Skip to main content

As fact checkers busily highlight the myriad number of lies and distortions offered by Mitt-Etch-A-Sketch-Romney during last night's debate, and the spinners spin their polls with impunity, I find it interesting that the debate tactic itself has not yet been discussed nor properly analyzed. In fact, the lies and distortions offered by Romney in last night's debate are the very ESSENCE of his tactic -- and is therefore quite pertinent to the discussion. Romney used a debate tactic known as  the Gish Gallop.

The Urban Dictionary defines the Gish Gallop thusly:

Named for the debate tactic created by creationist shill Duane Gish, a Gish Gallop involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it. To make matters worse a Gish Gallop will often have one or more 'talking points' that has a tiny core of truth to it, making the person rebutting it spend even more time debunking it in order to explain that, yes, it's not totally false but the Galloper is distorting/misusing/misstating the actual situation. A true Gish Gallop generally has two traits.

1) The factual and logical content of the Gish Gallop is pure bullshit and anybody knowledgeable and informed on the subject would recognize it as such almost instantly. That is, the Gish Gallop is designed to appeal to and deceive precisely those sorts of people who are most in need of honest factual education.

2) The points are all ones that the Galloper either knows, or damn well should know, are totally bullshit. With the slimier users of the Gish Gallop, like Gish himself, its a near certainty that the points are chosen not just because the Galloper knows that they're bullshit, but because the Galloper is deliberately trying to shovel as much bullshit into as small a space as possible in order to overwhelm his opponent with sheer volume and bamboozle any audience members with a facade of scholarly acumen and factual knowledge.

It is quite apparent to those of us who have closely followed this election, that this latest sketch drawn out by Romney completely contradicts major policy ideas stumped on the campaign trail by him over the last few months. Since Obama could no longer debate the substance (or lack thereof) of Romney''s policy ideas, it threw Obama off his game. We have seen Romney do this before in the primaries. Obama needs to be prepared for it in future debates. Call it Etch-A-Sketch, call it the Gish Gallop, call it's all about the same. But it is a known debate tactic. And, like Romney, it is dishonest.

ON EDIT: Top of the rec list! Wow! Thanks! Just FYI, in the intro, I provided a hyperlink to the wiki explanation of the Gish Gallop, just in case you are looking for more information on it.

On a happier note, please allow me to share this joke floating around the internet today:

Snow White, Superman and Pinocchio are walking along.

They see a sign: "Contest for World's Most Beautiful Woman." Snow White goes in, later comes out smiling, wearing a crown.

They walk along and see another sign: "Contest for World's Strongest Man." Superman goes in, later comes out smiling, wearing the belt.

They walk along and see a sign: "Contest for World's Greatest Liar." Pinocchio goes in, later comes out with his head down crying.

