11 December 2008

There Are Only Three Successful Arguments In American Politics

1. God wants us to do this.

2. It's for the children.

3. This might lead to war.

(I would link to the Daily Duck piece that got me going down this track, but I can't reach the Daily Duck at the moment.)


Harry Eagar said...

'We must fix the potholes' has always been winner, at least since the gummint paved the roads.

Brit said...

What about: "Because they're out to get us"?

(or does that come under number 2?)

David said...

Harry: A really interesting one. It works a treat in local politics, but I don't think it ever works in national politics, perhaps because politicians seem compelled to call it "infrastructure."

Brit: Actually, that comes under number 3.

jim hamlen said...

What about all the hoary arguments for (not updating) SS and Medicare? Are they #1 or #2?

David said...

Number 1, although I admit that both sides try to make the argument (as they would, since there are only three successful arguments).

I particularly like this argument that Social Security violates the First Commandment because we are trusting in it rather than in G-d to take care of us in our old age. This is some weird time-space where wacko Fundamentalism meets far fringe Libertarianism.

Duck said...

#2 encompasses all nanny state programs. I'd say it applies more to old people than children, since the great majority of our taxes go to entitlements for the aged, but old people are like children, so it applies.

No politician has ever made a campaign pledge to cut spending on education. We always seem to think that we can't spend too much on it, it's one of those subjects for which extremism is not a vice.

erp said...

... old people are like children,...

Smile when you say that, pardner.

Harry Eagar said...

'No politician has ever made a campaign pledge to cut spending on education'

Except Reagan.

As for potholes, that one did have a national run, again with Reagan. It sticks in my mind particularly because after a hard winter, the administration and the Congress appropriated some huge amount to fix the potholes -- an intrusion on state rights if ever there was one -- and we in Hawaii got our share, having suffered through winter along with everybody else.