DUSTY RHOADES: Great Tactic: Don't Make Accusations, Just Raise 'Questions'
I've stated several times in this column that the reason I became a Republican was to take advantage of the party's core principle, namely that everything is OK if you're a Republican.
I'll admit I've had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept that things like adultery are excusable for Republicans because some Democrats have done them, yet they're still not excusable for Democrats. But that's OK, I'm working on that. But as I've gotten deeper into the inner mysteries of the GOP, I've discovered a number of other wonderful things that are available to initiates.
Take, for example, the tactic of accusation by question. By using this, you can make any wild claim you want without a shred of evidence, then say "Hey, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, I'm just asking some questions here."
If you're unsure of what I'm talking about, here's an example. In a recent discussion on the Mark Foley scandal, North Carolina's own Rep. Patrick McHenry asked CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "What person, group or political entity had these nasty instant messages and possessed the e-mails in order to solicit this story? And in a partisan environment like we're in right now in Washington, four weeks out from a national election, that question must be asked."
Blitzer responded by asking him, "So what you're suggesting [is] that Democrats are behind the timing of the release of this information? Is that your accusation?" McHenry responded again with the question: "Well, look," he said, "all the fact points lead to one question: Did Rahm Emanuel or Nancy Pelosi have any involvement on the strategic or tactical level?"
Do you have any evidence, Blitzer asked, that this might be the case? In fact, Blitzer asked several times if there was any evidence, any evidence at all, that any Democrat sat on this story until right before election time for partisan purposes. (This is how you know, by the way, that Blitzer is one of those liberal media types. This manic obsession with "evidence" and "proof" when you're accusing someone of a heinous act is the hallmark of America-hating liberalism.)
Finally, Blitzer asked, "I'm just asking if you're just throwing out an accusation or if you have any hard evidence?"
"No," McHenry answered, then delivered the coup de grace: "It's a question, Wolf. The question remains, were they involved? And it's a question. It's not an accusation."
I have to tell you, I absolutely love this. In fact, I love it so much that I've started using this in my own life. For example, the other day, my wife asked me, "Honey, have you been drinking the milk straight from the container again?"
"Well, Pookie," I responded, "I think the question really needs to be asked: Did Clifford [our Golden Retriever] get into the refrigerator and rummage around looking for snacks? Was he actually the one who drank milk straight from the container?"
"What?" she said.
"You have to look at the fact points. The dog was in the same general area as I was. It's important to ask these questions to get at the truth."
"Let me get this straight," she said. "You're accusing the dog of opening the refrigerator, unscrewing the cap from a gallon of milk, tipping it up, drinking from it, and then putting it back on the refrigerator shelf? All without spilling a drop on the floor?"
"I'm not accusing anyone of anything," I replied. "But in this environment, the questions need to be asked."
"Uh-huh," she said. "And do you have any evidence at all that the dog is even capable of this?"
"Well, do you have any evidence he wasn't involved?"
"I'd think the fact that the dog lacks opposable thumbs is pretty good evidence. That and the fact that you still have the cap from the milk container in your hand."
I looked down at the incriminating circle of plastic.
"Well, we have to ask whether or not the dog nuzzled up to my hand and placed it there."
"Oh, for the love of"
"That dog will do anything to discredit me!" I blurted. "He still blames me for the whole neutering thing!"
"Good lord, this is a new low, even for you. Why don't you just admit that you did it and stop trying to accuse the poor dog?" Clifford, vaguely aware he was being discussed, raised his head from where he lay stretched out on the floor and thumped his tail once.
"I'm not accusing anyone. It's a question, not an accusation. And these are questions that "
"Need to be asked, right, I got that part. Here's a question for you. When is this Republican nonsense going to stop?"
Nov. 8, probably.
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage.
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