"Who the hell is Mitt Romney?" Pinocchio sobs.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, Sharoney, deminva, forward1, Louise, fly, Renee, Julia Grey, ljb, nota bene, Best in Show, coral, Economaniac, RF, PrahaPartizan, Val, Sean Robertson, itsbenj, MadRuth, grollen, alyosha, Timaeus, glitterscale, Caelian, greendem, misscee, importer, mickT, Geenius at Wrok, thebes, Pandora, mndan, mjr, TrueBlueMajority, nicolemm, NYmom, madmsf, am, kainah, BigOkie, emal, wytcld, Hartley, DebtorsPrison, sphealey, Lahdee, TechBob, Emerson, karlpk, dengre, Shockwave, Psyche, Sherri in TX, LynChi, Pescadero Bill, donna in evanston, billlaurelMD, tacet, CleverNickName, cotterperson, SanJoseLady, liz, OLinda, Troutfishing, eeff, Mnemosyne, rubyr, frsbdg, TX Unmuzzled, saluda, YankInUK, HootieMcBoob, gecko, FyodorFish, grover, Norwegian Chef, exNYinTX, expat germany, VickiStein, lady sisyphus, zeitshabba, niemann, Creosote, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, RubDMC, eyeswideopen, rasbobbo, Gustogirl, jackspace, nicki37, nlacey, opinionated, Troutnut, EvieCZ, concernedamerican, Boston Boomer, Silvan Elf, Zinman, missLotus, Babsnc, TracieLynn, afox, sponson, justme, cyberKosFan, wonkydonkey, amsterdam, whenwego, JMcDonald, Kevvboy, CoolOnion, highacidity, KMc, boadicea, Bionic, xopher, rabel, chimpy, roses, khloemi, slouching, DesertCat, Dhavo, Ignacio Magaloni, larryrant, Voter123, Torta, bws, dchill, bwren, VA Gal, Bill Roberts, Terre, fumie, Glinda, FriendlyNeighbor, splashy, Cedwyn, jted, lirtydies, antirove, high uintas, Alna Dem, admiralh, CocoaLove, sidnora, Chrisfs, aitchdee, Brit, Eddie C, wader, Serendipity, Quege, jdmorg, Lilyvt, Texknight, RLF, tomephil, kharma, menodoc, hopesprings, dejavu, fight2bfree, psnyder, annan, Teduardo, sockpuppet, TexDem, figbash, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, fishhawk, dustbin, wordene, ranger995, Noodles, johanus, chriscol, exiledfromTN, tln41, kj in missouri, yet another liberal, astronautagogo, wdrath, flatford39, Penny Century, dwahzon, 42, Zed Storm, Steven Payne, Bluehawk, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, betson08, papercut, salinas, kalmoth, Timbuk3, riverlover, 313to212, kismet, Brian82, Lilith, walkshills, outragedinSF, bwintx, Bendra, Noisy Democrat, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, KellyB, randallt, Hillbilly Dem, parryander, KayCeSF, Vicky, janale, tomjones, JayDean, poemworld, xyz, d to the f, valadon, Nova Land, eve, rambler american, solesse413, dss, Jen Hayden, vivadissent, eztempo, Josiah Bartlett, xxdr zombiexx, Dave in RI, bibble, thereisnospoon, Sassy, makome, radabush, babaloo, oortdust, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Ohkwai, nailbender, Skennet Boch, kbman, maybeeso in michigan, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, BK here, DianeNYS, greycat, Ckntfld, sometv, caul, Explorer8939, JanetT in MD, Seldom Seen, subtropolis, SherwoodB, Tonedevil, nape, sc kitty, PBen, kitchen sink think tank, Bcre8ve, kefauver, ajsuited, citizenx, dewtx, Thorby Baslim, ChemBob, sandrad23, myeye, juliesie, stagemom, TigerMom, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Praxxus, EJP in Maine, Dobber, Unforgiven, fixxit, eru, Beetwasher, LNK, Dr Squid, Sun Tzu, JoieDe, jimstaro, where4art, GreyHawk, cspivey, Kayakbiker, Ice Blue, most peculiar mama, CompaniaHill, ivorybill, Ozymandius, antiapollon, sunbro, Yamara, kaliope, Tool, LieparDestin, brentut5, SBandini, spunhard, Savvy813, Shotput8, FindingMyVoice, Cory Bantic, Hannibal, DaveVH, peacestpete, Ekaterin, SocioSam, sgary, JanF, kkjohnson, Alan Arizona, DivaBabe, kathny, jay23, fhcec, bently, xaxnar, Jim R, lgmcp, reddbierd, Reality Bites Back, Mother Mags, martini, elliott, Shirl In