Obama’s Misleading “Logic”

President Obama recently took House Minority Leader, John Boehner, to task for saying the pending overhaul of the country’s financial system is like using an atomic bomb to kill an ant. He did so by saying that Boehner was comparing the “financial crisis” to an ant. That is to suggest that Boehner was minimizing the financial problems the country is facing. This was slipshod reasoning by the President.

The old SAT used to plague students with verbal analogies in which they were asked to solve a problem like this:

A is to B as C is to _?__(choose from the following)1. C, 2. D, 3. E, 4 F, or 5. none of the above. The most common source of error is to compare B to whatever might appear to fit into the blank.

Back to the point. Boehner’s analogy did not, as the President indicated, compare the “financial crisis” (B) to an ant (blank). It was comparing the relationship between and A and B to the relationship between C and __?_ . In other words, passage of the pending overhaul legislation relates to the “financial crisis” in the same way that exploding an atomic bomb would relate to an ant. It’s the relationships that are being compared.

If you have followed me so far, you are doing better than the President, a former law professor who should know better. He probably does, of course, and chose rather to distort what Boehner was saying. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Dwight Boud

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