At the end of my “Is Barack Obama evil” post, I issued this warning:
Conservatives devalue their arguments against Obama’s policy if they start throwing the word “evil” around. While that may work with the converted, it frightens the vast middle. Rather than looking like wise men (and women) with a better plan, conservatives start looking like wild-eyed street corner prophets. We may be right, but no one will listen.
One of the most important things young lawyers learn (or, at least, should learn), is not to use ad hominem attacks against opposing counsel. If your opposing counsel is indeed dishonest (which is usually the direction ad attacks take), you get much further with the Court if you provide proof of that dishonesty, and then let the Court draw the obvious conclusion itself. Calling opposing counsel names denies the Court the necessary proof and merely makes you look bad.
In our discussions about Obama and the Democrats, we should make sure that we lead our readers to the truth. Let them draw the ultimate negative conclusions. As Socrates knew, a lesson is always learned better if the student has his own epiphany, rather than having a point, no matter how good it is, forced down his throat.
I’m not the only one sounding this tocsin. David Horowitz makes the same point:
Conservatives, please. Let’s not duplicate the manias of the Left as we figure out how to deal with Mr. Obama. He is not exactly the anti-Christ, although a disturbing number of people on the Right are convinced he is.
In other words, while it’s reasonable to be unhappy with a Democratic administration and even concerned because the Democrats are now a socialist party in the European sense, we are not witnessing the coming of the anti-Christ. A good strategy for political conflicts is to understand your opponent first – not to underestimate him, but not to overestimate him either.
The beauty of our democracy is that we can ride Obama hard for what we perceive as his failings. We must keep him in perspective, however, so that don’t weaken either our power or our credibility, both of which we’ll need as we pick our battles in the ordinary fights of a two party system.