Saturday, May 9, 2009

Moving in on Specter has sent out a series of targeted videos to residents of states in which Democratic Senators who voted against the mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy reforms are vulnerable to primary challengers.

This is an interesting use of Internet video political argument, whichever side of the issue you are on, and it is additionally interesting that MoveOn includes on the web site where the video is displayed a script for the ad with accompanying documentation of each factual claim. Of course that documentation is itself vulnerable to argument, but at least this approach opens up the typical 30-second spot by making itself accessible to debate, in principle.

Specter is getting it from both sides these days, first for his "disloyalty" in voting against some measures the Congressional Republicans were for, then the reverse, then switching parties -- and immediately announcing his intention to be something more complicated than a "loyal" Democrat. He does his best to represent this as sticking to his principles, and there is evidence for that; his detractors argue that he is just stubborn, vain, and unpredictable, all in support of his own interests, and there is evidence for that view.

Principle or mulish stubbornness?

Loyalty or independent judgment?

Pragmatism or mere self interest?

These appear to be the rhetorical topoi at work in the rhetoric about Specter and about the Congressional Republicans.

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