (67 murdered, Sept. 21, 2013)…On Saturday, Boko Haram attackers murdered four people in Nigeria, and four more in Niger. Last weekend, four Egyptian policemen were murdered in a drive-by shooting. As reported by CBS News the day before Thanksgiving, “Two massacres that killed 15 people in less than 12 hours rocked Honduras and left the country’s top cop in tears on Wednesday”…Suppose we accept the president’s implicit premise that “other countries” includes only the most-developed countries of the West. With this limitation, what is the accuracy of his statement that “these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries”? Plainly false, especially considering that the president was speaking in Paris, the site of multiple mass shootings on Nov. 13 and of the Charlie Hebdo mass shootings in January.

Of course it’s false. It is also, to be blunt, stupid, given the locale, and also unpresidential for a leader to be criticizing one’s own nation overseas (but we are used to that from Obama.)

More interesting to me was the phenomenon I observed over at Mediaite, where the comments almost invariably disintegrate into simple-minded-talking points, rationalizations and name-calling. A significant group of commenters, led by a snide, arrogant Obama defender calling himself “Tommyboy,” argued that only hateful, biased, “Repugs” could find fault with Obama’s statement. He didn’t literally mean that “this” doesn’t happen in other countries. Only fools could argue that he meant that, because it would be nonsense, especially given the locale. He’s a smart guy, so he would never say something stupid.

Later, Tommyboy’s proof was that Obama always uses this hyperbole, and thus it is an act of hate and bias to take the words to mean what the words do. Interesting theory: as long as a politician always uses the same misleading words, we should assume that he’s not trying to mislead.

I don’t know what to call this phenomenon, so for now I’ll name it after Tommyboy. Obama has made it a mandatory tool for Democrats in denial, andit has graduated to a disease. Obama has encouraged the ploy (or delusion–it’s hard to tell if the Tommyboys are spinning, or if they really believe what they are saying) by his repeated denials that he said what he said, often with shameful news media assistance. He didn’t literally mean that there was a red line in Syria. He didn’t literally mean that you could keep your health care plan. Neither of these denials worked very well, but they managed to dilute public comprehension of Obama’s ineptitude and habitual mendacity sufficiently to keep his poll numbers up.

Obama’s unearned reputation for being brilliant has created an airtight tautology with his supporters. Since he’s brilliant, stupid statements can’t possibly mean what they seem to mean, and it’s a sign of bias and hate to assume they do. Obama is incapable of saying dumb things. The crucial context that media reports leave out is that a brilliant, infallible leader made the statement. If we can’t understand the wise and accurate meaning behind it, that’s our fault, not his.

I mentioned in a comment elsewhere that my sister used this argument to shrug off Hillary Clinton’s recent statement that Muslims had nothing to do with terrorism “whatsoever.” Oh, you are only criticizing that because you don’t like Hillary, I was told. She obviously meant that terrorism had nothing to do with the Islamic faith.

No, Clinton obviously didn’t mean that, because that’s not what she said. If she meant something else, why didn’t she correct her choice of words? I know for a fact that my sister really believes this line of argument, or has been forced to adopt it in the process of being corrupted by Hillary: if someone you support says something that would make you lower your opinion of her, then she just couldn’t have made the statement. It just meant something else. So, like Tommiyboy, my sister  retroactively alters such a statement so it is palatable and excusable.

If you don’t do that, you’re just biased, that’s all.

There’s only one way to combat Tommyboy Effect. As NBC’s Chuck Todd said in his exasperation with Donald Trump’s insistence that his claim that thousands of New Jersey Muslims cheered the 9-11 attacks was close enough for horseshoes, “Words have meaning!” Neither we nor the news media should accept attempts to spin outrageous statements by claiming they meant what the words didn’t convey.  The options for the speakers should be these and nothing else:

1. That was not accurate, and I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize.

2. I was lying, and I apologize.

3. I stand by the clear meaning of my words, and accept full responsibility for saying it.

81 thoughts on “President Obama’s Paris Lie And The Tommyboy Effect

  1. Well, the defense that actually carries some shred of credibility is that the attacks in Paris, though carried out by locals with a smattering of foreigners is that it represented an attack planned and resourced by an external enemy at war with France…whereas those in America occur entirely by locals with no apparent external parent organization.

