Truth is, however: rhetoric matters to me. How well our leaders express themselves, their ideas and arguments, should matter to all of us. This is not about mastery of the English language, or any language for that matter. This is about logical consistency when presenting your 'case' to the people; and about avoiding logical fallacies... especially when you're the President of the United States of America.
So what's the problem?
Speaking outside the White House on August 21, 2009 (my sister's birthday!), President Obama soberly stated concerning national healthcare reform:
"... it also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are." (NPR)
The problem is that President Obama, I'm afraid, is himself guilty of "willful misrepresentations and outright distortions" when addressing supporters concerning his (many) healthcare opponents.
There aren't really millions of dissenting American voices, that's just "all the chatter and the yelling and the shouting and the noise" (AP), according to the President.
The problem, President Obama says, is really that the "special interests fight back with everything they've got. They use their influence. They run their ads. They use their political allies to scare the American people" (Big Sky Weekly). But... all these ruckus-raising town hall meetings and protests you keep hearing and reading about, aren't filled with special interest reps... they're filled with average-Joe 'American people.'
My personal fav, though, is when Obama spits out some genius fluff like, "for all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary – what is truly risky – is if we do nothing. If we keep the system the way it is right now" (Big Sky Weekly). So there you go. His opponents - by clear implication here - simply want to maintain the status quo. They want NO change in the healthcare industry.
I'm sorry, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Equating opposition to socialized healthcare with opposing change of any kind is a complete fallacy (you logicians out there will recognize this as a "false dichotomy"). In simpler terms: just because someone opposes Obama's specific plan does not mean that they oppose change of all sorts; nor does opposition, in and of itself, warrant the label of "scare tactic." These notions are simply ridiculous, and **should** be beneath someone of President Obama's education and office.
Is it possible that there are other solutions, apart from socializing the industry? You wouldn't think so, listening to the President; but (unconstitutional) government intrusion rarely helps an industry. Many understand this, and push for change, but through more (fully) free-market solutions (click here to watch a brief Ron Paul blurb on the subject).
Donny Ferguson, the Libertarian National Committee spokesman, has even stated, "Instead of using official edicts to smear, slander and intimidate everyday Americans into silence, Democrats should listen to the majority of Americans and drop their plans for a radical government takeover of their health care" (LP.org).
In closing, if the President truly wants an "honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions," then perhaps he should work on setting a much better example...