Saturday, April 03, 2004

FACT: Kerry supported a 50-cent gas tax increase

The DBunker section of John Kerry’s website is a maddening showcase of logical fallacies and rhetorical dishonesty. Perhaps this is a reflection of the candidate, but “debunking” implies using fact and intellectual argument to rebut a charge. DBunker, on the other hand, descends into the playground argot of “No he didn’t!”

Take the certified fact that in 1994, John Kerry wrote the Boston Globe expressing his support for a 50-cent increase in the gas tax – a fact that was recalled in a recent Boston Globe editorial:

DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate John Kerry is stepping gingerly away from a proposal he floated several years ago to raise the federal gasoline tax by 50 cents. With average prices at the pump spiking at $1.73 per gallon and President Bush mocking the idea at campaign rallies, Kerry has been quick to note that he never voted for any such tax and upon reflection thinks it is a bad idea.

But according to DBunker, when the Bush people point this out, they’re lying because Kerry never sponsored or voted for a bill to raise the gas tax:

BUSH FICTION: Bush Ad: Kerry “supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax.”
FACT: John Kerry has never sponsored or voted for a 50 cent gas tax increase.

This bait-and-switch (flip-flop?) may be interpreted as a “Straw Man” fallacy where one argues a whole different subject than the one at hand. The allegation here is that Kerry “supported a gas tax” and it’s not fiction – it’s fact. Arguing that he didn’t sponsor a bill is entirely aside the point and does nothing to “debunk” the rap against Kerry.

If America can’t trust John Kerry to own up to his past statements (or as a minimum, admit that he made them), how can we trust him with the Presidency? We can’t.

[Cross-posted at Blogs for Bush]

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