    I know. Shaky.

    And even if that were a valid defense, Obama is still an abject moron making such a speech in Paris and a complete wrecking ball to the American presidency making such a condemnation of his own country.

    What a jerk.

  2. What’s really ironic is the Trump may not have been that far off (see http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/12/01/7-pieces-of-documentation-that-vindicate-trumps-claim-of-911-muslim-celebrations/ for documentation that he may have merely exaggerated, as opposed to lied).

    You know who deserves an ex post facto Ethics Dunce award? Colin Powell, for NOT running in 1996. He’d have sent Bill Clinton back to Arkansas as a one-term President, and Monica and a lot of that other stuff would not have mattered in the scheme of things.

  3. “It doesn’t happen in other [first] world countries.” At least it doesn’t with regularity.

    Did you listen to the whole press conference? I thought that you would appreciate his comments about abortion — that we should have a national conversation about it. And people paint him as left-wing nut …..

    • 1. I have never said he was a left wing nut.
      2. “Doesn’t happen” and “doesn’t happen with regularity” are materially different. If he had said, “The US is more prone to these mass shootings than any other civilized nation,” nobody could disagree with him. There are good reasons for why this is true, too.

        • What??? If he meant that, he would have said that. I hear and read people saying exactly what Obama said, because anti-gun rhetoric uses this fake comparison constantly. It’s called a lie.. At this point, he knows the truth, and the stats cited in the VC. He doesn’t care. The people he wants to fool believe him, and anyone else has Tommyboy to insist that what he “meant” is all that matters.

          • This was not a prepared speech — they were off the cuff comments at a press conference in response to a reporter’s question. Did you listen to the damn thing? I did.

              • I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t do a lot of public speaking. I do — and I’m constantly clarifying what I said in Q&A sessions. Sometimes your mouth gets ahead of your brain.

                • I don’t know what to tell you Beth, your personal failings do not excuse other people’s. I write typos like they’re going out of style, EC consistently makes posts that eloquently and with near perfect grammar and spelling make his case. I’m jealous. I’m not going to assert it’s impossible to write properly and stop trying. The fact that there are politicians that don’t consistently ”make errors” (Which I think should be synonymous with ”lie”) puts the truth to the situation. Obama is NOT a poor speaker. You shill.

                    • Shill:

                      noun
                      an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.

                      verb
                      act or work as a shill.

                      Beth, I can`t think of a progressive policy or position that you haven`t come out in favor or made excuses for. And I think classifying this administration’s policies as a gamble isn’t entirely without merit. I knew, and meant, exactly what I said. See? That’s how it’s done.

                    • Obama should know by now that 1) everything the president says matters and 2) leaders who can’t talk off script without making gaffes shouldn’t talk off script.Sorry, but watching your words are part of the job.

                    • Humble — I just defended Carson — on this blog — a few weeks ago re the same lazy speech habits. If I defend a Democrat and a Republican for the same behavior that, by definition, makes me NOT a shill.

                      But good use of cut and paste! Next step? Actual analysis.

            • When a Liberal politician puts their foot in their mouth at a press conference the left justifies it, ignores it, or says it was “off the cuff comments” that can be explained away at a later date; when a Conservative puts their foot in their mouth at a press conference, the left says it’s a window to their evil soul and there’s no such thing as mulligan for words said.

              What Jack Marshall said December 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm appears to be an inconvenient truth to some people. “leaders who can’t talk off script without making gaffes shouldn’t talk off script. Sorry, but watching your words are part of the job.”

    • Erm…

      We have been “having a national conversation” about it. But we all know what left wingers mean when they say ” we need a national conversation”- that is to say “you better agree with me or I’ll paint you as an irrational loonie extremist”.

      Beth, you’re better than that.

      • Tex — let me make up statements and present them as facts and then criticize others for making those statements even though they didn’t.

        I would say that you’re better than that, but you’re not. It’s your MO.

        • I’m sorry. I wasn’t clear enough. I forget I need to be a little more in depth so as not to exacerbate your baseline confusion.