Idaho, Nance, Sanuk, gwilson, snazzzybird, karmacop, kumaneko, BalanceSeeker, irishwitch, LeighAnn, myboo, keeplaughing, Kingsmeg, cybersaur, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, BeadLady, hungrycoyote, DC Scott, Russgirl, tonyahky, Gorette, Yellow Canary, seefleur, Dvalkure, technomage, jpw, Triscula, Wary, mossbackfarm, raincrow, luckydog, slampros, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, SherriG, TalkieToaster, global citizen, wild hair, erratic, cRedd, The Hindsight Times, Rosaura, jerseyjo, Crashing Vor, SadieSue, JVolvo, Sagebrush Bob, CTLiberal, bleeding heart, boatsie, middleagedhousewife, hlsmlane, llbear, murphthesurf, BlueMississippi, txdemfem, wargolem, democracy is coming, CA Nana, profh, zhimbo, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, fiddlingnero, Stripe, means are the ends, cherryXXX69, MadMs, chgobob, Statusquomustgo, Brunette, kurious, Bernie68, bstotts, Friend of the court, Temmoku, Nulwee, Aaa T Tudeattack, DBunn, anna shane, bear83, dov12348, john07801, out of left field, asilomar, donnamarie, Cronesense, xgz, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, LiberalLady, camlbacker, weneedahero, possum, ksp, SharonColeman, milkbone, moodyinsavannah, leema, devis1, gloriana, yoduuuh do or do not, jds1978, cobaltbay, Msinformed, edsbrooklyn, LillithMc, CTDemoFarmer, Ticonderoga, Matt Z, flumptytail, terabytes, Dave in Northridge, certainot, LamontCranston, sfbob, RichD, FischFry, joedemocrat, newpioneer, HCKAD, jayden, progressivevoice, ubertar, second gen, esjay, geejay, ScottMercer, Back In Blue, SeaTurtle, jhop7, gchaucer2, carpunder, Librarianmom, pioneer111, Wreck Smurfy, uciguy30, GeorgeXVIII, exreaganite, Timmethy, madgranny, skod, billso, BasharH, aseth, Assaf, South Park Democrat, vet, oxon, Empower Ink, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, MKinTN, rogerdaddy, Erik W, bkamr, revm3up, jack 1966, TruthFreedomKindness, windje, Justus, AnnieJo, Argyrios, also mom of 5, TX Freethinker, Mr SeeMore, SaintDharma32, kingneil, HappyinNM, wayoutinthestix, Cordwainer, Johnny Nucleo, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, shaketheworld, Mr Stagger Lee, Involuntary Exile, smrichmond, brooklynbadboy, filby, Renaissance Man, Sharon Wraight, Mother of Zeus, Its any one guess, mikeconwell, beltane, Americans for a Republican Irrelevancy, Lujane, TomFromNJ, rssrai, tofumagoo, pamelabrown, boatjones, Cassandra Waites, smartdemmg, icebergslim, pickandshovel, bluesheep, detroittrader, NogodsnomastersMary, Tam in CA, SottoVoce, envwq, mofembot, Gemina13, J V Calin, glendaw271, petulans, TexanJane, sewaneepat, My Spin, emidesu, JamieG from Md, Mayfly, HoosierDeb, dmhlt 66, angelino, toom, DavidW, dzog, shortgirl, statsone, kpbuick, legendmn, Fiddlegirl, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, shizzyhiznat, prettygirlxoxoxo, enemy of the people, multilee, pileta, Rhysling, Ran3dy, rubyclaire, Ripeness Is All, J M F, Fonsia, Throw The Bums Out, DontTaseMeBro, arendt, Glacial Erratic, Neon Vincent, Dirtandiron, litoralis, mjkellett, greengemini, The Dead Man, hummingbird4015, carolyn urban, fearisthemindkiller, Carol in San Antonio, CanyonWren, Nebraskablue, pvlb, WiseFerret, susanWAstate, notrouble, Ohiodem1, ScientistSteve, Zotz, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, WakeUpNeo, socal altvibe, earicicle, IndySlip, shopkeeper, CamillesDad1, fastpathguru, sillycilla, elziax, MKSinSA, TheOpinionGuy, politicalceci, bfitzinAR, MySobriquet, jomi, papahaha, johnosahon, MooseHB, COwoman, fromcascadia, Shelley99, PhotogHog, lu3, sfarkash, rjosborn, mdmslle, 57andFemale, archidem, PoliticalJunkessa, Little Flower, haremoor, Tortmaster, northernlights, jan0080, mahakali overdrive, astral66, Livvy5, dsmyre, orangeuglad, futureliveshere, deviant24x, Leftcandid, collardgreens, Larsstephens, Words