Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bill Bennett Schools Newt Gingrich over Paul Ryan Comments

Bill Bennett is a model of staunch but polite conservatism

Bill Bennett is a national treasure. He provides children and parents a world of humanities and history education with “The Book of Virtues” and the “America, The Last Best Hope,” definitive volumes of classical literature and American History.

In addition to being the rare beacon of conservatism and common sense on CNN, he is also the professor of morning talk radio. No bombast, no liberal bashing, just crystal clear logic and an honest, educational examination of the issues.  And he makes it fun.

I listen to him on the way to work in the morning, and it is refreshing to hear him address the issues of the day in a thoughtful, philosophical manner (he has a PhD in Philosophy as well as a law degree.) His application of logic is astringent and unbiased and he does it all with “Intelligence, Candor and Goodwill,” the watchwords of his show.

Newtered Gingrich

Dr. Bennett had Newt Gingrich on Tuesday morning, and he completely dismantled poor Newt over his stupid comments about Ryan’s budget plan. Please go listen to this segment to see how it’s done. No personal attacks, no shouting, just a merciless examination of what newt said.

You could hear Newt squirming, fumbling and backpedaling in the face of Bennett’s powerful onslaught. I have no sympathy for Newt, but it was still painful to listen to.

Newt starts out with the audacious claim that the Washington establishment is afraid of his candidacy, which is laughable since he is a member of said establishment.

The fun starts at the 3:40 point. Bennett confronts Newt with his exact language, asking why he attacked Ryan. Newt responds with a cloud of plaintive bluster, and Bennett becomes impatient and intones in his deep rumble, “Let’s play the tape.” Bennett focuses in on his phrase “Right-Wing Social Engineering,” and it’s all over for the blabbering egotistical blunderbuss; Newt’s a dead man walking at this point, and he doesn’t even know it.

"A False Equivalency"

He charges Gingrich with equating Ryan’s plan with Obamaism and asks why Newt is “shooting at him from the rear.”  Going on to point out that unlike Obama, Ryan has opened a dialog on his plan,  Bennett reduces Newt to a whiny, sputtering third grader caught by the principle shooting spitwads at the teacher

Bennett throws him a bone and appeals to his sense of ego, “You’re a brilliant man, an intellectual,” displaying a fatherly magnanimity while still not conceding one iota of his argument.

The fireworks are over at 8:15 with Newt reduced to bleating out some weak excuses, and effusive praise for Paul Ryan. Bennett let him up because there is no use in completely pulverizing your opponent. The facts stood for all to see, it was obvious. Bennett won in a knockout. He didn’t need to gloat.

After the break, Bill generously offers Newt advice on how to extricate himself, talking it through as a battered Newt smartly seizes the opportunity to perform a rhetorical climbdown. Bennett allows Newt to reclaim some dignity after the dressing down, switching to a matter-of-fact discussion of Newt's pre-canned talking points. Bennett then concludes by reinforcing his central point, that there is no equivalency between Ryan and Obama and that Newt need to explicitly make that clear. Newt is “yup, yupping” in the background as the segment closes, .

This is how an intelligent gentleman argues his case.  Bennett's  intellectual stare was withering and unblinking, but he remained polite and focused on the facts. Thank you Dr. Bennett for another stellar lesson in debate and argumentation.

Newt apologized to Ryan on Tuesday, but I still think he's toast.  Not just toast, but yesterday's toast.


Anonymous said...

I wish all debators would be so composed. Too often political debate becomes a shouting match, or a sound-bite square-off.

It's refreshing to have someone that actually disects an argument rather than just rolling out all the talking points.

Jersey McJones said...

The conservatives' fasicination with style never ceases to disappoint me.

Gingrich broke Reagan's 11th Commandment and so he's dead in the water now.

There is no room for dissention in the Republican party. Either you are with them 100% or you are against them. The GOP is waging a GWOT on itself. All your top candidates MUST move to the Hard Right to appease the TEA party, the Religious Right, and the police and military states, or they simply can not win the nomination.

And THAT is why you guys don't have ANY clear frontrunners for the 2012 election yet.

Gingrich was - was - right. The Ryan plan presents a radical social change. The elderly would no longer be secure in their healthcare. The more expensive the treatment, and the less ability they have to pay it, the more likely they would simply die. Meanwhile, the wealthy would pay the lowest taxes they've paid in the history of American income taxation.

It's an irresponsible, greedy, let's face it - just plain evil plan. You guys may as well put Satan himself on the ballot come 2012, because no sane, decent person could stand by this plan.


Silverfiddle said...

As usual, Jersey, you missed the point entirely.

Thank you for providing an excellent counter example to Bennett's coherence and keen focus on the issue at hand. You should have your own msnbc show.

