Straw Man on the Acela Express
I was meant to take a Bolt Bus from Boston to New York today, but because the bus was canceled, I had to take the next train instead--which happened to be the Acela Express, probably Amtrak's only successful route.
The man behind me was having a long, loud conversation with a friend about conservative Republican opposition to Obamacare. "These people are insane," was his repeated refrain.
The proof of our "insanity" was an endless series of straw men, evidently arguments offered during a debate with some student somewhere, who didn't know enough facts or history to make his case properly.
"He said Democrats caused their own shutdown during Bush. I said, no--that was Republicans with Clinton!"
"He said that Obamacare forces you to leave your doctor. I asked him where he heard that. He said 'everyone knows it.' I said that the first time I'd heard it was this morning, ha ha."
And so on.
Each of the bad arguments is a version of a true argument that the student might have been trying to remember--i.e. that Democrats voted against the debt ceiling during Bush's presidency, or that Obamacare is forcing--by effect, not by statute--many people out of their current health insurance plan.
But it's easier to beat silly mistakes than deal with the reality of Obamacare's failure.
Another depressing experience within the hermeneutic circle of the American left.