Monday, February 1, 2016

Hillary Talks But Never Says Anything

Hillary Clinton is well-known for her ability to circumvent giving direct answers. She talks a lot, but never really says anything substantial in her responses during the Democratic debates. A telling example of her using a logical fallacy to avert the answer to a tough question occurred during the debate on October 13th on CNN when Anderson Cooper asked, "You are going to be testifying before Congress next week about your e-mails. For the last eight months, you haven't been able to put this issue behind you. You dismissed it; you joked about it; you called it a mistake. What does that say about your ability to handle far more challenging crises as president?" This issue is raised time and time again, and seems detrimental to her campaign. Many voters have misgivings about her candidacy solely because of this issue that she consistently avoids or lies about.

Her response was, instead of addressing her handling of the situation, "Let's just take a minute here and point out that this committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that's what they have attempted to do." This reply is a glaring example of an ad hominem logical fallacy; she evaded the charges by attacking a group instead of the position they are holding. Yes, the Republicans are, for political purposes, publicizing this crisis more than necessary, but that does not make their claims inherently false. She never addresses the issue directly, instead she implies that because the crisis is part of a Republican agenda, the case against her must be unsound.

This argument works well for Clinton because, although it is a logical fallacy, her argument is valid. It speaks to the polarized politics of the 21st century, and McCarthy himself admitted, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.” Although McCarthy clearly thought his actions were more noble than Clinton's perception of the committee, her statement during the debate cannot be disputed. However, Clinton used the partisan argument for the wrong question; she did not need to attack McCarthy's intentions in order to explain to the public how, after all of the scandals of the Clinton family, she can still be a capable, respectable leader.


  1. The logical fallacy you chose to discuss is very clear and your explanation about how it is successful makes a lot of sense. Hillary has been under fire a lot throughout this campaign for some of her actions and it seems that she must rely on logical fallacies to battle a lot of these accusations.

  2. I agree with your argument of Clinton's use of logical fallacies. Her use of ad hominem definitely was an opportunity for her to put aside the scandal and focus on appealing to more voters.

  3. This is smart and well written. I agree that Clinton has a particular, somewhat excessive fondness of Ad Hominem, although I think you could also make an argument in this case for Non Sequitur. Regardless, you do a great job of conveying what you're supposed to.