“I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of fuckers. Mitch McConnell is terrible.”
—Jen O’Malley Dillon, incoming Deputy Chief of Staff for Joe Biden, explaining to Glamour Magazine that bi-partisan deals are still possible with Republicans.
She continued to say that her boss, “set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too.”
Why wouldn’t we all believe he’s sincere, when he hires staff like her?
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield tweeted a Jumbo of a defense of Dillon:
“So [Dillon]would be the first to tell you her mom doesn’t approve of the spicy language but I would be the first to tell you that the point she was making in this conversation…is spot on: unity and healing are possible — and we can get things done.”
Hilariously self-contradictory statement? What hilariously self-contradictory statement?In fact, its a close call which of these statements is funnier, Bedingfield or O’Malley Dillon’s.
1. One of the weaknesses of the Trump administration was its often incompetent and untrustworthy staff, especially on the communications side until Kayleigh McEnany took over. Unlike President Trump, whose range of choices for key positions was seriously constrained by experienced Washington political professionals being intimidated out of working for him, Joe Biden presumably has the complete Democratic support universe to choose from…and this is the best he could do? Wow.
2. How can any official think it makes sense to say the administration is determined to “heal” the political tensions while in the same breath calling the opposing party “fuckers” and labeling the leader of that party in the Senate as “terrible”? How can such an official think doing so is anything but a signal that Biden’s words about wanting to stand for unity and bi-partisanship were just subterfuge and fake virtue-signaling?
3. If they do think that, they are incompetent, indeed stupid. If they don’t think that, then they have told us that they think the public is stupid.
4. A trustworthy President-elect who is serious about “healing” would begin by immediately firing Dillon after rejecting her remarks.
She still has her job.
5. As for Bedingfield’s tweet: It begins with misdirection, pretending that it was Dillon’s “spicy language” that was the problem. (And shrugging off such uncivil rhetoric as something only old people care about, being out-of touch and uncool.) Then it pretends that there was nothing in Dillon’s comments that would make anyone without a closed-head injury doubt that this is part of a gang dedicated to “healing.”
6. I regard these unforced errors as signature significance, indicating that the Biden administration has no sincere interest in healing or bipartisanship, and that the Democratic Party’s posturing about President Trump’s lies and divisiveness will be followed by Democratic lies and divisiveness, not that we haven’t had that all along.
7. Nonetheless, I am surprised. I thought Joe’s team would at least fake sincerity until the inauguration. They couldn’t even do that.
21 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Biden Deputy Chief Of Staff, Jen O’Malley Dillon”
See Turley’s new column on “Trumpunity.” I think you both are hitting the nail on the head.
Re: Points 2 and 3; Civility and Healing.
Jack asked, rhetorically, “How can any official think it makes sense to say the administration is determined to “heal” the political tensions while in the same breath calling the opposing party “fuckers” and labeling the leader of that party in the Senate as “terrible”? How can such an official think doing so is anything but a signal that Biden’s words about wanting to stand for unity and bi-partisanship were just subterfuge and fake virtue-signaling?”
My answer: It’s because the “healing” they want is capitulation and obedience. That kind of “healing” is akin to “Anne Alhouse’s “Calls for Civility are Bullshit” tagline. If you reject Biden’s positions to reenter the Paris Accords or the Iran nuclear deal, then you refuse to heal the nation from the deep divide caused by the Evil Orange Man Bad. Forget that reentering the Iran nuke deal will likely jettison the peace accords Trump worked about between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and a few others. Nope. You refuse to heal. Your objection is evil and you must be destroyed. Just ask Joel Epstein, who had the temerity to mock St. Jill Biden, Ph.D, MD, Esq.’s doctorate and her dissertation.
But, Sen. qua VP Kamala Harris stated that she will prepare for her role as VP by studying Biden’s legacy. Great. She might learn that as a sitting senator, he was completely wrong about every national and foreign policy initiative over his 47 years as a senator and that as VP, he didn’t do very much to enhance the prominence of the office. If she wants to learn about an effective VP, she could study up on Dick Cheney, love him or loathe him. Cheney expanded the duties to more that a figure head at foreign funerals and breaking ties in the Senate. But, she won’t do that. Cheney is evil.