Jersey McJones said...

Oh please, get your nose out of Bennett's rump. And that nonsense about his books being "definitive volumes of classical literature and American History." Sheesh. Give it a rest.

And just what "coherence and keen focus" are you talking about? He's a PHONY. A CON MAN. He always was.

You're just taking in by his demeanor. Making you a classic mark.


Anonymous said...

Right, and no one was taken in by Obama's demeanor.

Style counts, Jersey. If it didn't then Kennedy wouldn't have beat Nixon.

Silverfiddle said...

This post is about argumentation, logic and rhetoric, Jersey. I wouldn't expect you to understand it.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Put some jam on that toast too Silver..agreed!

Unknown said...

"And THAT is why you guys don't have ANY clear frontrunners for the 2012 election yet."
The clear front runner is anyone who appose's Obama record, on anything, the last 2 years.

Jersey McJones said...

Well, Mark, aside from Mitt Romney, who do you have?

Silver, Ryan's plan is stupid, and it's not going anywhere. It's purile rhetoric for the dopey masses.

As for Bennett, he's been sheepherding you guys for years. When will you realize it's just shtick for him? A way to make some money off the angry old white guy crowd.

What's really distrubing about all this is that the GOP is now too rightwing even for Newt Gingrich!


Silverfiddle said...

OK Jersey. I type very slowly and use small words as I break it down for you: The specific content does not matter to this post.

I am asking you, the reader, to listen to the conversation for the value of learning how to form an argument, marshal facts to defend your argument, and how to do it politely.

This is obviously lost on you.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem we're facing here is that Jersey knows that you're right, Silver.

Rather than concede that he was mistaken, he wants to argue some other points that have nothing to do with what you were trying to say in the first place.

Jersey, in college writing you're generally graded on form, content, AND style. Content means little if your style is ridiculous and horrible.

Silver's point for this whole post was not about the veracity of his argument, but rather the fact that instead of rolling out talking points, like so many people in politics do today, he actually analyzes and dissects the argument at hand.

I can sit here all day and tell you that freedom of choice is paramount, and that small government is the way to go, but what use would that be?

Stop ignoring what Silver has reminded you three times now.

Trekkie4Ever said...

Silver, clear logic. Spock would approve of Dr. Bennett. Seriously, this man is impressive. Many could learn from his wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that tape, Silver. I haven't listened to Bennet in at least 20 years. That was a treat. The man is like a surgen but instead of using scalples he uses words.

Z said...

Toast, huh? Well, he can be CrumBy :-)
Good for Bennet....I wish Ryan had said "I can't forgive him, that was a rotten thing to say and let's just move one!" :-)
Paul Ryan for president!
Maybe Newt can go sit next to Pelosi on some green bench?

By the way, a 'clear frontrunner' for me would be Jack the Ripper. Even HE couldn't have done quite this much damage in 2 1/2 years.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post, Silver … I enjoyed listening to the linked segment. I’m not quite as smooth around the edges as Brother Bennett is so I tend to think of Newt as an idiot. To me, this means that he is part of our problem, rather than part of the solution.

On Z’s point, it wouldn’t matter if Jack the Ripper became president. By now, most of us are used to government having its way with us; the most fortunate among us stock piled petroleum jelly years ago.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah Mustang, I lack Bennett's tact as well. That's probably why I admire it in him so much.

Finntann said...

Jersey, the point SF is making is the same point, and reason, why I no longer bother to watch or listen to interviews in the press which go something like this.

Announcer: Now we'll turn to Bill on why the sky is blue.

Bill: Well what we need to do is augment our baseline funding with increased revenues in order to fund our social agenda.

Announcer: Bill, the sky...

Bill: And when our revenue base improves, social services will improve in the inner cities...

Announcer: sky...

Bill: So as you can see our platform is a vast improvement over our opponents and....

Progressives... can't answer a simple question.

Oh, and Jersey... is any position other than your own a "hard right" position? At least in my experience the Tea Party movement is a conservative libertarian movement than a hard right one. But honestly I'd rather go hard right than any further left.

Anonymous said...

Jersey Newt was never right wing, he is just a typical politician who will say anything to get elected.

Always On Watch said...

Yet more evidence that Gingrich isn't a viable candidate for the Presidency.

Gingrich should stick with his think tanks, where he has lots of yes men to make him feel comfortable.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hero . . May I put in a word for a disappointed guy? Newt is obviously very bright, his personality is forceful, and he's a debating champ. He is the probably ONLY candidate with the ability to put Obama under the bus. But - Newt seems to have designed the model for greedy, arrogant, and unfaithful politicians.

As for Bennett, ain't he smooth and slippery. He makes a lot of sense once in a while, but then he looses it in the gambling den late at night. The guy has a problem there.