In Action, Nalepoc, Clyde the Cat, BlueOak, Amber6541, Just Bob, bronxcharlie, chambord, commonmass, smileycreek, YellerDog, awcomeon, Laurilei, NMDad, KroneckerD, just like that, David PA, flitedocnm, The Jester, NJpeach, eXtina, pdx kirk, estreya, breathe67, gramofsam1, Tea and Strumpets, politik, klimtone, jethrock, catwho, on board 47, Anima, CS11, biggiefries, klompendanser, Luma, taiping1, Crabby Abbey, LOrion, alguien, freeport beach PA, Simple, appledown, consciousempress, womankind, Eddie L, ipaman, Monkey Man Hermit, JoanMar, tellthestories, manyamile, gulfgal98, pixxer, Puddytat, dlemex, anonevent, DerAmi, ThirtyFiveUp, Yasuragi, ban48, rja, Betty Pinson, MsGrin, kenwards, ericlewis0, Otteray Scribe, Floande, Murchadha, eclecta, cocinero, DirkFunk, science nerd, Dems in 08, ZedMont, soithoni, wwjjd, fiercefilms, therehastobeaway, slice, JClarkPDX, dpwks, Mac in Maine, no way lack of brain, Onomastic, Jane Lew, annieli, renbear, Maximilien Robespierre, TAH from SLC, Hill Jill, mama jo, Acktiv, ozsea1, coquiero, Physicalist, StateofEuphoria, spooks51, Bob Duck, redandblue, slowbutsure, stone clearing, vahana, freesia, moonbat666, myadestes, RedlandsDem, OldGrammy, ardyess, Seitanist, Teknocore, Zutroy, Mistral Wind, asterkitty, mikejay611, OhioNatureMom, kiwiheart, stonedoubt, near mrs, imokyrok, kevin k, kpal711, FightingRegistrar, deeproots, NormAl1792, relayerbob, CoExistNow, nezzclay, Z Ro, Alice Olson, Outraged Mom, mrsgoo, marleycat, Lusty, Cinnamon, sethtriggs, coffeeprocessingmachine, cyberpuggy, Cinnamon Rollover, wilder5121, thomask, Angela Quattrano, Santa Susanna Kid, looking and listening, dle2GA, cyb1851, muddy boots, RfrancisR, midnight lurker, JWK, Pash, Yogurt721, floridablue, EagleOfFreedom, shaso, LSmith, Grandma Susie, phoebesdatter, createpeace, worldlotus, wintergreen8694, pensivelady, zapus, foresterbob, bluedust, MinistryOfTruth, sound of progress, Wood Dragon, Caddis Fly, disconnect the dots, Marihilda, jaybomb81, SoCalSal, SteelerGrrl, just another vortex, bluck, Catlady62, rscopes, zenox, stlsophos, jham710, DRo, Chitown Kev, Mentatmark, caryltoo, Proud Liberal Dem, Auriandra, ParkRanger, MichaelNY, Davui, PrometheusUnbound, too young to give up, StPeteDave, No one gets out alive, Mathazar, YaNevaNo, IowaBiologist, AnnetteK, quill, chmood, ridemybike, JTinDC, KiB, RhodaA, Heart n Mind, sow hat, StonyB, cwsmoke, TheLizardKing, Jakkalbessie, EclecticCrafter, wordfiddler, dance you monster, Mebby, Eric Nelson, danny6114, S F Hippie, barkingcat, rukidingme, Farkletoo, deanarms, Yonkers Boy, congenitalefty, CA ridebalanced, swedepi, This old man, Mr Robert, Slightly Wobbly, peachcreek, Forward is D not R, readerwriter, Leo Flinnwood, Karelin, reginahny, radical simplicity, Nztorg, bewareofme, Murphoney, pittie70, doroma, New Minas, cassandracarolina, micwazoo, james321, Victim of Circumstance, Glen The Plumber, MikeIa, dotdash2u, George3, Kayjay, pashber, databob, fauve, Bisbonian, AZ Sphinx Moth, this just in, Robynhood too, WheninRome, edr, Hammerhand, Most Awesome Nana, GeoffT, KingTag, Abelia, Lily O Lady, Blue Bell Bookworm, nomandates, DamselleFly, Dancun74, nolagrl, kickthecan, remembrance, LostBuckeye, SanFernandoValleyMom, DownstateDemocrat, weck, gypsytoo, PHScott, mtnlvr1946, Southcoast Luna, susancool, Alhambra, leeleedee, ggfkate, D minor, paccoli, lina, northerntier, Icicle68, Nyerd, BitterEnvy, Smoh, GrannyRedBird, Laura Wnderer, ET3117, Eltearpdx, MessagingMatters, rigcath, zeninubasho, marcr22, kmackle, Kay Observer2, eponym99, snazzymike, chicklet, Pirogue, Jim Domenico, duhban, XenuLives, Paddy Ryan, pipercity1, listencloser, Xenophanes, BLou Islander, portlandval, progressivist, Ivan Shaver, CenPhx

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site