          When I said, “you’re better than that” I intended to direct it at you defending Obama’s claim to desire a “national conversation” as though it were some sort of conciliatory note (it isn’t). I know you are smart enough to realize his comment is idiotic for the reason I explained.

          I never meant to indicate you made such a comment yourself. Though re-reading it, I still think I was clear enough. But as I said, my mistake…I’ll try to elucidate further next time!

          • Ahh, I see you still don’t get it. i wasn’t defending or promoting Obama. But here’s a thought — a true leftie doesn’t believe in having a debate about abortion. They believe it is settled law, and abortions are part of women’s healthcare — nothing more. No conversation needed or desired. They did not look upon Obama’s comment with favor. And, given that he can’t run for reelection, ponder why he would make such a comment that would upset his base?

            • ‘And, given that he can’t run for reelection, ponder why he would make such a comment that would upset his base?’

              Because Obama is a Liberal.

              You are correct! As far as the left is concerned, it is decided, because their reason and logic is so wonderfully clean, and beautifully pure that even though he seems republicans as a slightly retarded, ignorant, possibly evil adversary, he still believes, deep down, that everyone is redeemable, and can be reasoned with. So in calling for a ‘conversation’ what he’s really doing is giving the ignorant plebes that disagree with him a chance to become more educated. And maybe if he talks really, really, slowly, using really, really small words, perhaps including an info-graphic written in crayon, he might break through.

              • The true religion will shine forth in it’s glorious simplicity as soon as we can stamp out that nasty streak of independent thinking we Americans can’t seem to shake.

            • “A true leftie doesn’t believe in having a debate about abortion. They believe it is settled law”. Shouldn’t this also apply to the 2nd amendment?

              • No. Apparently, rights implied by the constitution – abortion, health care, to not be offended – are far more concrete these days than the ones actually enumerated within.

                Except privacy. The left can’t make up it’s mind if it likes that one or not.

              • I agree with you Joed. I am tired with leftie arguments re more gun control. If they want to control guns, then the only way forward is to amend the Constitution. I do think some liberals think that way, but know such efforts are futile, so they are attempting death by a thousand cuts. On the other hand, I think there are an equal amount of liberals who want to preserve the second amendment but truly think enhanced regulation would work.

    • The fact that expressing an interest in a conversation about abortion is enough to move someone away from ‘left wingnut’ in your mind says more perhaps about your perception of the Left than it does about reality.

      • And this line: “And, given that he can’t run for reelection, ponder why he would make such a comment that would upset his base?” by Beth is clear indication that she has no idea that lame ducks don’t need care about their base’s opinion AT ALL exactly for the reason he can’t run for reelection…

        Like I said…head spinning.

        • Your head should be spinning, but for a different reason. Obama is NOT a liberal — he is far more moderate than people think. That is why he made that comment re abortion — yet, most people paint him with a radical brush. It’s amazing to me.

          Your lame duck (Mr. Obvious strikes again) observation proves that point.

  4. For truthfulness Democrats get graded on the Clinton curve. “This just doesn’t happen in other countries” is accurate — it depends on what “this” means. And what difference, at this point, does it make?

    • Newt Gingrich (of all people!) said it on Fox News last night: Barack Obama is delusional. Obama does not see the world as it is (and no one should be surprised about that, since he reads only the intelligence reports he thinks are consistent with the narrative the Jarrett administration wants).

      I think the whole lot of them at the federal level in DC – not just the progressives and so-called liberals, but also way too many of who we would agree are conservatives – have either lost their grip on reality, or are quietly raking in their breadwinnings and spending them without protestation, while denying and ignoring their beneficiary status as a result of the ruling class’s ongoing lost grip on reality. They’re racketeers. The racket must be busted. One way or another. Either way, it’s going to be violent. Yeah (I say, sarcastically), that just doesn’t happen in other countries. It has taken a long time, but the United States has managed to lower itself to the state of being just like any other country would be, just prior to a disastrous, even catastrophic upheaval from within.

      • Newt saying that doesn’t surprise me in the least, but I know what you’re saying. I think Jack’s right… Barack is amazingly well spoken, but he can’t be as intelligent as he lets on. Even if you assume he’s being fed awful information, having intelligence precludes you from letting yourself get so insulated you don’t recognize the planet you live on for what it is.

