Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Joy of Debate

I'm mostly posting this because it seems a shame to waste all this research.

So, a friend posted the following picture on the Ragebooks:

I commented asking why? The response was short and sweet: because she's as worthless as Obama.

Cueing the facepalms, I responded with the following:

You mean the Obama who's cut the deficit by more than half, presided over record breaking job and stock market growth, increased domestic oil production to levels that have dropped gasoline prices in half, and dropped the unemployment rate to near pre-recession levels?

The president who successfully pulled out of Iraq, is overseeing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and is on the brink of negotiating a successful nuclear disarmament treaty with Iran?

Or perhaps we're talking about the Obama who has advanced the cause of human rights on several fronts, and is working for wage equality against the opposition of a party that frequently fights him even if it makes no sense to do so and against his own party (who disavow his accomplishments to avoid the massive partisan infighting caused by the Republicans)?

The same Obama that tried to give healthcare to everyone and who only failed after multiple concentrated attacks by the Republican party gutted the bill so they could blame him when it failed?

You know...the successful president that everyone hates for no reason? That Obama?"

My friend immediately deferred the argument to their significant other.  

A friend of theirs also commented, saying I'd "drunk the kool-aid."

I challenged that person to provide a substantive argument, and received the following:

So your saying that Obama has successfully pulled us out of Iraq and in doing so opened a vacuum allowing Isis to reclaim key cities that we had soldiers fight qnd die for. We're also trying to withdraw form Afghanistan and Isis is already looking to recruit once we leave. Iran is looking to develop a nuclear weapon , not disarm. Over 18.2 trillion in debt.  Over 92 million Americans out of the workforce.  More people on food stamps then full time jobs. Obamacare is a disaster.  The whole middle east is burning and Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of war. Yeah the stock market looks great and im sure Detroit thinks so too .

Seeing as I am an obsessive researcher, I spent two hours looking into their claims, and produced the following tract:

"So your saying that Obama has successfully pulled us out of Iraq and in doing so opened a vacuum allowing Isis to reclaim key cities that we had soldiers fight qnd die for. We're also trying to withdraw form Afghanistan and Isis is already looking to recruit once we leave."

I'm not entirely certain where you're going with this. Are you saying that, despite widespread public condemnation and heavy pressure from Congress, we should have continued to keep forces in Iraq and Afghanistan at war readiness levels on the off chance the region could destabilize?

Or are you saying that the White House should have predicted the sudden massive growth of ISIL/ISIS when the entire US intelligence community has consistently failed to track and predict the group to begin with?

"Iran is looking to develop a nuclear weapon, not disarm."

That has historically been the case. I'm not arguing that. I am saying the Obama's administration has come closer to getting them to back down than at any other time since they began their program. Further, the deal, as it is being negotiated, will give us up to a year of lead time to slap them back down if they violate the agreement.

Unless, of course, you believe that simply continuing to strangle their economy in the hopes that they won't simply build a bomb anyway and use that capacity to fund their broken economy is a better option.

"Over 18.2 trillion in debt."  

Yup. Hey, guess where 50% of that added debt comes from? Entitlements. See point below, please.

"Over 92 million Americans out of the workforce."

Negatory, good buddy. 21 mil are out for various reasons. 70 mil retired or left the workforce permanently. know, it seems that 70 million people retiring would cause increases in Social Security, elderly aid programs, Medicare... It also seems that the recession would increase dependency on aid programs. But that's the next point.

"More people on food stamps then full time jobs."

Go have a read over that. I think it might interest you to know that those numbers compare total full time workers to number of households receiving aid in any way. Also, somewhere around half of those recipients are children. So unless you want to add children and the elderly to the labor pool, those numbers are going to be off when compared that way.

Oh, and bonus: 23% of households with a full time income are receiving benefits of some kind. 28% of working adults receive Medicaid. And 60% of working age, non-disable food stamps recipients are employed while drawing benefits.

Basically, no. The only way to get that number is to overgeneralize massively.

"Obamacare is a disaster."