These two women are simply standard issue young Democrats of their vintage. They hate, hate, hate and despise Republicans. Viscerally. As John states above, any opposition is completely unacceptable. I bet Obama will be back on the scene telling us we need to “have a conversation” about this or that. I.e., “Sit down and shut up and I’m going to tell you how things ought to be.”
Biden is an empty suit and a sock puppet of extreme progressives. Ignore the propaganda that flows freely over Biden’s lips and pay attention to his actions and you’ll see the false moderate facade slowly peel away.
They keep using the word “Unity”. I do not believe the word means what they think it does.
This is no different from Samantha Bee’s vicious attack on Ivanka Trump for the crime of posting a photo of her baby on Mother’s Day and pretending that the problem was solely the name she called Ivanka.
Irresponsible escalation Jack. Look at what she said. You printed it. “I am NOT saying they are NOT a bunch of …..”. You are normally so careful about language. All she does say is “Mitch McConnell is terrible” which I don’t think even he could object to.
No, she says we’re all a bunch of f***ers AND that McConnell is terrible.
So yes, she’s saying that Republicans in general and McConnell in particular are nasty, horrible people but yet her boss says unity is possible. Hard to look at the entire quote and say it’s ok.
I am not saying “they are not a bunch of motherfuckers” means “I AM saying they ARE.”
1. “They are a bunch of fuckers” Clear, no?
2. “They are NOT a bunch of fuckers”= The opposite of #1.
3. “I am not saying #1” is the same as #2.
4. “I AM saying #1” is the same as #1
5. “I and saying #2” is the same as #2.
6. “I am NOT saying #2” is THE SAME AS #1!!!!
Thus she said: “Republicans are fuckers”
I don’t blame you for being confused: you had me going for a minute.
A great lesson in why to avoid double negatives.!
No, not in my language, or logic or mathematics.
‘I am not saying x is not equal to 5’ is NOT the same as saying ‘x equals 5’.
In the same way a judge might reasonably (but wouldn’t) tell you before a case started that he wasn’t saying your client wasn’t guilty. Equally he wasn’t saying your client was guilty either.
Yes double negatives should be avoided and are frequently misunderstood.
As a committed agnostic I am not saying there is not a God.
I agree with this and I clearly affirmed this below, but there is a caveat to the mess depending on the context.
If she’s being told to say “republicans are not assholes”, merely saying “I’m not saying that”, isn’t an agreement with the opposite even if it strongly implies so. However, if she said what she said with that kind of rising and falling tone of voice that goes along with a “wink wink”, then of course she’s saying “republicans are assholes”.
Read the sentence with the NOT’s cancelled out, like a math problem multiplying two negatives…a sentence is a logic problem, in which case, even number of NOT’s cancel out.
I am not saying you’re not wrong because I’m not saying anything at all.
What’s that supposed to mean, Andrew? A double negative is a fairly common structure and they do cancel each other out, right? Your sentence above appears to be a triple negative? So it doesn’t cancel itself out?
In any event, this woman is the chief of staff for a president. Imagine Trump’s chief of staff had said something like this woman has said.
She must a protoge of that Tom Perez guy.
That’s NOT how logic actually works.
And this is me resisting the temptation to hunt down my old posts about Converse vs. Contrapositive.
Okay, I guess we’re doing this.
Here’s the logical fallacy:
~(~A) == A is only valid when the exact same assertion is being negated.
However, in the statement of the original quote, there are two different (but similar) assertions being made and each are being separately negated. In particular:
A) X is TRUE. [In context, “Republicans are a bunch of fuckers.”]
B) I’m saying that (A) is TRUE.
