Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

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Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:06 pm UTC

Following on the heels of the Russian debacle, our Secretary of State made a significant blunder Friday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.
Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.
After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”
...
Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”

I can't decide whether I should be disappointed that our nation's representative is the embodiment of the ugly American, or grateful she's not our Commander-In-Chief.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:13 pm UTC

While it's true that visiting dignitaries should be briefed about local mythology and traditions, I'm sorry if I don't feel like getting up in arms about Clinton not knowing that this particular image of Guadalupe is the one said to have been miraculously imprinted several centuries ago.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Belial » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:24 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.

I agree. But "Bush was an idiot, too" is no excuse for this administration. This was not some obscure religious relic, Our Lady of Guadalupe is an important part of Mexican history. At the very least we should have someone brief the Secretary of State on the basic background of the artifact/temple/tomb she's visiting. Barring that, she should default to keeping her mouth shut.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Durandal » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

I can't really criticize, due to the fact that I've never even heard of that particular painting/whatever before.

Also, I very much doubt that she personally translated the Russian on that button.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.

<harp> <harp>

...

<EXPLODE!>

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Delass » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:02 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Belial wrote:And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.

I agree. But "Bush was an idiot, too" is no excuse for this administration. This was not some obscure religious relic, Our Lady of Guadalupe is an important part of Mexican history. At the very least we should have someone brief the Secretary of State on the basic background of the artifact/temple/tomb she's visiting. Barring that, she should default to keeping her mouth shut.


I agree, but it does say it was an unexpected visit. But thats rather vague.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:38 am UTC

Belial wrote:And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.
And likewise, any Democrat who feels like harping on about the previous occupant of the oval office should do the same.

Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe? Yeah.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:55 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe? Yeah.

Isn't that...not entirely incorrect?
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:59 am UTC

...
...
...
...
...
...
*facepalm*

There have been varying degrees of small-scale, limited suffrage democracies in Europe for thousands of years. The US added another one to the pile with its white, landowning men only system around the same time as plenty of other countries. The US didn't turn into anything resembling an actual democracy until well after a bunch of other countries had already got there, so the US either was a few thousand years late to the party, or about fifty years, depending on how you want to define democracy.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby TheStranger » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:02 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:
Belial wrote:And any republican who feels like harping on it should probably explode out of sheer hypocrisy, given their most recent occupant of the oval office.
And likewise, any Democrat who feels like harping on about the previous occupant of the oval office should do the same.

Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe? Yeah.


Isn't America the oldest democracy still in operation?

My feelings about Bush Junior aside... follow any chump around with a microphone and you will ear some verbal gaffes, the Dems were quick to jump on every slip of GW's tongue... so having them complain when the Rep's do the same seems a bit hypocritical (what's good for the goose is good for the gander).
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:04 am UTC

The House of Commons has been steady since the Glorious Revolution, hasn't it? The United States may have had a fairier government at the time (debatable) and landowners probably were a larger portion of the populaiton, but democracy was not unique.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:44 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:There have been varying degrees of small-scale, limited suffrage democracies in Europe for thousands of years. The US added another one to the pile with its white, landowning men only system around the same time as plenty of other countries. The US didn't turn into anything resembling an actual democracy until well after a bunch of other countries had already got there, so the US either was a few thousand years late to the party, or about fifty years, depending on how you want to define democracy.
For universal suffrage, if you count paralegal methods of restricting black people from voting - like requiring them to read a copy of Journey to the West in Mandarin to register to vote, or 'Grandfather laws' - we're about forty or fifty years late. If you don't, we actually granted universal suffrage around the same time as everyone else was granting it (1910s and 1920s). We weren't the first, but we certainly weren't the last.

Also, it's good to keep in mind that the 'new' thing that the US brought to the table was not just 'democracy!', but a focus on on ruling from the bottom up (well, okay - uh, the middle up. The middle male up. The middle white male up. Well, you get the idea). That is, you didn't get to be in charge just because your daddy had been the right sort of person. You only got to be in charge if the people willed it (and, uh, your daddy had been very rich. And white). Something like a mix between a meritocracy and a democracy with inborn rights to the people. This was an immensely interesting, very fresh idea.

If you define democracy as this - the theme of deconstructing the basic 'mandate of heaven' clause most of the European powers worked under - then yeah, the US is one of the oldest players... except, you know, for France, who went through this whole stage at nearly the exact same time. So, not really, but kind of?

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:04 am UTC

No matter the definitions, I don't buy "our democracy is much older than all y'alls".

