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Amnesiac John Spratt


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The National Republican Congressional Committee has issued a statement calling Democratic Congressman John Spratt an "amnesiac":

 

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/sc-dem-nrcc-using-sly-underhanded-references-to-my-parkinsons-disease.php

 

Andy Seré, a regional spokesman for the NRCC, sent out an e-mail statement Monday referring to "amnesiac John Spratt," whose "memory is failing him - and the congressman is failing South Carolinians as a result."

 

The e-mail also said "Spratt can't even recall what Obamacare does," and described how he is "clumsily" attacking State Sen. Mick Mulvaney ®, who's challenging Spratt in his bid for re-election.

 

It continued: "Now - worst of all - it seems he's completely forgotten who he works for (hint: they're the same folks who elected him)."

 

In a response issued by Spratt, he alleges that claims of "amnesia" are actually a reference to the fact he has Parkinson's:

 

In a statement released Tuesday in response to the NRCC's e-mail, Spratt called the talk of amnesia "beneath contempt," and a "sly, underhanded reference to the fact that I am in the early stages of Parkinson's disease."

 

He defended his decision to run, citing his doctor's evaluation which did "not include any loss of mental capacity, and especially amnesia."

 

Are Republicans sinking to the level of Rush Limbaugh? (who chastized Michael J. Fox and falsely alleged that Fox was faking symptoms)

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But is it helpful, or counter productive, to name a party rather than focus on the irresponsible politicians themselves?

 

If this was just something a single politican said, sure, but the email was sent by a spokesperson on behalf of the NRCC. So about the best you can do here is single out the NRCC from the rest of the Republican party.

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Are Republicans sinking to the level of Rush Limbaugh? (who chastized Michael J. Fox and falsely alleged that Fox was faking symptoms)

 

No, because Rush Limbaugh didn't cower behind a symbolic ruse, but rather came right out and accused MJF of exploitation for political points. The republicans don't have anybody with the spine to do that.

 

On the other hand, this is quite obviously, and pathetically, the democrat's victim card play. Kick him out of office for being an asshat. Makes all the other Parkinson's patients look bad....

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No, because Rush Limbaugh didn't cower behind a symbolic ruse, but rather came right out and accused MJF of exploitation for political points.

 

Exploitation for political points? He appeared on camera as himself, exhibiting his normal symptoms. Would you rather he hide behind a sheet if he wants to say something political? That is not exploitation.

 

On the other hand, this is quite obviously, and pathetically, the democrat's victim card play. Kick him out of office for being an asshat.

 

They want to kick him out of the office for being an amnesiac. Except he's not. They're lying.

 

Honestly, how can you even attempt to justify this behavior? It's absolutely appalling. If you're going to attempt to justify it, can you give me a bye for saying the Republicans are destroying the political discourse in this country? Because by doing things like this, they really are.

Edited by bascule
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Michael J. Fox's political efforts extend way showing people the symptoms of his Parkinsons. If memory serves he has, for example, campaigned for candidates while off his meds.

 

Pangloss, as I brought up Rush Limbaugh first, I can't strawman myself. I was referring specifically to these comments which Rush Limbaugh made:

 

"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."

 

You, on the other hand, are shifting the goalposts, then accusing me of a strawman. That's in bad form.

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Exploitation for political points? He appeared on camera as himself, exhibiting his normal symptoms. Would you rather he hide behind a sheet if he wants to say something political? That is not exploitation.

 

Can I call strawman then? Because I didn't make that argument. I pointed out that Rush made the claim directly, not some exercise in subtle symbology. I never said I agree with him, or argued in his favor - you're arguing against someone who's not even here.

 

Honestly, how can you even attempt to justify this behavior? It's absolutely appalling. If you're going to attempt to justify it, can you give me a bye for saying the Republicans are destroying the political discourse in this country? Because by doing things like this, they really are.

