Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bush-Did-It-Too Move

In this video public school children in New Jersey were recorded singing a song that a teacher claims they wrote themselves.

Among many memorable touches, it includes a couple of lines that took me back to Sunday school when at the age of six I was required to sing these lines:
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.*
But that was in a church, not in a public school, and we were singing the praises of the Son of God and not a sitting president.

What interests me right now is not these lines, nor the suprising fact that some people are defending what the teachers in this video are doing. It is the logic of some of their arguments.

This article takes Michelle Malkin to task for objecting to the video. Half way down the page (right after the de rigueur charge of racism) it says:
[W]hy in God's name would Malkin link to every conservative flack on the block about this matter, and uh, second, forget that in 2006 school kids were instructed to make up a song praising FEMA and its work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and then sing it directly to Laura Bush!
I hereby formulate a corollay to Godwin's Law It goes like this: "As an argument with an Obama supporter progresses, the probability of a comparison involving Bush and the Bush administration approaches 1."

You see instances all around you. But what on Earth are they supposed to mean? The idea can't be "it must be okay because Bush did it too," because the people who use this trope hate Bush and all his works. In fact, the link in the above quote takes you to a left-wing blog that attacks the pathetic FEMA song. Some commenters even say that this reminds them of Chinese kids singing songs of praise for Chairman Mao -- just the sort of comment that Republicans are now making about the Obama song.

So ... couldn't the couldn't the comments on that blog be given as reasons to be against the Obama song?

The whole Bush-did-it-too move suffers from the same screamingly obvious logical flaw: if Bush did the same thing as Obama, that should mean that what Obama did is a thing of evil and stinks in the Nostrils of the Lord. And yet people who make this move seem to think they've scored some sort of devastating defense of Obama's actions and policies. You can find another example of exactly the same version of the move here.

What they Hell is going on here?

Actually, that's not a rhetorical question. I think I've figured out the logic of the Bush-did-it-too move, but I'll have to post it later.
* The relevant words in the Obama song are:
He said red, yellow, black or white
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama!

On the other hand, there's this (tip o' the sombrero to David Kramer):

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