And I don't define that as democracy. Because it's not.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Dhes » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:19 am UTC

It was a bit unfortunate, but I wouldn’t call it a “significant blunder”. If she was a catholic or a Mexican it would be a blunder. But you can’t really expect here to know or get briefed on every little titbit about the country she is visiting.
I think se has more important things to do than know that an omnipotent entity that created the universe sucks at painting.

It’s nice that stuff like this happens, at least now the hard core and not so hard core republicans can jump up and down, point fingers and pull everything way out of contacts.
Not knowing that “God” made the panting totally proves that Obama is evil, and will steal all the white-mans land and money, and than sell the US to China. And he kicks puppies.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby el_loco_avs » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:37 am UTC

watch out.... here it comes.... OH YEAH...




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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Iv » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:53 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I agree. But "Bush was an idiot, too" is no excuse for this administration. This was not some obscure religious relic, Our Lady of Guadalupe is an important part of Mexican history. At the very least we should have someone brief the Secretary of State on the basic background of the artifact/temple/tomb she's visiting. Barring that, she should default to keeping her mouth shut.

I agree that she should have been briefed on that. (I just wikipedia-ed the link and the miraculous explanation just does not compute) I still congratulate her for not bursting a laugh when she was told the currently held belief.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:And I don't define that as democracy. Because it's not.

Well sure, not technically. Technically, no country with a representative system is a democracy, really. They're (democratic) republics.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

Dhes wrote:But you can’t really expect here to know or get briefed on every little titbit about the country she is visiting.

When visiting the Basilica to Our Lady of Guadalupe, knowing what Our Lady of Guadalupe is is hardly a 'tidbit.' This is analogous to visiting The David, and asking "Is this the prime minister or something?" or visiting the Sphinx and saying "People don't have lion bodies." If a Mexican official came to America and visited the Vietnam Memorial, I'd expect him to have the common sense, if not the knowledge, to avoid remarking "Can I write my name, too?"

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:31 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:When visiting the Basilica to Our Lady of Guadalupe, knowing what Our Lady of Guadalupe is is hardly a 'tidbit.' This is analogous to visiting The David, and asking "Is this the prime minister or something?"

It's actually EXACTLY like visiting The David and asking who sculpted it.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

My bigger issue was "what a marvelous virgin you have!" If you're woefully uneducated about about something, you should not shoot your mouth off on something so facepalmingly condescending and moronic.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:It's actually EXACTLY like visiting The David and asking who sculpted it.

More precisely, it's like asking that without knowing that the local people believe a story about how it was sculpted magically by God...

Bubbles McCoy wrote:My bigger issue was "what a marvelous virgin you have!" If you're woefully uneducated about about something, you should not shoot your mouth off on something so facepalmingly condescending and moronic.

Are we sure what language this was said in? And whether it might have been translated to Spanish if it was said in English? And how the connotations of virgen in Spanish might be different from those for "virgin" in English?
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:[
Bubbles McCoy wrote:My bigger issue was "what a marvelous virgin you have!" If you're woefully uneducated about about something, you should not shoot your mouth off on something so facepalmingly condescending and moronic.

Are we sure what language this was said in? And whether it might have been translated to Spanish if it was said in English? And how the connotations of virgen in Spanish might be different from those for "virgin" in English?

I'd kind of like to see what she ORIGINALLY said, before it was translated to Spanish then back to English.

EDIT: Doing it English to Spanish to English in Babelfish gives me "One what virgin wonderful you have!"

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby lesliesage » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:At the very least we should have someone brief the Secretary of State on the basic background of the artifact/temple/tomb she's visiting. Barring that, she should default to keeping her mouth shut.
Did you watch her confirmation hearing? At the very least we should have someone brief the OP on the basic background of the topic he's discussing. Barring that, he should default to keeping his mouth shut.
Jack Saladin wrote:Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe?
Um, that's not really debated by historians, who are referring to how long countries have been following the same democratic constitutional framework as they are now. It's discussed at length in "The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century," by JM Roberts (a British author) who has a penchant for the concept of nationhood. I can't find my copy at the moment, but I'll quote it later if I do.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby fjafjan » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:39 pm UTC

lesliesage wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:At the very least we should have someone brief the Secretary of State on the basic background of the artifact/temple/tomb she's visiting. Barring that, she should default to keeping her mouth shut.
Did you watch her confirmation hearing? At the very least we should have someone brief the OP on the basic background of the topic he's discussing. Barring that, he should default to keeping his mouth shut.
Jack Saladin wrote:Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe?
Um, that's not really debated by historians, who are referring to how long countries have been following the same democratic constitutional framework as they are now. It's discussed at length in "The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century," by JM Roberts (a British author) who has a penchant for the concept of nationhood. I can't find my copy at the moment, but I'll quote it later if I do.

