Irony

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Today Rio won the Olympics bid. The media narrative has taken a variety of positions as a response:

1. Why would Obama risk support?
2. What is the meaning of the right wing response?
3. What does the loss mean in the context of America’s standing in the world?

None of this makes much sense in logical terms. In Connecticut, I wonder what I might about know about the credibility of Chicago’s bid? Or even Rio’s? All of this I would leave to the judgement criteria of the Committee, as I would know very little about how to determine why it does or doesn’t make sense.

Today, Rep John Boehner issues this statement:

Instead of coming to their senses, Democrats are pressing ahead with, among other costly proposals, a national energy tax and a government takeover of health care. Make no mistake, these initiatives would destroy jobs and place additional burdens on working families and small businesses.

We have some knowledge about how complicated opinion is. It’s also pretty clear that the above is crass distortion, as, by definition, a public option is not a government takeover and that to suggest “regulation” as a takeover principle would be to suggest that the government has already taken over bottling and tobacco companies. In addition, there’s also the charge that Democrats are “senseless” and that counter-positions are a “mistake.” Yet, earlier in the statement, Boehner asks that Democrats act in a more bipartisan fashion, which may be impossible to do if one is “senseless,” meaning unable to feel or irrational. I’ve argued before that the language of politics is a language of irony, meaning that what Boehner says out loud suggests an opposite truth, value, or imperative.

It doesn’t take that much work–a few seconds–to wave rhetorical illogic away.


One response to “Irony”

  1. Josh says:

    “I’ve argued before that the language of politics is a language of irony, meaning that what Boehner says out loud suggests an opposite truth, value, or imperative.”

    I agree.

    When a Democrat says “bi-partisanship” what they really mean is “We need as many Republicans as possible so that we can bring them down with us if/when the voters reject our law-making.”

    When a Republican says “bi-partisanship” what they really mean is “How can I compromise my principles so that the other side of the aisle and the media will like me.”