Most illogical blog post ever

Democrats and liberals blamed for kooky sign-toting LaRouchies


Thomas Schaller
August 12, 2009 10:13PM (UTC)

My word. This post by the Weekly Standard's John McCormack has to be the most willfully misleading and illogical blog post I have ever read:

Video: Democrats Bring Obama-As-Hitler Signs to Town Halls

Last week, Think Progress produced four pictures of protesters linking Obama or his health-care plan to Nazism. . .

Now, Dave Weigel points out that the Obama-as-Hitler posters are produced by the group of many-times Democratic presidential candidate (and absolute nutter) Lyndon LaRouche. (emphasis in original)

OK, first of all, citing Dave Weigel of the Washington Independent is highly misleading. I know Dave and, even before opening the link to his post, I just knew there was no frickin' way he had conflated Lyndon LaRouche with the Democratic Party just because the nutty LaRouche quadrennially fancies himself the next Democratic nominee.

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And sure enough, when I did read Weigel's post, it's clear he intended to debunk the myth that Democrats are behind the Obama-Hitler analogies, and that, in fact, he specifically wrote the post to take another conservative blogger (from Michigan) to task for doing what McCormack then proceeds to do yet again, anyway: namely, wrap up LaRouchies with Democrats so he can reach the all-too-convenient if illogical conclusions and produce a sensation headline.

But McCormack doesn't stop there. He finishes the post with this utterly bizarre graph:

I don't doubt that there may be tens--nay, dozens--of conservative protesters out of the tens (hundreds?) of thousands who will attend Obamacare town-hall meetings this month holding signs comparing Obamacare to Nazism. It is still dishonest and disingenuous to claim that one protester carrying an Obama-as-Hitler sign in 10,000 is representative of the whole group. It is an especially dishonest talking-point when we don't know whether left-wing Democrats or right-wingers are carrying the signs.

Well, now. It would be disingenous to lump in the remaining 9,999 protesters with every one crazy, unhinged demostrator with an Obama-as-Hitler sign--although McCormack acknowledges it is at least dozens of conservatives as he grasps for a conveniently large denominator by wishing that there were hundreds of thousands of perfectly sane conservative protesters in total. But even if we grant that a few dozen for every thousand is still a small fraction, it's still a much bigger fraction than zero divided by anything.

Lumping in LaRouchies with "Democrats" is precisely the sort of "dishonest and disingenuous" accounting McCormack decries even as he is practicing it. What's clear is that McCormack should be immediately promoted to conservative talk television, where a slippery command of the facts and the ability to conflate two different and non-proportionate things so as to falsely equate them is virtually a prerequisite for being hired.

Seriously: Mr. McCormack ought to take down that post, and then apologize to his readers publicly and Dave Weigel privately.

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Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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