 

Are you kidding? This is so freaking see-through it's almost a fact. No different than disagreeing with Obama and then being accused of being a racist. They poked at his clear lack of understanding of Obamacare, which speaks directly to democrats passing laws they don't even understand. At least, that's their point anyway. Nothing of note for campaign tactics.

 

Spratt is playing the victim card. Also nothing of note for campaign tactics. I still think he should be kicked out for using weasle victim games. I do wonder when the general public will tire of unconditional surrender to all "victims" and "children" such that anyone who opposes them is an asshole.

 

That's the campaign atmosphere. I don't like it, but then, I don't vote for those kind of people. Who does? Go bitch to them. I don't feed trolls. But I do feed weirdos...

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Can I call strawman then? Because I didn't make that argument. I pointed out that Rush made the claim directly

 

Actually, he didn't. He didn't ever say anything about "exploitation for political points". Those are your words, not Rush's. Rush accused Michael J. Fox of faking his symptoms (for political points)

 

All that said, do you think what Rush did was bad?

 

Are you kidding? This is so freaking see-through it's almost a fact. No different than disagreeing with Obama and then being accused of being a racist. They poked at his clear lack of understanding of Obamacare, which speaks directly to democrats passing laws they don't even understand. At least, that's their point anyway. Nothing of note for campaign tactics.

 

They're accusing him of having amnesia. He doesn't have amnesia, or any memory-related disorders. What they claimed is an out-and-out lie. I guess you don't care, but maybe that's because your brain tumor is eroding the rational part of your brain. Oops, hope you don't mind me making up a fake medical condition then using it to insult you. You don't seem to mind the Republicans doing that to John Spratt.

 

Spratt is playing the victim card. [...] I still think he should be kicked out for using weasle victim games.

 

If I didn't already feel that rational political discourse is dead, I certainly do now.

Edited by bascule
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All that said, do you think what Rush did was bad?

 

Ultimately, Yes. Ill advised, more like it. Because I reject the notion of unquestionable disposition. MJ Fox is a good guy, rarely got involved in politics and clearly had a singular personal purpose, so accusing him of this was too much. But I don't believe the handicapped, diseased, or whatnot earn a free pass because it's super sad that they're a victim. They always get my sympathy, but they never get unconditional trust.

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From what I can tell there's two perspectives of what happened:

 

 

ParanoiA:

The NRCC ran a typical "this opponent must have amnesia, because he keeps forgetting what's important" type attack ad, entirely generic and like you see whenever someone waffles, flip-flops, or acts (or is accused of acting) inconsistent with prior actions.

 

Candidate then retaliates claiming in this case, it's a veiled attack on his medical condition, playing a victim card while his attackers try to figure how someone managed to connect such unrelated dots.

 

Bascule:

The NRCC, knowing that Spratt has Parkinsons decided to run a smear campaign designed specifically to scare people away from voting for him by painting him as medically incompetent to do his job. They used the term "amnesia" to make the smear tactic a little more blurry but effectively are attacking him on the grounds he has a medical condition (that people know about) and claiming it has led to a medical inability to serve his state.

 

 

Is that a fair assessment of your respective points of view?

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Bascule:

The NRCC, knowing that Spratt has Parkinsons decided to run a smear campaign designed specifically to scare people away from voting for him by painting him as medically incompetent to do his job. They used the term "amnesia" to make the smear tactic a little more blurry but effectively are attacking him on the grounds he has a medical condition (that people know about) and claiming it has led to a medical inability to serve his state.

 

I don't know if the actual intent of their campaign was to highlight Spratt's Parkinson's, but in light of the fact he does have Parkinsons, making repeated claims that he's suffering from "amnesia" is in extremely bad taste. My main issue is they're claiming Spratt has a medical condition he doesn't, which is a lie. Don't vote for John Spratt. He's suffering from amnesia. I'd like to find the original email so I can read their statements in context, but without the context, it's certainly not clear that they're "joking" about the amnesia or however else I'm supposed to interpret their statements in a way that would elevate them about boldface lies.

