Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Rhetoric

Ben Shapiro Laid a Trap For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I was dismayed this week to see Ben Shapiro successfully trap Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is a good opportunity to talk about political rhetoric–the art of talking political smack. It’s important to know not just how to do it but when not to.

Read the rest of this entry »

Barack Obama’s Role in Giving Us the Trump Presidency

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered as a great philosopher and successful military commander, but he is also remembered for picking his feckless son Commodus as his successor, an emperor who infamously cared more about making showy performances as a gladiator than he did governing the empire. Barack Obama is still a popular president–his favorability rating is +10 and his job approval rating is +8. In recent months many pieces have been written lamenting his imminent departure, and many more will likely be written before January. But no matter how likeable Obama is or how well Obama governed while in office, the fact that he could not ensure the election of a competent successor counts against his legacy. How did Barack Obama end up giving us a Commodus? What, if anything, could Obama have done to avoid this?

Read the rest of this entry »

How Trump Could “Win” a Debate Without Knowing Any Policy

Donald Trump is taking a hit in the polls after his first debate performance, in which he spent a lot of time defending his character and offering long-winded answers in which he pretended he knew what he was talking about when he very clearly didn’t. Many people have rightly pointed out that Trump came across as under-prepared, but they’re not putting the emphasis in the right place. While it’s true that Trump doesn’t know anything about policy, it was not his lack of preparation on policy that got him in trouble. Instead he got hurt because he was inadequately prepared to do what he is generally pretty good at–avoiding uncomfortable questions and criticisms by constantly attacking whoever is available as a target. So today I’d like to give Trump a little back-handed advice–here’s how Trump can get the media to give him a win when he clearly doesn’t know anything.

Read the rest of this entry »