And most historian will recognize that it is a fairly arbitrary line in the sand. Before:
Britain: Very Wealthy men people were in power
after X
white men were in power
after Y
men were in power
after Z
people were in power(with wealthy people still holding disproportionate power).
Very arguable a large percentage of the population got a part of deciding when universal suffrage was enforced than when either a constitutional democracy was founded or when slavery was abolished.

As for her gaff I think it's not that bad, after all the whole POINT of that sculpture is that you get to awnser like that. I mean it's a pretty great anecdote don't you think? Honestly they shouldn't be too damned offended by it, even if it is a slight miss.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby lesliesage » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:23 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:And most historian will recognize that it is a fairly arbitrary line in the sand.
For sure. If the line is drawn at everyone in a country voting, no one's achieved that. If it's drawn at a country living up to its ideals of democratic equality, no one's achieved that. A majority-white country electing a black guy for president... would be stupid criteria. But it's noted by nation lovers that the US has been following its current vote-giving constitutional framework for longer than most European countries. I agree that it's fuzzy shorthand, but I guess it's used by people who know to what they're referring, which makes for a better definition of language than of democracy.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby fjafjan » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:42 pm UTC

lesliesage wrote:
fjafjan wrote:And most historian will recognize that it is a fairly arbitrary line in the sand.
For sure. If the line is drawn at everyone in a country voting, no one's achieved that. If it's drawn at a country living up to its ideals of democratic equality, no one's achieved that. A majority-white country electing a black guy for president... would be stupid criteria. But it's noted by nation lovers that the US has been following its current vote-giving constitutional framework for longer than most European countries. I agree that it's fuzzy shorthand, but I guess it's used by people who know to what they're referring, which makes for a better definition of language than of democracy.

Everyone counting is not a reasonable standard. Seriously, as far as voting rights go, we're filing the edges. The serious proposals that are made to improve the current system are
1 Give mothers/guardians of children one extra vote, to account for the fact that they have to concern for more than themself
2 Lower voting age to 16
3 Take voting right away from people who are mentally ill/above a certain age
4 range voting

Even if all of these are implemented that's not even noticable compared to universal suffrage. Extra vote for children would be noticable, sure, but it's unlikely. Same goes for all of these really, we might see a lowering to 16/17 in some countries. We might see range voting but that's not a huge shift. Really things like proportional voting is more important than that.
A democratic framework that while retaining the same name and structure, has changed dramatically. It's really rather silly, is my point, so saying "we're the oldest democracy" is like saying "we are the best country". Stupid arbitrary metrics to give nationalists a sense of superiority that waste time.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Diadem » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

lesliesage wrote:
Jack Saladin wrote:Didn't she just claim like a couple of weeks ago that democracy in the US was "much older" than anywhere in Europe?
Um, that's not really debated by historians, who are referring to how long countries have been following the same democratic constitutional framework as they are now. It's discussed at length in "The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century," by JM Roberts (a British author) who has a penchant for the concept of nationhood. I can't find my copy at the moment, but I'll quote it later if I do.

That's a rather arbitrary definition. I can't help but wonder if these happen to be American historians, who define it thus.

And anyway, even if we define it like this, it's still untrue. Iceland has had a parliament since 930, for example.

*update: Turns out the oldest democracy in the world is the Isle of Man. I did not know that ;)
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby lesliesage » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:18 am UTC

Diadem, you don't seem to have reached the second sentence of what you quoted back to me- the part about the British author. And we're all agreeing it's arbitrary. And I have yet to see an actual quote of Clinton making the overstatement attributed to her. And yes, Britain too is considered to have followed its democracy-like constitution for longer than the US, and everyone knows Iceland usually gets the "oldest democratic nation" stamp of arbitrary historical labeling fests.

The point is what makes a democracy- you either find it an interesting question or not, and you either feel like it's non-arbitrarily answerable or not. I do, and I don't, but I won't feign to misunderstand the reference to datable constitutions of representation.

Edit:
Clinton wrote:It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy.
You guys, she was addressing the EU, formed in 1951- the rest of her speech was about their "multiparty democracy," offering admiration for sorting out such complexities, humbly submitting that two parties in the US is hard enough.

(Edit 2: Also, I realize I was defending the "oldest" statement in my first post; apologies - in my head I was addressing the "one of the oldest" notion, which I guess comes out in my other posts...)

