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Rhetoric: The Obama Method
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stephan Hayes does an interesting job of dissecting how Obama is seemingly able to rhetorically offer "doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates." I think he's on to something.

For instance gun rights:
His rhetorical gimmick is simple. When he addresses a contentious issue, Mr. Obama almost always begins his answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting — a line or two that suggests he understands or perhaps even sympathizes with the concerns of a conservative.

At Cornell College on Dec. 5, for example, a student asked Mr. Obama how his administration would view the Second Amendment. He replied: "There's a Supreme Court case that's going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I've got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably — it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That's what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that's a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families."
I'm not sure where "hunt" and "fish" figure into this (and that should give you a clue as to his true feelings), but on the whole, most gun rights advocates would so far find little to concern them and would be lulled into a sense of feeling secure about Obama and gun rights.
Then came the pivot:

"Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community . . . So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don't think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, ATF can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out — what are you doing?"
Suddenly, after the acknowledgement of the 2nd as an individual right, he's talking about collective regulation and restriction of that right.

So now, you aren't so sure where he stands concerning the 2nd and he wraps it up with this:

In conclusion:
"There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the NRA is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don't think that's how most lawful firearms owners think."
Now, if you haven't figured out that wrapped in all that rhetoric is a guy who thinks regulation and restriction is something to be applied as necessary and desired by government to this supposed right, you're not paying attention. Why? Because he's confused you with his intro.

Point? Listen very carefully when he lays out his issues and understand that "the pivot" is where you'll begin to actually hear what he believes and will do.

The good news is there are times when he is going to not play the rhetorical games you see above and just flat out tell you what he plans to do. Those are a bit scary as well. As in this case:

 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish and protect their families"??? How many hunters are out there shooting fish?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
It doesn’t matter, St. Obama will wave his magic wand and bring about "change"!

CHANGE
CHANGE
CHANGE
CHANGE!


 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
What Obama fails to remember (or intentionally ignores) is that the right to protect my family primarily means protecting them against people like him.

No wonder he wants restrictions.

And the only thing I’ll be changing is magazines.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
I think the big story is in the clip.

"worldwide ban on fissile materials"

Obama wants to eliminate nuclear power. Along with his stand on AGW, I guess its pretty clear he wants us to freeze in the dark.

Maybe its time to bury guns and gold.
 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
How many hunters are out there shooting fish?
How else do you deal with fish in barrels, other than by shooting?
 
Written By: kevin r
URL: http://
How else do you deal with fish in barrels, other than by shooting?
I wouldn’t waste the ammo, I’d just open the bung hole :) But it’s nice to know that Obama supports the right of the people to keep and bear tackle.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Does he even have a neck? He looks like a bobble head in that video!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
A couple things about Obama’s comments...

"Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community..."

Wait a minute. The "rights" identified in the Bill of Rights do NOT constrain the community. They constrain GOVERNMENT. I know it’s asking a lot, but Obama and the rest of the Senators need to actually READ the Bill of Rights.

Second, perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to allow citizens the opportunity to hunt and fish. Rather, I think the purpose, at least part of the purpose, was to make sure citizens had the ability to dispose of a government that no longer protected the rights given Man by God.

Where might I get such a ridiculous idea? From the following ridiculous document:

"...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Am I reading something into it that isn’t there?

—-John Johnson






 
Written By: John Johnson
URL: http://
"I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish,..."

I am exceedingly curious as to what type and caliber of gun Obama fishes with. Perhaps he combines fly fishing with skeet shooting. And there is, of course, the harpoon gun.


"How else do you deal with fish in barrels, other than by shooting?"

Liberal application of Alfred Nobel’s little invention.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Perhaps he combines fly fishing with skeet shooting.
It’s far more fun to combine surfing with skeet shooting.

Here’s the video



 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
“I believe that America’s free market has been the engine of America’s great progress. It’s created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It’s led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other’s success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.”
Obama

MAN - I really like this candidate! I bet he’s going to eliminate the corporate tax, lower capital gains, and reform the government to encourage private industry!

Then you read what his ideas are, and they are a long laundry list of nickel and dime tax refunds for this and that. Basically income redistribution with the R&D tax credit re-instated. Ho-hum.

“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.”
Winston Churchill

Obama seems to be of the milking variety.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Harun, what’s your problem with horses’ milk?

Anyway, isn’t the Supreme Court’s long established position that the right to bear arms can be restricted by regulation? Of automatic weapons for example?
I am exceedingly curious as to what type and caliber of gun Obama fishes with.
I believe 40mm works best.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Ha, funny comments. I especially like the opening clip to Top Secret.

On a more serious note, its interesting to observe just how good you guys have it wrt gun ownership.

In my line of work, I have to carry a lot of cash on a daily basis. In my view, I should have the right to carry a conceled handgun to protect my property. There is no way in Hell I will ever be allowed to carry a concealed weapon where I live....here in Canada.

Outside of law enforcement, gun owners here must have special permits (extremely hard to obtain) which allow them to carry their weapons to and from a shooting range (taking the most direct route possible, natch), and the gun must be locked away and unloaded.

Is this your future? I seriously doubt it because of the Second Amendment. I would love a northern version of your Second Amendment.

On a related note, I am starting to find the battle between the traditional left and right on gun and firearm ownership to be tiresome. Why don’t you challenge the Left to amend your Consitution to try to repeal the 2nd Amendment, rather than playing a never ending game of tiddly winks?
 
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
Anyway, isn’t the Supreme Court’s long established position that the right to bear arms can be restricted by regulation? Of automatic weapons for example?
In the Miller decision, it referenced Amyette, an 1840s Tenn. state case that argued that only weapons suitable for militia duty are protected.

Basically, "dirk, daggers" and similar weapons with no militia value can be prohibited. Read with strict interpretation, one might conclude that a "Ladysmith" revolver might not be protected, but a M249 SAW is protected.

I suspect that the court will allow some regulation (I think this case will simply confirm that it’s an individual right), but it is hard to see how it would justify bans on ordinary military weapons. The Amyette case has some weaknesses, and arguably doesn’t apply to a federal interpretation.

"The Supreme Court’s long established position" is a rather strong statement, since in fact Miller is a mushy decision, with (IMO) weak foundations.

And, as I pointed out, if we strickly follow Miller’s implications, it is likely that many military weapons will attain protected status while weapons that have only personal defense value will be subject for regulation.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Is this your future? I seriously doubt it because of the Second Amendment. I would love a northern version of your Second Amendment.
The 2nd helps, but in reality it is public opinion that matters. We also have a 10th Amendment that no one seems to know or care about, and it’s existence doesn’t seem to matter.
On a related note, I am starting to find the battle between the traditional left and right on gun and firearm ownership to be tiresome. Why don’t you challenge the Left to amend your Consitution to try to repeal the 2nd Amendment, rather than playing a never ending game of tiddly winks?
Well, first of all, they simply won’t go for it, because it would amount to admiting they are wrong—essentially, they would be admiting defeat. The way you get around constitutional restrictions is to ignore them. Like Jefferson with that big land purchase, and FDR did with so many things (that 10th Amendment I mentioned . . .).

The new 2nd case could end some of their rationalizations, however. It has the potential to significantly alter the politics of gun control in the US, IMO.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Oh, and Jasper, that challenge has been issued, and a few liberals seem to have realized that’s what it will take, and there’s no way it will happen. Most liberals are working the usual liberal tactic: We’ll get the courts to declare it illegal, so the govt can start the confiscation, and to Hell with what the Constitution says.... or meant when it was enacted.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://

 
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