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With apologies to President Obama for the title, which I will get to in just a minute...

We had some republican friends over for dinner the other night. Generally, we vigorously represent our opposing views, civilly, without personal attacks. While things have toned down since the election, we've still discussed everything from healthcare to reform of payday lenders. Our GOP friends don't believe that any low-income person EVER needs a quick $400 for anything from insulin or other uninsured prescriptions to a busted radiator--despite my patient explanations, our friends consider that to be an unnecessary choice--low income people going to payday lenders just deserve 365 percent interest.

Anyway, we hadn't seen them in awhile, so we had them over for a Friday night on the patio for drinks and some steaks. After some wine, one of our friends literally started a sentence with, "The socialist Barack Obama."

I looked at her, smiling, thinking to myself, "there's no way to win a debate with someone so closed minded. Where do you begin?"

Perhaps it was her syntax. Putting such a loaded modifier onto the subject of your conversation may work on Fox News, but I don't think many of us in the Dkos community would be so naive as to start a conversation (with the opposition, mind you) with something like "the war criminal Dick Cheney."

But when one of your wingnut friends has drunk too much koolaid, watched Fox News just one time to many, and is spouting the sound bite talking points, sometimes, you just POUNCE. In the most charming, trivializing way possible. You don't get mad. You destroy the argument with humor, not anger.

You trivialize the straw man. you throw it out the window in one fell swoop. You don't try to explain, defend, or give examples.  NEVER try to enlighten such an ardent foe.

So I pounced.  

"You know, that reminds me of something...what was it? Dan Ackroyd, in what was it? Dragnet? The "socialist Barack Obama" reminds me of what Ackroyd called "the virgin Connie Swale."

We all erupted in laughter and even my wingnut friend had to concede she really didn't have a point at all.

update: For those not familiar with the movie...Dan Acroyd and Tom Hanks play Sgt Joe Friday and Detective Pep Streebeck in this 1987 film parody based on the earlier television series, Dragnet.

Connie Swail, played by actress Alexandra Paul, is about to become a sacrificial virgin to an Orange County cult called P.A.G.A.N.

Ackroyd's character falls in love with Connie, tries to save her from being sacrificed, but in a wooden and artificial tone, even in her presence, refers to her as "the virgin Conne Swail."

Link to movie trailer.

update 2: Ok, with apologies to my wife, I think I am in love with Alexandra Paul. She appears in "Who Killed the Electric Car?", she fought against the Iraq War back in 2002, AND she's now fighting to get Prop. 8 overturned in California. (also fixed mispelling of "Swail.")

Originally posted to mcd on Sun May 31, 2009 at 07:51 AM PDT.

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