The online commentary magazine Slate runs Doonesbury every day as one of their features. On the page, among other things, is a section titled "Say What?" This generally showcases something silly, disagreeable or contradictory that someone has said. The 29th of December features Senator Jim DeMint - a Republican from South Carolina.
"I never wanted to break the president."Gotcha, Senator DeMint! Or... maybe not. It's a pretty damning statement, on the face of things. While it's a safe bet that DeMint does, in fact, want "to break the president" (c'mon, he's a Republican - it's like saying that houseplants want water), it's worth keeping in mind that it for DeMint's August statement to make a liar out of him in December, you have to make an assumption that you can't support simply with the statements given.
-- Sen. Jim DeMint, 12/27/09
"If we're able to stop Obama on this [health care reform], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
-- Sen. Jim DeMint, 7/17/09
DeMint's August statement is simply an understanding of cause and effect - if A, then B. Yes, I know: "But," you're asking, "If DeMint is working to defeat health care reform, which he knows will 'break the president,' doesn't that mean that he wants the president to be broken?" If, and only if, you presume that opposition to health care reform is a means, not an end in itself. If that isn't true, "breaking" President Obama may just as easily be the unwanted consequence of a necessary action. And, of course, if defeating health care reform is an end in itself, then DeMint might simply not care about the consequences. With just the two statement to go on, you can't make that determination. (Personally, I agree with Jacob Weisberg - the Democrats are looking to buy votes with through government expansion, and the Republicans don't see the aided demographic translating into votes for them, and so are out to nix the deal.)
Partisan bickering is becoming the norm in general political discourse these days - that's nothing new. And one of things that goes along with it is an often shocking willingness to believe truly nasty things about the opposition. But I guess I still find it important to convict the guilty, rather than settle for framing them.