HOWTO: Defend Your Point in Politics

I know this is nothing new, but it was brilliantly clear watching Rep. Murtha on Meet The Press this morning.   It’s so easy to argue your point in politics, you just need to have at least two distinct messages.

  • One message that is as logical and as indisputable as possible.
    • For Murtha it is “our troops should not go into battle unprepared” with poor equipment, poor training, etc.  I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.
  • The other message or messages can be more controversial.
    • Murtha said not only that we should be out of Iraq, but that we should close Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.  “Those are signs that the world will notice.”
    • Murtha also clearly said we can not “win in Iraq militarily” (something close to that, I’m waiting for the transcript).  He thinks we need to do more diplomatically.

So Tim Russert throws up a quote by Cheney saying something or other, probably defending the ability to win through force.

Having set up his three positions, Murtha acts like Cheney’s attack is on the first, indisputable message, and defends it.  Easy.  Doesn’t help the viewer one bit.  Doesn’t help the troops one bit.  A simple misdirection.  How frustrating.

The frustrating thing, for me, is that Murtha thinks acts like he defended against Cheney’s point, or made an impressive point of his own.  He didn’t.

OMG — Lindsey Graham just said he considers the war in Iraq as “World War III”.  Yikes.

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