Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Junes 2011 Republican Primary Debate: In Defense of "This or THat'

Apparently a large portion of the debate last night tried to pin the candidates down on their feelings on early '90s hip-hop1:



There was much mockery of "this or that" question framing on my Twitter feed, but I think we need to consider alternatives. It's true that either-or framing tends to oversimplify often complex questions, but given the opportunity to respond freely, most candidates would not offer complex answers; they'd evade, offer campaign brochure platitudes, attack other candidates, and generally ignore the question being asked as best as possible. So while this particular technique may be a crude instrument, trying to box candidates into situations where evasiveness makes them look smarmy is a positive development.

1 This song is now twenty years old. It's as old today as "Me and Bobby McGee" was when this song came out. Think about that for a second.
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