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    This Flip Is a Flop

    obamafish.jpgQuote:  “Don’t assume that because I don’t agree with you on something that it must be because I’m doing that politically.”  Barack Obama, quoted in Reuters.

    Figure of Speech:  cacosyntheton (cak-o-SIN-the-ton), the bad speech. From the Greek, meaning “badly composed.”

    When the silver-tongued Obama speaks badly, it’s news.  He shows real discomfort in rebutting liberal accusations that he has flip-flopped on:

    • Iraq  (he is slightly backing off his original pledge to withdraw troops),
    • Gun control (he tepidly praised the Supreme court’s recent decision uphold the Second Amendment while ignoring the “well ordered militia” part), and
    • The right to privacy (he supports expanding the feds’ wiretapping authority).

    Dems have a reputation for their spinelessness, whether deserved or not, and a flip-flopping creature qualifies as an invertebrate.  (You may think that McCain has been flip-flopping like a large-mouth bass on a slippery dock. But he’s a war hero and a Republican, which by definition means he is not spineless but flexible.)

    So Obama must show good posture by refuting the flip-flopping charges every time he flip-flops.  But here’s a rhetorical lesson:  Watch when a normally articulate politician speaks with awkward syntax.  It usually means he finds himself on shaky logical ground. Today’s quote uses a double negative, an isolated pronoun, and two pathetically dependent clauses to mean:  I’m not being political. You just don’t like what I say.

    Then again, Figaro used to be anti-flip-flopping, but now he’s for it.  If only Bush had flip-flopped on Iraq a week before the invasion.

    Snappy Answer:  “You’re just saying that to be political.”

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    Reader Comments (3)

    The new BHO doctrine - when the going gets tough we leave, but if the going gets easy we stay. I would think that since the surge is indeed working this would comport well well BHO’s original position of immediately pulling out of Iraq - our presence is not needed. Now he is hesitant to leave Iraq. I am missing something.
    July 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn fitness Austin
    Yes, a more sensible response would have been along the lines of something like - "my position has changed - and you may not agree - but don't assume that I have changed my position simply because it benefits me politically."

    So maybe he is walking on shaky logical ground, in that he avoids the "flip flop" charge alltogether in his response.

    Still, in some ways the awkward speech comes across as a sincere or unscripted statement. It sounds more off the cuff or spontaneous. It's also a more personal statement - it became a discussion between two individuals.

    As you note yourself, the "flip flop" charge is easy to level at someone but by itself is a very weak type of claim.
    July 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHoward
    Just to point out- fish are vertabrates- thnk of the bones you pick out of your fresh bass!
    August 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnon.

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