People often use terrible, specious logic when arguing things political. I have particularly seen this over the last 6 months. The argument typically goes like this:
- I make a critique of a policy in the Obama administration, say on health care
- Sometimes as an opening response, or sometimes when [the] other person is unable to specifically counter what I have said, they respond instead, "well, your guys fill in the blank ." The latter part might be "got us into Iraq" or possibly "are pushing this birther nonsense."
- I respond that fill in the blank was not something I support(ed) and that if by "my guys" they mean Republicans, that I was not a Republican, that I do not think the Republicans have an internally consistent position, and that I disagree with many programs and policies typically advocated by Republicans. And besides, how did this have anything to do with the original conversation?
- They respond to me now as if I am somehow cheating. Confusion reigns.
Michael at Q&O has a good example today, from the White House blog reacting to criticisms that there are too many unaccountable czars running around:
But of course, it's really the hypocrisy here that is noteworthy. Just earlier today, Darrell Issa, a Republican from California and one of the leaders in calling for an investigation into the Obama Administration's use of "czars", had to admit to Fox News that he had never raised any objections to the Bush Administration's use of "czars". Many of these members who now decry the practice have called on Presidents in the past to appoint "czars" to coordinate activities within the government to address immediate challenges.
That addresses the charge, how? Unbelievably, the White House is resorting to the kindergarten playground argument "well, you started it."
By the way, I had asked before if such an argument had a name. Its clearly a subset of ad hominem arguments, but I suspected that something so common must have be labeled. It has:
Tu quoque (pronounced /tuËËˆkwoÊŠkwiË/, from Latin for "You, too" or "You, also") is a Latin term that describes a kind of logical fallacy. A tu quoque argument attempts to discredit the opponent's position by asserting his failure to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. It is considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the party itself, rather than its positions.