  5. When I first heard that Obama had said that, I assumed that there was some mistake, a quote out of context, etc. To say something like that and in the very city where one of the worst mass shootings had just occurred was completely incomprehensible. Yet he did… and without a backtrack.

    Didn’t anyone in his staff review the speech beforehand and catch the offensiveness and absurdity of it’s words? That’s what they’re supposed to do! Did someone do so, only to have their concerns rejected? Or is the entire staff so in ideological lockstep that they couldn’t see their divergence with reality? I suspect the latter. I further suspect that Obama no longer cares overmuch, as that divergence has continually expanded over the course of his second term, now drawing to a close.

    The purpose of the Obama Presidency was to place America in the unshakable grip of leftist power. While it has succeeded in doing grave harm to American society and security, it has so far failed to cement the power establishment it craved. What I fear is that this failure is spurring what may be a last, desperate and irrational push by this administration to achieve its goals or drag the entire country down with them. Many share those fears, too.

  6. Well, well, well. Turn on the news. Three individuals with an axe to grind with disabled people? Something doesn’t smell right here.

    • Guess who was making political hay before the bodies were cold? Also, the liberal media wasted no time mocking people offering prayers.

      • Fox News is reporting that a suspect vehicle was stopped, a fire fight ensued and one suspect is dead with two in custody. If so, we’ll likely soon know who they were and something of their motives for the massacre.

  7. I’m pretty sure this effect already has a name: it’s the variant of confirmation bias many skeptics call “True Believer Syndrome”. TBS (not to be confused with the channel dedicated to hand-me-down syndication) is when one believes completely in an idea, practice, or person, with little evidence of blind faith and unwillingness to be wrong – or, to be more precise, not being able to conceive that they might be wrong to believe in what they believe. This inability to concede wrongness sometimes forces the True Believer into incredible mental gymnastics, as they must then justify why they are not wrong, though some True Believers forgo the gymnastics in favor of sheer stubbornness, smashing through contradictory evidence like the Juggernaut.

    From the wonderfully acerbic Skeptic’s Dictionary: “True-believer syndrome is an expression coined by M. Lamar Keene to describe an apparent cognitive disorder characterized by believing in the reality of… events after one has been presented overwhelming evidence that the event was fraudulently staged.”

    • Agreed. I fear the U.S. has devolved into Woody Allen’s banana republic depicted in “Bananas.” Soon we’ll be receiving executive orders requiring us to wear our underwear on the outside of our clothes.

  8. What other countries average over one mass shooting per day?

    Not a rhetorical question, one of fact. I don’t know the answer.

    If someone in Kenya said about the recent spate of witch-burnings in that country “this doesn’t happen in other countries” – would it be reasonable to criticise that statement by pointing out the Salem witchhunt and stating that it happens in the USA too?

    What about the sporadic executions of those accused of witchcraft in Saudi, one every few years (not dozens a week)?

    • Ultimately, it is our unwillingness to face the threat for what is truly is, and unwillingness to pull all stops to eliminate this threat. I knew that was the problem over twenty-three years ago. I recognized this even as recently as seven years ago .

      It is clear that conventional law enforcement is not up to the job of protecting people. If you are going after a rabid junkyard dog, you do not go in there with ASPCA rules; you take the leash off your own bigger, meaner dog. What we needed then, and what we need now, is Los Angeles to be placed under martial law, to be administered by the Army. Soldiers would be given immunity from state and local laws and they would have authority to conduct searches, detain people, and do other things that they see fit to deal with this crisis on our streets.

      The U.S. military, the mightiest military force in the history of humanity, is our own bigger, meaner dog. Take off the leash and let our bigger, meaner dog crush the junkyard dogs among us.

      • You kill a rabid dog with a sharpshooter — everyone knows that. We’ve even got a few classic American films that illustrate that point. 🙂

    • Scale matters. America is 10 times the size of Canada, and has about 16 times as many shootings. If America was cut into Canada sized population chunks, the stat per day wouldn’t seem so bad.

      China, off the top of my head, has raw numbers that are just as bad… but they have 4 times the population America has. It’s hard to compare apples to apples.

