Playing the trump

A recent incident involving Georgia congresswomen Cynthia McKinney (She punched a cop when he tried to stop her from bypassing the metal detector) brought to my attention a method used by politicians/pundits when taking responsibility for their actions isn’t an option, playing the trump. In this case McKinney played a very powerful card:

“I don’t understand exactly why it is that certain police officers have a problem remembering my face,” McKinney said, noting that she is one of 14 black women among the 535 members of Congress. “The issue is racial profiling, and that’s something that we’re going to have to deal with as a country.” (CNN.com)

McKinney, like every other politician busted for doing something stupid, deflects the discussion about her to the face value of the trump. In this situation it was the “Race” card. After showing her hand McKinney was able to avoid inquiries concerning the incident and lay blame on the other person at the same time. BRILLIANT!

It seems to me that every party and most pundits/politicians carry these political trump cards at the ready to throw down whenever they are backed into a corner or have nothing else to contribute to a debate.

For example, President Bush throws his trump cards around like he was playing “52 pickup” at every news conference and “town hall” meeting. Question his executive authorities? BAM!! He slams The “War on Terror” card IN YOUR FACE! Can’t answer a domestic question? FLICK!! The “Economy” card flutters down from the podium into the clapping hands of his unquestioning followers.

The Democrats are the same, whipping out their “Katrina” and “Abramoff” cards to squelch criticism or draw attention away from their lack of direction on key issues.

The decks are stacked in both parties and all we ever see is one side trying to out-trump the other and who knows what they have up their sleeves.

To me the trump cards are nothing more than “dodge and weave” talking-points that I personally detest and would like to avoid using myself. So my question to everyone is, what are the Libertarian trump cards? Are there any? What catchphrase do you hear Libertarians use when they hit a snag in their argument or aren’t knowledgeable enough to debate a particular topic?

If the Libertarian trump cards are out there, put them on the table so I can discard them from future discussions… the last thing I want to do is deal a potential party member a bunch of crap. They get enough bluffing already…

posted by mikehorn
  • Stephen Gordon

    Good point of view on the McKinney issue. I’ll have to ponder your trump card issue a bit.

  • Graham

    How about the “Sheeple/I’m a Libertarian so I am one of the top less than 1% of the population intelligent enough to know I am always right and since you disagree you must be too stupid/communist/collectivist/religious/went to public school/etc” cards. Maybe that doesnt quite fit, but
    Libertarians have a lot of practice deflecting and turning around criticism with those who disagree.

  • GreginOz

    What catchphrase do you hear Libertarians use when they hit a snag in their argument or aren’t knowledgeable enough to debate a particular topic? Welladay, I certainly think this motto from the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ fits the bill – “People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people”.
    On McKinney, given that congress is legs akimbo over the Pat-RIOT (sic) Act, perhaps they should ALL be subjected to the same indignities that the common man must suffer? Oh, & PS Graham, you ARE a moron. Supid IS stupid, communism IS a joke, collectivism see previous comment, FundeMENTALs of all stripes are akin to flat-earthers and if you believe in public education, good lord why do we bother…? Regards.:-)

  • Andy

    I suspect that McKinney was being harrassed because she’s been one of the biggest critics of the Bush administration in Congress and she’s also been the only person in Congress to question the official government story about 9/11. I’ve actually met Cynthia McKinney in person and she seemed pretty cool and didn’t strike me as the type of person who’d physically attack somebody.

  • IanC

    I have to agree somewhat in this perspective — I’ve heard far too many complaints about “brownshirts.”

    Mainly, however, the greatest “card” I see used consistently isn’t any specific item. It’s more a stance. As soon as anyone questions the positions of some other person, said person far, far too often assaults the character of the individual.
    A)
    “Since I’m an anarchist, I think deed restrictions should replace government zoning immediately!”

    B)
    “You’re wrong! Deed restrictions *can’t* solve problems like airspace zoning, and would require a government to arbitrate disbutes!”

    A)
    “You’re no libertarian, you’re a goobmint apologist brownshirt! A *true* libertarian wouldn’t believe that faceitous incrementalist crap!”

    B)
    “But… what about the problems like airspace zoning?”

    … extremist, but I just watched something similar occur.

  • Richard Gibson

    “Government cannot do anything right”

    “The free market will handle that”

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    An immediate fallback to the market as a solution to everything is the one I see most often, usually combined with an inability to acknowledge any government program that works (part of the Browne legacy).

  • msc

    Very insightful post. I’m going to start watching for these more.

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  • Devious David

    So… what government programs work?

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Interstate Highway system. Postal Service. Census Bureau.

    You can argue all day long about how private alternatives might work better or that the programs ought not exist, but they do exist and they do work.

  • http://gwyoungii.blogspot.com Greg

    “Privatize _______” (insert your choice of socialist programs)

    I am guilty of using this one, ALOT. People are usually astonished when I say things like “public schools should be owned by businesses, and not be controlled by the government.”