These are distinct premises because a person just saying something is not sufficient proof that what was said is true. Premise A speaks to the facts at hand, while Premise B asserts that some speaker is asserting that Premise A is TRUE.
e.g. “I’m saying that the moon is made of green cheese.”
It is TRUE that I’m am making the statement that the moon is made of green cheese, but it does not logically follow that the moon IS made of green cheese just because I said so. Separately, we can evaluate that “the moon is made of green cheese” is FALSE due to other scientific findings which contradict it (i.e. We’ve gone to the moon and brought back moon rocks which are demonstrably NOT made of green cheese.)
This can be equivalently restated in more rigorous terms as:
“There exists a statement of mine saying that ((X is TRUE) is TRUE)).”
(I could and should break out the “of mine” qualifier, but that serves more to muddy the issue than clarify it, so I’ll let it ride. For those who are curious–or dispute this–I’ll quickly explain that “of mine” is always TRUE in this discussion; the statement becomes “There exists a statement that ((is mine) AND (says (X is TRUE) is TRUE)”; (TRUE AND X) is equivalent to just X by the definition of AND; therefore the restatement “There exists a statement that ((X is TRUE) is TRUE)” is equivalent by Boolean algebra.)
This brings us back to the original twice-negated (but not double-negated) statement.
“I’m NOT saying that A is NOT true.”
There are two negations in place, but one is applied to each of the two premises.
Negating the (A is TRUE) is easy and it becomes (A is FALSE).
Negating a “There exists” premise is a bit tricky, but it becomes something either of the form “There does not exist a statement that (X is TRUE) in the set of all statements made” or “For all statements made, no statements say (X is TRUE)”. The latter one is closer in form to our original statement. So we get:
“My statement does not say that (A is FALSE).”
This does not simplify to “My statement says that (A is TRUE)” because the only assertion being made is that one particular thing was not asserted. While its true that (A is TRUE) is in the universe of possible statements that do not say (A is FALSE), there are also an infinite number of other possible statements that also satisfy the conditions of NOT saying that (A is FALSE). (e.g. “The moon is made of green cheese” is also not saying that (A is FALSE).)
In short, you’ve mistaken a statement of the form:
“I’m not saying that (X is FALSE)”
for a statement of the form:
“I’m saying that it’s not true that (X is FALSE)”
In the first case, X is being negated, and the assertion about what has been stated are separately negated. Because of the negative assertion, we can only conclude that a statement could have said anything in the universe except that one thing. (In fact, we can’t even conclude that any statement is being made at all, because we’ve negated a “there exists” type of premise.)
In the second case, only X is being negated, but twice, which does simplify to “I’m saying that (X is TRUE).”
Having said all that, let’s be 100% crystal clear about something.
I do indeed believe that her statement is fully intended as a wink-and-a-nod way of saying “Republicans are a bunch of fuckers” whilst simultaneously trying to avoid accountability for saying something mind-explodingly inappropriate on the record. But I have to acknowledge that my belief, on its own, doesn’t make it true. There are other ways to interpret what she intended to say and only she knows for certain.
So even though I’m going out of my way to say why one cannot fairly conclude through logic alone that what she said was equivalent to saying that “Republicans are a bunch of fuckers”, . . .
I’m not saying she didn’t mean it that way.
(Not a Doctor)
OK, I think my head just exploded or something.
Can’t we just have her cancelled and then we can forget all this ever happened?
breaking into converse, contrapositive, inverse and negation involve If-Then propositions.
She wasn’t making an If-Then statement.
1) My note about Converse and Contrapositive is actually a bit of an in-joke to a time a few years ago when Jack and I went a few rounds over the difference between them. (Even TGT got involved, which gives you an indication of how long ago it was.) In truth it was just a non-sequitur and maybe NO ONE even got the reference.
2) I don’t see the relevance. Of course you can use those constructs without using strict if/then statements (“implications”). (“I’m hungry” … “I’m not hungry.” There you go: a counterexample of negation on something that’s not an implication.) You can also restate things into implications that are equivalent. This is how we’ve been doing “word problems” in math class since 5th grade.