Gus Van Horn analyzes a Democrat bumper sticker that reads, “Remember New Orleans in ’08.”
Neither Bush nor Cheney will be involved in the ’08 election. It is unrealistic to think that their reaction to a hurricane in 2005 will provide mud that will stick to whomever is the Republican candidate. Why does the issue excite Democrats so?
Leonard Peikoff gave a speech called “A Picture Is Not An Argument.” Arguments require logic and abstract thought. They require propositions stated in grammatical sentences. Pictures require only emotional reactions with no rational context.
Katrina was a week of pictures that made Bush look bad. Even better, the pictures were of suffering African-Americans, an important part of the Democrat base. Pictures of suffering poor people is an issue Democrats can understand.
They are hoping that the American people will respond to the pictures with some fuzzy, emotionalist thinking that goes, “Poor black people suffered under a Republican President. All Republicans hate poor black people. Vote Democrat.”
You know what’s scary? I don’t think the Democrats are being cynical here. I think that’s about the level on which their minds typically work. Their political concepts have been formed in a sloppy, emotionalist way. They do not scrutinize their thinking with logic.
They can rally behind pictures; they can rally behind character assassination; logical, abstract argument is probably asking too much of them these days.