The pic attached to this post is a screencap from an article on CNN.com that I blogged about yesterday (article here: http://www.cnn.com/…index.html blog here: http://thepete.com/…m-not-pt-1 ). I wanted to revisit this story because it illustrates the use of the Straw Man Argument. This is something I blogged about the day before last (here: http://thepete.com/…ic-defense ).



If you notice in the screencap, Democratic Congressman John Lewis explains how he sees McCalin rallies becoming fertile ground for new racism. He explains how George Wallace never had to "throw a bomb" or "fire a gun" but that he did create "the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks." Lewis feels that McCain and Palin are creating a similar atmosphere at their rallies.



Now, let's take a look at what Senator John McCain (presidential candidate, if you hadn't noticed) said to defend himself against Lewis' statements:



"Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Gov. Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale," he said in a Saturday afternoon statement released by his campaign.



"The notion that legitimate criticism of Sen. Obama's record and positions could be compared to Gov. George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I've always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track."



Did you see what he did? In amongst a bunch of other things that sound true enough, McCain lies by suggesting that Lewis was comparing "legitimate criticism of Sen. Obama's record and positions" with the hateful stuff George Wallace did. This is another use of the Straw Man Argument--where McCain sets up something that he can easily knock down (like a little man made of straw).



It's true--comparing legitimate criticism of Obama to George Wallace's racism is not right and is not fair. Anyone would agree with that.



But that's not what Lewis was doing. Lewis was saying that the atmosphere of racism is created at these rallies.



Like Palin did the other day in "defending" against accusations no one had made (as I blogged about here: http://thepete.com/…ic-defense ), McCain is dodging the issue and shows Lewis the same disrespect he claims Lewis is showing him.



Of course, McCain is a powerful white politician who is well known for claiming the mantle of American Hero at every turn, while Lewis actually is an American hero spending his entire life fighting racism.



You might want to try addressing his issues directly and refrain from the disrespect.



To be fair, Senator John, you have made efforts to address the growing racism at your rallies. In that same CNN article, Barack Obama is quoted as saying: "But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night,"



The thing is that you're not doing enough, John. You seem to only let white people into your rallies. Do you want to be President of the United States of America, John? Or just President of the United States of White People?



I suppose that IS where you find all the money.



But the ultimate point here is that once again we see that McCain is no longer an American Hero, but a man who embodies an awful lot of bad things that politicians have become known for. Using the Straw Man Argument, he distracts from what is really going on. As I mentioned in my Palin post from the other day, sadly, most politicians use this technique.
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