The Dangers of Stupid Talking Points

|

The pro-war catch phrase "cut and run," deployed readily against Democrats and Lincoln Chafees far and wide, has a flaw: It sounds really stupid when you fling it at a double amputee.

During an election debate at the weekend in the outskirts of Chicago, Peter Roskam, the Republican candidate for Illinois's sixth district, trotted out the familiar line that his Democratic opponent wanted America to "cut and run" from Iraq.

His opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a former National Guard pilot who lost both her legs in Iraq last year when her helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, was visibly angry at the exchange. "I just could not believe he would say that to me," said Ms Duckworth, who now walks on artificial legs with the help of a cane.

I've always figured pro-war candidates would be better off evoking images of the fall of Saigon than repeating a catch phrase so dumb it was thought up by George W. Bush. But now that Roskam's made his bed (tell me he doesn't have back problems and I just insulted him), what should he say next?

"My opponent jumps with joy whenever insurgents launch a successful attack on our troops."

"My opponent wants to dance the tango with Osama bin Laden, and I won't allow her to."

"My opponent only wishes she, too, was an illegal immigrant, so she could sprint across our unguarded border with them."

"My opponent's a cripple. Ha!"

NEXT: "I Don't Want Money. I Want Trade Agreements"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “My advisors tell me my opponent lost her legs while flip-flopping from a helicopter.”

  2. Would have us all be sitting ducks spinning our wheels and rolling in the mire of ill-formed opinion?

    Spiro T., where are you when we need you?

  3. M – Contest over. You win.

  4. My opponent has been out stumping, using the same tired, wooden cliches we’ve heard a thousand times before. She believes that we can walk away from the people of Iraq, but I say that idea will never gain a foothold with me. That is, after all, why I am running; I do not want to see our nation wounded by jack-legged solutions to the Iraq situation.

    Lord, I apologize…

  5. Let’s not forget the venerable “doesn’t have a leg to stand on” even if the contest is already over.

  6. I’ll sweep the legs out from under my opponent this november.

    OR

    My opponent has two obstacles to gaining access to the office she seeks: 1) my brilliant campaigning, 2) stairs.

  7. Standing with our troops.

    Lame excuses.

    That’s all I got.

  8. Seeing as how Roskam is a Republican, I imagine we’ll be seeing him and his staffers wearing band-aids on their knees.

    I know a guy who’s brother used to work at Sikorsky in the 1980s, and said that Duckworth was never really hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

  9. Her policies would cost an arm and a leg and force us out on a limb, only to end up running with our tails between our legs.

  10. I know a guy who’s brother used to work at Sikorsky in the 1980s, and said that Duckworth was never really hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

    Care to enlighten us as to what supposedly really happened to her legs?

  11. “Care to enlighten us as to what supposedly really happened to her legs?”

    I’m pretty sure joe was kidding (especially given that she lost her legs far more recently than the 1980s).

  12. I heard she shot off her own legs. She was planning on running for office you see.

  13. See, the doctor who treated her only saw a scratch on her calf, but she wanted to apply for a Purple Heart, so she could get out of duty faster. He got so frustrated with her that he said, “Fine, write whatever you want,” and she filled in “Double amputation.”

  14. thanks for the heads up, SR. Sometimes joe’s humor is a little obscure.

  15. And the referee signals- penalty kick!

  16. much better, joe…kerry allusion. Got it!

    Incidentally, I’ve noticed not a lot of new injured war veterans coming out as republicans these day. Think there’s something to that?

  17. He should ask John Callahan for some advice on topping himself.

  18. Roskam and Duckworth website links

    http://www.roskamforcongress.com/

    If you’d like to leave him a “love note”.

    http://216.122.175.167/index.asp

    If you’d like leave her some cash or volunteer.

  19. If Roskam uses dirty tricks to steal the election and Duckworth sues for a recount, I can imagine him telling the court, “Your Honor, you must deny her request. She doesn’t have a leg to stand on!”

