Sunday, May 26, 2024

AR-House 46 [Follow-Up]: That word…you keep using it. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I have found that, as a general rule, the more ridiculous someone is in his or her initial position on an issue, the more quickly he will paint himself into a logical corner when discussing it or attempt to change the subject altogether by playing the victim and/or claiming that you just don’t understand what he is saying (or are misconstruing it). I call this phenomenon the “Palin Gambit,” as she has given myriad examples of it over the last two years, from her claim that she was the victim of “gotcha journalism” when she was asked the amazingly tricky question of which news sources she reads, to her continued assertions that ANYONE in the media who writes negatively about her is part of the liberal “lamestream media,”1 even when that writer is actually a Republican. It’s fascinating to watch, really.

Because of this phenomenon and because he’s consistently been little more than a talking-point parrot, I was curious to see how David Meeks would respond following yesterday’s accurate-if-slightly-caustic explanation of the absurdity of his “too expensive” position on the health care reform bill. I figured he would repeat his lack of understanding of marginal costs and again cry about “$750+ million” being too much before, ultimately, playing the poor, bullied victim.

To my joyous surprise, however, Meeks actually opened with the Palin Gambit.

@bluehogreport Thanks once again for taking what I said out of context and spinning it. I guess I should come to expect it from a liberal.

Now that is quality worksmanship. Note the finely crafted detail around where he makes himself a victim. By accusing me (under the implied pejorative of “a liberal”) of taking what he said “out of context and spinning it,” Meeks has at once distanced himself from his own incorrect statement and attempted to make me the one who is making false statements. That, ladies and gents, is the mark of a true, practiced master of self-deception and ignorance.

Unfortunately for Dave2, there is a huge difference between claiming that someone took what you said out of context and someone actually doing that. Taking something out of context, Dave, requires that there be additional information (i.e. the context) surrounding a quoted statement that, if revealed, would change the meaning of the part that was quoted quoted. For example, if I said “David Meeks is an outstanding candidate in the same way that Waterworld was an outstanding movie,” and you then quoted me as saying only that “David Meeks is an outstanding candidate,” THAT would be taking something out of context. For another example, if I said “If you like the idea of being represented by someone who has little grasp of logic or economics, you should absolutely vote for David Meeks,” and you quoted only the “you should absolutely…” part, THAT would be taking something out of context.

On the other hand, where, as here, I said that the posts came from Twitter, then posted not only the words you wrote in both posts about the costs, but the actual visual representation from your Twitter page of both of those posts, there was no additional context that I could have added. By definition, I could not have “take[n] what [you] said out of context.” I honestly don’t see how this is a hard concept to grasp; saying that I took your statement out of context doesn’t actually mean that I did so.

As for “spinning” what you said, your definition of “spin” seems to be the same as Bill O’Reilly’s, which is not the least bit shocking now that I think about it. You wrote:

I wrote my post responding to your assertions (a) that bill “will add $750+ million to the state budget” and (b) that “we can’t afford it.” I explained that the $765 million pricetag you quoted was almost certainly inapplicable to Arkansas as it was the cost for an aggressive implementation that tried to reach 75% of the newly eligible Arkansans as well as a high percentage of those already eligible but not covered. I further explained that, regardless of whether we used your high-end number or the $455 million expected for a more standard implementation, the incremental increase in Arkansas’s health spending was minimal compared to the number of people who would be covered under the new bill, and I mentioned the report’s statement that “new coverage is likely to reduce the need for state payments for uncompensated care,” which would lead to additional cost savings for the state.

I did not respond to your flawed assertion about it being “time 4 free market solutions, not govt solutions.”  However, if you would like to discuss why relying on the free market to solve the problems with healthcare costs is silly, or even why the general Republican fealty to the ideas of unregulated free markets is a bad idea, I would be happy to explain. That being said, the fact that I did not respond to all of your assertions and, instead, chose to focus on certain specific ones does not mean that I was “spinning” your statements.3 Nor does quoting from the same report you referenced constitute “spinning” your statements.

For the sake of not omitting any context, I should also mention that, in addition the Tweet directed @bluehogreport, Dave Tweeted:

A hit piece on me by a liberal/progressive complete with name calling… RT @bluehogreport: BHR: David Meeks short…

I love how you refer to an article that rebuts your assertions with facts and logic as a “hit piece.” You have absolutely mastered the art of playing the victim, Dave.  Kudos.

Oh, as for those “name[s]” I called you?

I said that you “do[] not seem to be overly bright.” That’s nothing more than my opinion, which was gleaned from reading what you’ve written as well as by observing your flawed style of argumentation.

I said that I assumed that you were ignorant of the facts of the health care law as opposed to being aware of them and making disingenuous statements on purpose. Webster’s defines “ignorance” as “the lack of knowledge in general, or in relation to a particular subject.” I was pointing to your lack of knowledge in relation to the health care bill. While I was undoubtedly sarcastic in much of the post, just because you may not like an opinion/assertion, that doesn’t mean that I was calling you names.

What jumps out at me through all of this is two-fold. First, Dave’s answer to my rebuttal was to say that I took him out of context and was “spinning” his statement, yet he hasn’t explained how the meaning of his statement differed from what I claimed in a way that some extra (unidentified) context would have clarified.  This is most likely because there is no additional context.

Second, Dave has made zero attempt to rebut my positions with anything other than calling me a “liberal,” calling the post a “hit piece,” and hiding behind his silly “context” defense. While Twitter might have a limit on the characters Dave could use to respond, the comments here at BHR certainly do not.  Dave’s failure to make a cogent counter-argument probably has less to do with character limits, though, and more to do with it being much harder to rebut facts than to simply make up your own.

1 Author’s tangent: I’ve heard and read several people derisively referring to the “lame-street media.” This is stupid. The regular, non-blog/internet media are referred to by normal people as “mainstream.” It should come as no surprise, then, that replacing “main” with “lame” is only witty, to the extent that it is*, if you get the rest of the label right. I thank you all in advance for your attention to this matter.

2 Can I call you “Dave?” Or would you prefer “Captain Context, Defeater of Rampant Spin?”

3 It only means that I got bored.

* Which is, of course, “not at all.”

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