I stumbled upon a thread in the right-wing forum Liberal Forum (.org), a domain name I can only assume was chosen to mislead people into visiting the site and driving up their stats (I intentionally left out the link so you DON’T allow them to claim you as another visitor). Republican candidates for office play a similar game when writing-up campaign literature and campaign site content – they deliberately leave out any mention of belonging to the “Republican” party and focus on issue outcomes that appear more centrist to independents to fool them into voting for the frauds (case in point that I found today: http://www.chrisforsierramadre.com/. You have to follow several Google searches to find that he is a Republican).
Back to the thread – the url to the forum thread is deliberately hidden under the root domain but it pointed to an article by the right-wing hack and Frank Luntz wannabe, John Hawkins of Right Wing News entitled “Stupid Debating Tricks – 9 of My Least Favorite Debate Tricks“.
A short aside; Frank Luntz, who the right-wingers call a “wordsmith” and the “maestro of messaging”, founded Luntz Global which is in the business of message creation and image management. Their business slogan is “Its not what you say, its what they hear”. The site is filled with little Luntz-isms like “There’s no limit to how many angles we can cover” and examples of their success in fooling the public like “We changed school choice to parental choice and vouchers to opportunity scholarships, and that has helped the education reform efforts in more than a dozen states.” Back in December, Luntz sent out a memo to GOP strategists on phrases and terms to hinder the progress of the OWS movement, which was leaked to the media by someone.
Another of the Luntz tricks is to take every charge the left has against the right and reverse it, no matter how obvious or dishonest it appears. Which takes us back to John Hawkins and his 9 least-favorite tricks that he complains are used by liberals. As you’re reading items 1-7, consider how often you have seen the radical right using the tactic against a lefty on a news program like MSNBC. Item 8 is just their “you hate America” nonsense when anyone dares to admit we made a mistake. Item 9 is the “bleeding heart liberal” charge.
- Attack The Messenger: Instead of addressing the argument that has been made, people using this method attack the person making it instead.
- The Bait & Switch: When a claim is made and your opponent refutes it, don’t try to respond, simply change the subject.
- The Blitzkrieg: The goal here is blast your opponent with so many accusations that they can’t possibly respond.
- Enter The Strawman: Tremendously exaggerating your opponent’s position and then claiming to fight against a position they don’t hold is always a great way to dodge the issues. In all fairness, this is a technique often used by the left & right. But still, the right can’t hold a candle to the left in this area.
- History Will Be Kind To Me For I Intend To Write It: The technique is similar to using strawmen in some respects. What you try to do is to rewrite history, to claim that a debate in a previous time was different than it actually was.
- I’m Not Hearing You — La La La: Just totally ignoring what your opponent has to say and going on to something else is another technique often used by politicians of all stripes, but no one, and I mean no one, can hang with Yasser Arafat and company when it comes to totally blowing off any uncomfortable questions that are asked. [Yasser Arafat is what, a liberal too?]
- Motives Matter, Results Don’t: Oftentimes when people on the left are losing an argument or can’t explain why they seem to be so inconsistent on certain issues, they start questioning the motives of their opponents.
- That Context Is On A Need To Know Basis: Stripping away the context of a situation is a favored technique of people who hate the United States. They talk about something the United States has done without discussing the reasoning behind it, the actions that provoked it, or other things that the United States might have also done that would place us in a more favorable light.
- That’s Mean, Mean, Mean! When it comes to certain subjects, ordinarily rational people turn into complete bubbleheads.
Whether Hawkins got his talking points from Luntz or not, its clear that the Luntz debate tactics are seeping through the cracks in the conservative mind.
Turd blossom, otherwise known as Karl Rove, uses another tactic – take your opponent’s strength and make it a weakness. I’ve yet to see that one have any effect on lefty strengths but given enough time and money, anything is possible. Rove’s superPAC American Crossroads plans to spend $300 million dollars in attack ads against President Obama and the Democrats.
So, the next time you ask yourself how the radical right can possibly win in November given all of their recent actions against women, minorities, and the LGBT community, think about their efforts to confuse the electorate with these wordplay strategies. That and voter suppression give me nightmares.