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I don't know if the actual intent of their campaign was to highlight Spratt's Parkinson's, but in light of the fact he does have Parkinsons, making repeated claims that he's suffering from "amnesia" is in extremely bad taste. My main issue is they're claiming Spratt has a medical condition he doesn't, which is a lie. Don't vote for John Spratt. He's suffering from amnesia. I'd like to find the original email so I can read their statements in context, but without the context, it's certainly not clear that they're "joking" about the amnesia or however else I'm supposed to interpret their statements in a way that would elevate them about boldface lies.

 

I have to agree it's insensitive at the very least, and I can see the distinction between saying "Spratt suffers from amnesia... which explains why he can't remember..." and saying "Spratt must be suffering from amnesia since he can't remember..." the latter being rather common as muddy campaign tongue in cheek.

 

I'd like more of the context before I could decide which of the two it is.

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I'd like to find the original email so I can read their statements in context, but without the context, it's certainly not clear that they're "joking" about the amnesia or however else I'm supposed to interpret their statements in a way that would elevate them about boldface lies.

 

Now there's a statement I can get behind. It seems quite clear to me they are being rhetorical about the condition of amnesia as they claim he "can't even recall what Obamacare does" and that "seems he's completely forgotten who he works for" - that's two different applications of the amnesia dig. And that's just from your post. I haven't read the original email either so there could be more.

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It seems quite clear to me they are being rhetorical about the condition of amnesia

 

I'd phrase that a little differently... more along the lines of "pretending he has a medical condition he doesn't to make a cheap political point"

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The NRCC ran a typical "this opponent must have amnesia, because he keeps forgetting what's important" type attack ad, entirely generic and like you see whenever someone waffles, flip-flops, or acts (or is accused of acting) inconsistent with prior actions.

 

John Stewart calls it Ballzheimer's:

"A terrible illness that attacks the memory and gives its victims' the balls to attack others for things they themselves made a career of...There is no known cure."

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They're accusing him of having amnesia. He doesn't have amnesia, or any memory-related disorders. What they claimed is an out-and-out lie.

 

I think you're reading it wrong. What they're saying is that he's a bad candidate (who can't even remember what he himself said), not that he has an actual mental disorder. I don't see any evidence here that they're actually referring to his Parkinsons, nor does that make sense because Parkinsons is a nerve disorder not a memory impairor.

 

It's not the RNC's fault that some people conflate Parkinsons to Alzheimers. But it seems like Spratt is deliberately playing on that accidental conflation for political gain.

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It's not the RNC's fault that some people conflate Parkinsons to Alzheimers. But it seems like Spratt is deliberately playing on that accidental conflation for political gain.

 

To the point though if they did this because they expect people to conflate the two then it is an exceptionally low act deserving condemnation.

I agree there is not enough evidence to claim this is the most likely intention with the letter.

If Spratt plays "the victim card" based on this belief (and perhaps he has more reason to believe it, whether he's mistaken or not) I think that too is forgivable, though I'd have to say ParanoiA is closer to the right track if he played "the victim card" solely to raise an attack without believing that was their intentions.

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I think you're reading it wrong. What they're saying is that he's a bad candidate (who can't even remember what he himself said), not that he has an actual mental disorder.

 

Demented old Pangloss, his reasoning is failing him, and while he cries spin against Anderson Cooper, he completely forgets about that when the politicans in power on the other side do something ten times worse than a mere news personality, and his dementia allows him to give a total bye to Republicans.

 

Oh, sorry, I wasn't saying Pangloss is actually demented. I'm just saying Pangloss is a bad moderator.

 

It's not the RNC's fault that some people conflate Parkinsons to Alzheimers.

