By Nichanian logic, if Obama is no patriot, Bush is no man

To the Editor:

Daniel Nichanian (“For McCain, all-American strategy may backfire,” 4/1) suggests that McCain uses the standard descriptive phrase “American president” to imply Obama’s un-Americanness. Presumably, supporters of Al Gore only called their candidate the “man for the job” in order to question George W. Bush’s gender.

Julian Rajeshwar

April 1

The writer is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.


  • Anonymous

    This is called reductio ad absurdum, which is an argument that uses the structure of another argument to make a claim that derives a ridiculous outcome. The conclusion is that because the established claim is false, the original claim must also be false.

    This is a fallacy.

  • A.C.

    This is a completely ridiculous comparison. "Man for the job" is a ready-made phrase with a particular meaning attached to it: that the person in question is perfectly qualified for the task at hand.

    On the other hand, there is clearly an ulterior meaning behind the phrase "American president" because, otherwise, qualifying the 'preisdent' as 'American' is completely unnecessary. Not only is it perfectly clear that McCain is running for the presidency of the United States of America, it is also obvious that he is an American since only U.S.-born citizens can hold the nation's highest office.

    Again, there is no comparison.

  • Anonymous

    Or perhaps calling Al Gore "the man for the job" was meant to imply that George Bush was not the man for the job, in much the same way that McCain's decision to stress his (Anglo-)"American" identity is meant to imply that Barack Obama is insufficiently American.