Thursday, October 02, 2008

Redefining "Gotcha"

Daniel Larison:

The classic ”gotcha” structure works something like this: “Governor, on such and such a day, you said that you supported X, but last week you said A, which many experts claim implies support for Y. Are you in favor of Y, and have you been misleading us all this time?” Say yes, and you’re a fraud; say no, and you’re an idiot. The questioner then sits back and watches the candidate tap dance his way out of the trap. The good dancers are considered competent, and the clumsy ones are considered unfit. There is some debate about whether this is useful, and there are reasons to find fault with it as a substitute for more serious questions, but on the whole it tends to keep pols on their toes and makes them slightly more accountable. But now we are declaring questions that are simply queries for information: “what do you think about X?” or “are there other Court rulings with which you disagree?” This is not a trick.
One day, I'd really like to read a book written by Larison -- whether about Byzantine history or American/global politics, I don't really care which.

No comments: