Thursday, January 10, 2008

That is not logical, Captain.

Earlier this week Jay Nordlinger dissected Mike Huckabee's attack on Mitt Romney on a grammatical, philosophical, and moral basis.
I know that a lot of people — anti-Romneyites — are fired up by that line of Huckabee’s: “People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off.” Apparently, he was alluding to Romney. And I find Huckabee’s one of the most depressing lines I have heard in ages — depressing from every point of view.

First, grammatical: They say Bush can’t talk? I thought Huckabee was supposed to be silver-tongued.

Second, philosophical, or political, if you like: Huckabee expressed low populism, or “sheer demagoguery,” as Ronald Reagan used to say. Huckabee’s line could have come out of the mouth of John Edwards, or John Sweeney, or David Bonior. Is this what we want in the Republican party now? Why not have just one big Democratic party?

And third — oh, call it moral: It seems we’re now campaigning on the basis of what the other guy looks like. What do we say about how Huckabee looks? Frankly, I think I would have liked him better when he was fat — he might have been humbler.
Huckabee is even using the line in a political ad.

Nordlinger forgot to look at Huckabee's logic. Aside from my being unaware of any business Romney ran having to lay-off large numbers of employees, the argument that Huckabee makes compares two dissimilar things, a coworker at a job you kept and an employer for a job you lost. To work logically, his argument should be structured in one of these ways.

“People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy who signs their paycheck.”


“People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them of the guy they used to work with who got them fired, not the guy who laid them off.”

Neither of these statements is true, not even close. But each more closely reflects the reality of Huckabee and Romney, very, very closely.

In addition to being a dishonest demagogue, Huckabee must have flunked the logic section of the SAT.

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