  20. INTERVIEWER: Ms. Duckworth…now that you’ve won the election, what will be your first move.

    DUCKWORTH: (shrugs) I’m stumped.

  21. INTERVIEWER: Ms. Duckworth…now that you’ve won the election, what will be your first move.

    DUCKWORTH: (shrugs) I’m stumped.

    INTERVIEWER: Oh. No more questions.

    DUCKWORTH: Good. (to aide) Let’s roll.

  22. wow, lets hand over the reigns of power to pilosi becouse a republican mispoke and with great effort of missinterpretation you might consider it anti-cripple…friggin briliant…this one is almost as good as vote democrat becosue republicans are minipulating oil prices to win the elcetion this november.

    Democrats: worse opposition party ever!!

  23. I forget: can we go to Hell for mocking the differently appendaged?

  24. I’ve been stunned at how “cut and run” has resonated with the hawks. I guess now it means; cut our losses and run away. Before GWB uttered it, that phrase was used to describe an offensive strategy. Used against a superior opponent, cut and run referred to making small “cuts”, harassing the enemy with fast raids and ambushes, and running away to disappear into the country side before they could strike back. Indeed, “Cut and run” is an apt description the Iraqi insurgency, with their ever more sophisticated use of IEDs (at what point do we stop calling them “improvised”?). A means of waging a war of attrition, even when out numbered and out gunned.

    It was a real head scratcher when Bush applied the phrase to his detractors. Like I said, I was surprised at how well it went over. But then again I’ve never understood why “now that we’re in this hole, we’ve got to keep digging” arguments always seem to win the day anyhow.

  25. At least he didn’t call her Consuelo.

  26. I forget: can we go to Hell for mocking the differently appendaged?

    Yes, the special hell.

  27. Need I point out that Ann Coulter writes bookfuls of stupid shit like this and they’re all best-sellers. Several political talk hosts on radio and TV have built their entire careers around this kind of silliness and they’re all better paid than I.
    The bottom line: stupid as it may be, it’s what a lot of people apparently want to hear. That’s the real tragedy.

  28. Now all that’s needed is for her to say “I dare you to look me in the eye and accuse me of cutting and running when you know damn well I don’t have any legs left to run with!”

  29. I’m hitting and running here, true to form. But let us not forget the performance of the Congressperson from Sinincincinnati, Jeannie Schmidt, whose lambasting of the decorated Marine, Murtha, was so choice it was parodied on Saturday Night Live.
    She was newly elected then, and has continued down, down, down into that burning ring of fire since.

  30. “I’ve always figured pro-war candidates would be better off evoking images of the fall of Saigon than repeating a catch phrase so dumb it was thought up by George W. Bush.”

    I’m a big critic of George W. Bush. I’ve called him incompetent on these pages maybe hundreds of times. I think I’ve made a pretty good case for doing that. I’m also a big fan of Hit & Run. …partly because contributers here (and a good many commenters) don’t stoop so.

    I’ve been quick to ride those who moan about bias in the media.

    Around here, I don’t usually feel like I have to qualify my comments by saying that I’m a critic of the Bush Administration, etc. …and I’d hate it if I felt like I had to start doing that–on any side of any given argument. …all that talk about Bush bashing–I have loved making fun of those people. You wouldn’t take that away from us, would you?

    I felt like I had to say all that so maybe you wouldn’t dismiss the following .

    …The statement I quoted above doesn’t live up to the brand Hit & Run has made for itself.

  31. Bush should have said hit and run. Can we photoshop that in?

  32. “My opponent and her footloose ways …”

  33. Playing the race card.

  34. “Spending is out of control. The people need someone who can put their foot down on this issue.”

  35. Well it looks like the republicans had shot themselves in the foot (no pun here) with their catchy phrase, as they’re preparing for a cut-and-run by reducing the number of troops.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.