Daily Archives: April 1, 2011

Ruth Marcus is right that Obama relies far too much on the rhetorical device of the “false choice”. He’s made it a cliché. Obama’s speciality, she says, is the false false choice:

Set up two unacceptable extremes that no one is seriously advocating and position yourself as the champion of the reasonable middle ground between these unidentified straw men.

Thus, Obama on health care, stretching back to the presidential campaign: “I reject the tired old debate that says we have to choose between two extremes: government-run health care with higher taxes – or insurance companies without rules denying people coverage,” he said in 2008. “That’s a false choice.” It’s also a choice that no one – certainly no other politician – was proposing.

She helpfully identifies two other varieties: the false choice that is not in fact a false choice but a real choice that is difficult (for instance, what to do in Libya); and, a Republican favorite, the false choice that is mere wishful thinking (as in, we do not have to choose between tax cuts and deficit reduction, because we can have both).

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

Comment: To comment, please register with FT.com. Register for free here. Please also read the FT's comments policy here.
Time: UK time is shown on Clive's posts.
Follow the blog: Links to the Twitter and RSS feeds are at the top of the blog.
Schedule: Clive's column appears in the FT on Mondays and you can read an excerpt of it on this blog.
FT blogs: See the full range of the FT's blogs here.

Archive

« Mar May »April 2011
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930