 

Of course not! That would be laughable, to think that the senile elderly population that makes up the Republican base would interpret that statement as saying that John Spratt actually has memory problems, and repeat that idea, and spread rumors about it. Certainly that sort of thing has never happened before in the history of the Republican party, like at the Tea Parties.

 

Oh, sorry, I wasn't saying that the Republican base is actually senile and elderly. I'm just saying they're poor decision makers and therefore bad voters.

 

But it seems like Spratt is deliberately playing on that accidental conflation for political gain.

 

Yes, how dare someone with a disability take offense when their political opponents insinuate they're unfit to lead due to a disability. Clearly John Spratt is exploiting entirely accidental and coincidental conflation by playing the disability card!

 

Perhaps this sort of ridiculous conservative doublethink should be classified as a mental disease. Not that I'm really saying that conservatives who support this kind of thing are mentally deficient. I'm just comparing this sort of mentality to having a mental disease which hinders normal rational thought. That's not to suggest that people who support this kind of thing are mentally unsound and should be institutionalized. I'm just throwing it out there, you know. As a kind of joke... like the Republicans did. If you thought I was actually suggesting that Pangloss or the Republican base are actually mentally deficient and demented that's simply your fault for misinterpreting my rhetoric.

 

If you really do have a disability and what I've said offends you, piss off. You're just playing the disability card. What's wrong with you? You suck. Stop using weasel victim games.

 

--

 

Seriously though, all I'm looking for here is a "Yeah, that's a low blow, and in poor taste. Perhaps the Republicans can do better"

 

Instead, I'm a getting a "Not only have the Republicans done nothing wrong here, but John Spratt is a douchebag and is leveraging these malicious attacks for political points"

 

And my only reaction is: whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Edited by bascule
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Of course not! That would be laughable, to think that the senile elderly population that makes up the Republican base would interpret that statement as saying that John Spratt actually has memory problems, and repeat that idea, and spread rumors about it. Certainly that sort of thing has never happened before in the history of the Republican party, like at the Tea Parties.

 

Bascule, I do agree the Republicans are entirely liable to sink to that level. It is very possible this was intentionally designed to use a disability he does have against him by making up lies about disabilities he doesn't have.

 

That wouldn't surprise me.

 

But are we sure they did?

 

I think you are crossing the wires on a few separate issues here: (1) why people are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, (2) why isn't this contemptible, and (3) why is he being attacked for defending himself.

 

(1) Boils down to personal opinion, and benefit of the doubt is always subjective. We could really use more context, and I think most people agree this is not an issue of the Republicans being considered in the clear, just that it's too early to pass judgment.

 

(2) I think most people do condemn the actions of the Republican party as you have stated them. You have your "Yeah, that's a low blow, and in poor taste. Perhaps the Republicans can do better" and more, but in the context of if it was intended in the context you originally suggested. No one is looking at the argument as framed and saying "the Republicans done nothing wrong here" - just hesitation to call it based on what is currently known.

 

(3) Regarding "John Spratt is a douchebag and is leveraging these malicious attacks for political points" that is just another theory. If someone sees an opportunity to turn an innocent statement into political hay by accusing an opponent of bigotry towards (and by extension, people who share) their disability, is that not a despicable thing?

 

 

Granted, ParanoiA stated that "theory" as if it was the natural conclusion to draw, and in my opinion jumped to judgment with very little to go on.

 

 

 

The short of it is: I think everyone agrees with you as to what's excusable and what is condemnable.

People are disagreeing on whether the actions taken were really the malicious ones we all condemn.

 

It's "What do you think of this?" and there I think we agree, and then there's "What do you think happened?" where we start to disagree.

 

We can make more progress in a discussion if we deal with those individually.

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I love this. Democrats have now convinced their base that Parkinson's=Alzheimer's=Amnesia and the RNC is supposed to feel really bad about that.

 

That such a ploy seems to work with the Democrat base and the news media is more of an indictment of the Democrat base's and the news media than it is an indictment of the RNC.

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