        • We hear about the ones where people die, but with modern medicine and improvements with emergency responses, quite a few (I don’t want to say ‘most’ without looking for stats, but it would not surprise me) gun shot victims actually live. I think the definition of ‘Mass’ requires at least three victims… But whether they used that bar… The stat reminded me of that old infographic that claimed a certain number of school shootings, and the methodology included things like reported gunshots in the vicinity of a school, or a drive-by that hit the wall of a school.

            • Right…. And let`s be real: Shooting in the vicinity of a school is horrible. But `School shootings`after Columbine has a very different connotation than `Shootings in`a school zone.

  9. The ethics point that blows over many people head is that people obsessed with their “cause”, including Obama, completely understand that once they’ve said something to support their cause it will be quoted ad nauseum and presented as if it were fact regardless of truth. Their win at all cost mentality drives them to believe that the masses will believe it is truth if it is repeated enough; what’s really sad is that in some ways, their right.

  10. Beth,

    First off: Congratulations. And second off: No it doesn’t.

    But that’s another great example. Perhaps the BEST example… Carson. When he said that the pyramids were built by Joseph to house grain, was he ‘misspeaking’ or did he just flat out lie? How far does your defense of mediocrity go?

    So I have an idea, Beth. Educate me. Let’s play stupid things Liberals have said! And you can tell me if they’ve mis-spoken, stupid, or liars.

    First Category: The Bald Lies, let’s start this out easy. Can you identify whether these statements are lies or ‘mis-speakings’?

    Barack Obama (About 30 times):
    “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare. Period.”
    “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”

    Bill Clinton: “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I’ve never had an affair with her.”

    Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the newly passed health care law: “We actually have not required in this law that you carry health insurance.”

    Second Category: I’m so partisan, I’ll say anything for the DNC. If these are ‘mis-speakings’ What DID they mean?

    Monique Davis: “You know what I heard… that it’s not black on black crime that’s killing kids in Chicago, it’s actually cops shooting those kids.”

    Maxine Waters “We don’t need to be having something like sequestration that’s going to cause these jobs losses, over 170 million jobs that could be lost.”

    Nancy Pelosi on legislation: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

    Nancy Pelosi: “every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs.”

    Kathleen Sebelius “Men often do need maternity care.”

    John Conyers on the Health Care Bill, which he voted for: “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill … What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?'”

    Diana DeGette “These are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now, they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

    Third Category: Genuine Oopses (To prove that I actually know when someone has made a slip of the tongue.)

    Michelle Obama: “Believe me, as a busy single mother… er, I shouldn’t say single. When you have a husband who’s president it can feel a little single… but he’s there.”

    Barack Obama: “We’ve been to 57 states… One more to go I think.”

    Fifth Category: Not Partisan, but chilling… You tell me what they REALLY meant, ok?

    Melissa Harris-Perry: “We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘these are our children,’ so, part of it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

    Sheryl Crow: “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don’t want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.'”

    Joy Behar: “Isn’t it a little racist to call it Black Friday?”

    Helen Thomas: Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany and Poland.

    Bill Clinton: “It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    Jerry Brown, “The conventional viewpoint says we need a jobs program and we need to cut welfare. Just the opposite! We need more welfare and fewer jobs.”

    Marion Barry, “I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less.”

    Barack Obama on a tornado that killed twelve people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died – an entire town destroyed”

    • Again with the effin’ cut and paste? I am not defending everything that every politician or celebrity has ever said, I was addressing your (incorrect) observation that I am a shill — which you still haven’t retracted. My defense of Carson (whom I hate) was limited to a comment he made re Jefferson. My defense of Obama I won’t repeat here because I already made it above.

      Sometimes facts are completely off and we should call our leaders on it when they make those mistakes. That should not be confused with lazy speaking when context makes clear what they meant. Much like Trump and his comment re Mexicans that got him in hot water. He was referring to illegal immigrants, not all Mexicans. (And I still think he was wrong, but I will give him a context pass.)

      I would much rather have discussions about actual ideology than engage in name calling and gotcha! semantic games.

      You need to up your game a little Humble. Playground name calling is beneath you.

