Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Herald: Diaz-Balart may face challenger

It's tempting to rip into the Miami Herald for the headline above. Hey, that's perceptive. But no, let's look at the content.

There’s a sophomoric debating tactic called “the straw man.” The debater attempts to destroy the opponent’s argument by describing it as something different from what it really is, and defeating that (the fallacious straw man) rather than what the opponent actually argues.

We see this in Wednesday’s Miami Herald, back in the local section, where U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) declares that the Democrats want to defeat him and his two cohorts in order to “improve relations with Cuba,” especially to get rid of the embargo.

Oh yeah? What about torture? The war in Iraq? SCHIP? We want someone with political courage to represent us in Washington, not a rubber-stamp. Someone intelligent and wise and future-oriented, not stuck in the past. Someone with true compassion, not the conservative lip-serving compassion. Someone who would complain about “signing statements” that eviscerate legislation. Someone who would save our environment, not pave it over. Yes, let’s have a reasonable Cuba policy, but that’s somewhere down in the lower half of our long list of complaints.

So, Mr. Congressman, your straw man is laid bare. And by the way, you confirmed our suspicions as to how you will campaign: with sophomoric debating tactics. Thank you for telegraphing your punch, which is a sophomoric boxing tactic.

We’ll assume that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) and your brother Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) will be using the same tactics.