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:56 am UTC

Uh, "European democracy" =/= "EU". There's no "multiparty system" in the EU, it's not a single state with elections. She's clearly talking about European democracies in general.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Iv » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:57 am UTC

We do have European elections : we vote for members of the European parliament. There are such things as federal political parties : ecologists were the first, I think some far-left national parties united as well. But you are right, this is a work in progress.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:06 am UTC

Lesliage, don't defend her mistake. She was not referring to the EU when she said "European democracy". Seriously, if so she was phrasing herself very awkwardly and that's bad too. England was the first European democracy (let's not argue wether or not that's true, I am using it as an example) is the way the phrase is commonly used, and if she wanted to refer to the European union she should have clarified she meant inter-European democracy or something.
general remark, Lesliage I often agree with you, but you sometimes fall into the trap of defending things too hard. Not conceding a point means you're arguing your position poorly. As someone who likes the way you think, just wish you wouldn't do that.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby lesliesage » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:22 pm UTC

puzzle
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby stony-p » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:42 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:My bigger issue was "what a marvelous virgin you have!" If you're woefully uneducated about about something, you should not shoot your mouth off on something so facepalmingly condescending and moronic.


I don't understand the problem. They have an icon of The Virgin and she complimented them on it. Where is the issue?

Would it have been a problem if she'd visited, say, an English cathedral and said "what a marvellous cathedral you have" ?


EDIT


And on the point of the gaffe at the EU

The Guardian seemed to take the entire thing well

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/200 ... u-brussels

The US secretary of state handled everything with consummate aplomb and authority – although she did admit that she had trouble grasping the mosaic of parties, interests, and countries that make up the EU. "I've never understood multi-party democracy. It's hard enough with two parties."

From Russia to Africa, from climate change to financial crash, from HIV/Aids to gay rights, Clinton wowed the Europeans with a performance that showed fluency and grasp of detail."


She handled herself well and she said that the complex politics between European nations in the EU was a big challenge [27 member states, with differing economies and political interests, 16 million Muslims, around 20 languages... with some members joining as recently as 2007 and 3 more countries hoping to join] especially compared to the American domestic politics which she has more experience with [comprising 2 parties for hundreds of years if my knowledge is any good - correct me if I'm horribly wrong.]

I'd not hear anything bad about Clinton over here, the impression I have from the coverage in Britain is that she's doing a pretty good job, that thing with the button notwithstanding. Perhaps there's a case for suggesting there's a negative bias in the American press?

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Not conceding a point means you're arguing your position poorly.

Haha. This is rich, coming from someone who once basically tried to change the definition of food so he could continue arguing that America didn't really have any of its own.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Not conceding a point means you're arguing your position poorly.

Haha. This is rich, coming from someone who once basically tried to change the definition of food so he could continue arguing that America didn't really have any of its own.

hey, I never said I was perfect :P I know I am prone to this myself, but that doesn't make it less silly. Aaaand I think I do it less nowadays.

What? Man, I'm not making it up to fit my version of reality. She was totally answering questions from an audience of 500 young people at the European Parliament about European politics! I do think we're on the same page most of the time, but this is a fair conversation.

You're defending it too hard because you're arguing the same point at two fronts, that while not conflicting, one is way way weaker. So it wasn't a gaffe because most historians think that while it's somewhat arbitrary, america was the first modern democracy, despite all the inmodernities of that democracy. Arguing at the same time that it wasn't a gaffe because she was referring to the EU when she said "European democracy" is way way weaker. So it's possible she was, but why would she when pretty mainstream opinion is that America was the first modern democracy. It would have been incredibly vague of her to say so, when she could have used phrases far more clear to that, as Europe still is primarily defined as nation states, rather than a union of those states.
So you can either make the strong case A, where while we can agree while she is correct in saying it, really it's a slightly silly claim but then that's what polititians do all the damn time. We're not going to hang Obama for saying America is the greatest country a billion times because that's what he has to do. Whatever.
Or you can make the weak case B, partly based on that A is in fact weak, an argument that requires her phrasing to be akward and clunky, and whilte technically possible, and we could argue this, it's pretty unlikely. But you're making both, which is unnecessary and detracts from more valid points, ilke the fact that this is even portrayed as a "gaffe" is pretty hysterical, this or the virgin comments.
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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:34 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:We're not going to hang Obama for saying America is the greatest country a billion times because that's what he has to do.
Context is important. Yelling "America is the greatest" a million times at a campaign rally in Idaho is smart. Yelling "America is the greatest" when representing your country abroad is not smart.

But that's trivial compared to insulting Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

You have a marvelous kitty.

How dare I insult your kitty!

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby Red Hal » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

Hillary-ous! Almost as funny as Pickles.

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Re: Yet Another Hillary Gaffe

Postby lesliesage » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:38 pm UTC

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Last edited by lesliesage on Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:05 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.


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