      And no, you didn’t prove a damn thing.

      • You ARE a shill Beth. You might not like being called a shill, but let’s face it: Obama Lies. He lies like he breathes. More than 30 times he came out in front of America, shilling his healthcare plan “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. Period.” all the while everyone who had actually read the law, or cared to learn a damn thing about it knew he was lying (“You lie!”). And then after it was obvious he had lied, he tried to say: “What I said was If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare, if it conforms with the ACA’s guidelines.” It was left-leaning Politifact’s lie of the year. He has done NOTHING to foster the kind of loyalty you have shown for him, and takes every opportunity he can to abuse your good will, you should be bitter and hurt and angry. But no, seven years later, you are still defending him, after probably hundreds of like instances. You are part of a device… The built in DNC protection human engine, that allows Obama and his administration to actively swindle America. You are a shill. And you should be ashamed. The one time you defend Carson doesn’t make you less of a shill, it’s an outlier… There might even be a few other moments like it. You might have realized that having defended similar instances with Obama, it would be hypocritical not to defend that… Which just means Obama has lowered your expectations for everyone. And that isn’t healthy.

          • You can pretend that you aren’t the term personified all you want, you can even pretend the dictionary definition doesn’t apply, if it helps you sleep at night. Words have meaning, and this one means exactly what I think it does.

            • And let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that the word ‘shill’ doesn’t mean what I think it does. You know what, in that case, I’m sorry, I was confused about what the term shill means. But I’m not going to let you insulate your actions in semantics.

              You are still a cog in the machine that actively enables this administration to lie, cheat and steal from the American population at large. Whatever you want to call that, it’s still pretty horrible.

              • Dude, you need to simmer down. Seriously — you get a failing grade in debate.

                Look at what Jack wrote above — he said that I was “bi-partisan, objective, and wrong.” Well, I disagree with him about the wrong part, but that is what we should be doing here — arguing about merits and policy positions. I am not biased — but I’m willing to admit that I may be wrong about a lot of things. You need to do that too. Jumping down people’s throats and acting like a juvenile advances nothing. If you can’t do that, then take a break from being here.

                Obama is not responsible — in any way, shape, or form — of lowering my expectations for purposeful and meaningful speech. That ship sailed a long time ago. Remember George W? Do I think our leaders should be more careful in their speech? Of course I do. But I think it is more meaningful to talk about positions then semantics.

                • I’m sorry, I had to resist breaking out into laughter when you, you… of all people… tried to lecture me, me… of all people about how it’s more important to talk about positions than semantics. When you are literally using a semantic argument to try to tell me that Obama didn’t mean what he said. What did you just say? I don’t think that word means what you think it does? Excuse me for just a… heh. Ok.

                  And what you are failing to take into account is that this isn’t necessarily a left vs. right thing. Support for Obama isn’t per se support for every progressive policy on the books, I count myself as a moderate conservative, but if I looked hard enough, I’m sure I could find some legislation that I could get behind. That doesn’t make me a closet progressive… That just mean that… GASP…. we might agree on something. This is a failure of a two party system, everything gets polarized and there`s an expectation to follow party line. And that is an expectation that you for the most part seem to live by, the points in time where you shake your head and say ‘No, that`s too far’, like your response to Charles’ no-gun list isn’t a complete repudiation of years of Democratic support. And not just support… But devotion. I don’t think you’re a shill because of this one situation, I think you’re a shill because I know you, and I think you’re shilling because it’s what you do.

                  • You don’t get it dude. I don’t use semantic tools … ever. I detest them. I was making fun of you for using one …. and then using it incorrectly! It was your argument and you were wrong. I simply pointed it out. At least Tex is usually in the ballpark when he decides to go down that route.

                    As for knowing me, you don’t know me at all. In fact, as of today, I’ve decided to vote Republican in my state’s primary. Thanks for motivating me. Maybe you’re not totally useless.

                    Beth “The Shill”

                    P.S. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” is a reference to a famous movie.

            • Yes, because he LITERALLY is wrong. If a person defends a Democrat and a Republican for the exact behavior, then that person, by definition, is not a shill. If people are going to engage in name calling, then come up with the right names at least.

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