Not really, no. See, there's been massive gains in insured individuals amongst historically underprivileged groups. Also, the biggest determiner of whether or not the ACA helped a person was what state they lived in. IN states that already had progressive insurance policies, there was little improvement because insurance was already ok there. In states where there was a mass gap, there was a huge surge in the number of uninsured folks.

Unfortunately, as you can see by looking at the map at the very bottom of my support article, the states that needed it most fought the ACA, resulting in a higher number of uninsured in those states.  

This, by the by, supports my claim that the ACA would have produced greater benefits had the Republicans, and more specifically Republican controlled states, not fought to gut the bill. Here in Oklahoma, despite Mary Fallon refusing...I'd have to check, but I believe it was a few million dollars to create a state health exchange (the existence of which, if you'll read the article below, is the greatest indicator of the ACA's success) it is still generally believed that the ACA failed on it's own merits.

"The whole middle east is burning"

The Middle East has been burning for hundreds of years. I'd like to remind you that Bush, Sr. and GW Bush both started massive destabilizing wars in the Middle East, whereas Obama has at least tried to step back from a wartime platform. The fact that, as Cards Against Humanity would put it, "The complex geopolitical quagmire that is the Middle East" exploded the second we stopped bombing the bejeezus out of it/maintaining troops on the ground isn't anyone's fault. Again, the ENTIRE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY failed to spot ISIL/ISIS.

"and Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of war."

Sooo...Putin is Obama's fault how? I mean, seriously, have you looked Putin up recently? He wants to return to the USSR Motherland! All of Europe, every political force allied with the EU and the US are fighting to push Russia back in line, and short of outright warfare with one of the largest nuclear and economic powers on Earth, that's going to come down to Putin, not Obama.

"Yeah the stock market looks great and im sure Detroit thinks so too ."

Why yes the stock market does look great. I'm not sure what that has to do with Detroit. Detroit collapsed due to a number of factors, including the Recession (which Bush oversaw, just to clear that up) financial mismanagement, corruption, industrial collapse, population erosion, urban decay...Not  single bit of which has anything to do with Obama. Or, in fact, the stock market. Unless you're arguing that the stock market recovery after the recession should have somehow magically reversed the decades of decline Detroit had experienced?

So, at the end of Much of your argument is propaganda that doesn't hold up under closer inspection, or ("Iran") is simply facts stated without any actual argument attached. The one point that does hold up, the increase in the debt, fails to account for the massive increase in retiring and retired individuals drawing on entitlement benefits due to the Baby Boomer generation hitting that age. Since the president can't be held accountable for old age, I'm not sure how you'd like to see that number changed.

And just for funsies, given where this discussion started: guess who the last president was that presided over a simultaneous drop in the deficit and debt?

Oh, look. It was Clinton.

Alright, so the last dig was rude. Now, the OP had asked us not to have arguments on her timeline, so I sent Poster 2, whom I'll call Kool-Aid, the above tract through FB messaging, as well as a friend request, and an offer to continue the discussion in a public forum if they'd prefer. Their timeline or mine, I was up for either.

Surprisingly, the friend request was accepted. Utterly unsurprisingly, I received the following just minutes later.

Sorry I really don't have the time or patience to answer that huge response you sent in my messenger.  Personally I wasn't going to accept your request because i didn't want to hear you comment on everything I post . I'm conservative so I'm never going to see eye to eye with you and I don't spend that much time looking things up on the internet.  I took a chance by sending you a request and I got back what I expected.

So, yeah. That ended essentially the same as every debate I've ever tried to have with a conservative, save one (I got into a debate with a friend's aunt on the Ragebooks and I ended up losing my temper and descending into namecalling. It was totally my bad on that one.)

Why won't anyone argue with me? I mean seriously, I'm not that much of a research and logic god. I make mistakes, I fall into logical fallacies. While I doubt you're going to change your mind, if you can provide a decent argument backed by sources that are at least moderately unbiased, I'll happily concede your point.

And yet, I cannot find a conservative who'll friggin' debate.

Oh, yeah, the OP's significant other? They posted and said that while we both seemed to have posted valid arguments, he wasn't going to join the debate because it was moot: obviously, Obama is going to find some way around the term limits!

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