Winning through ad hominem Diversions: A Too Common Republican Tactic

Republican Conservatives are repeatedly having to defend their unjustifiable positions. These positions are usually politically damaging especially in election years. Since their positions are unjustifiable and damaging, they recurrently resort to their most successful diverting tactic, i.e., attacking the person rather than addressing the issue(s). In successfully diverting attention from their unjustifiable positions to the person they attack, they limit political damage and are able to maintain their positions. Opponents on the issue must avoid falling for these diverting tactics and stay on issue if they are to press their points.
The most recent example of this tactic involves Rush Limbaugh’s attack on a young women for testifying in front of Congress by calling her “a slut” on his nationally syndicated radio show. She was testifying in support of mandated insurance coverage of contraceptives as an important Women’s Health Issue. Her testimony was inspired by Republican Conservative public and vigorous opposition to Obama’s Administration mandate of coverage. The Republican Conservative vigorous opposition was based on Freedom of Religion arguments even though several Republican Governors had signed similar mandates into law in their States. They hoped to gain politically by their opposition.
The Republican Conservative continued attacks on Obama’s insurance company mandate for contraceptive coverage resulted in unexpected and rapidly growing women’s backlash based on Women’s Health Issues. The Republican Conservatives all of a sudden were losing ground politically with women and Independents. 
Subsequently, Rush Limbaugh called this young woman “a slut.” Now, the issue is about Rush Limbaugh’s attack and no longer about Women’s Health. Rush laughs off criticism about his comments because he knows he has diverted a bullet for Republican Conservatives. He can only revel in his successful diversion knowing full well that they will rescue him from any dire consequences.
The attack tactic is called argumentum ad hominem or ad hominem ,for short. This attack is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.
Variations of  ad hominem or personal attacks are:
1) Abusive ad hominem usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. Thus, the young woman testifying is “a slut.”
2) Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source.
3) An ad feminam is a attack used in attempt to defeat a woman’s argument.
4) Ad hominem tu quoque refers to a claim that the source making the argument has spoken or acted in a way inconsistent with the argument.
As long as opponents let them get away with this diverting tactic, Republican Conservatives will continue use all of these ad hominem tactics to continue to divert attention from their unjustifiable issues. 
The only way to stop them is for opponents on issues to not allow ad hominem attacks divert attention from their initial issue and let the personal attack become the diverting issue. Instead, the ad hominem attack should generate another issue in addition to the initial issue. Only when their unjustifiable issues mount along with being taken to task for ad hominem attacks will the Republican Conservatives address issues successfully or lose any sense of legitimacy on the issue with the American people.

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