Ad hominem fallacy…

You never know where a good idea might come from. It is because of this simple truism that every person who runs for the presidency should be taken seriously in the sense that their ideas should be given due consideration.

If one’s ideas prove unworthy, then we should remove that person from serious consideration. To remove someone from consideration prior to the articulation of their platform, based on past transgressions, is a form of the ad hominem fallacy. Even someone such as Carol Moseley-Braun might come up with something good.

Howard Kurtz considers her campaign for President in light of her troubled political past. Yes, her past should give us pause. Yes, she has no chance of being elected. But, also yes, the press should take her seriously (as defined above) until such time that her current articulation of the issues proves that she is unworthy.

So, does this mean that any objectionable person should be taken seriously each time they embark on a new political venture? Good question. And I’m not sure I have a good answer. Rather, I am asserting an admittedly idealistic principle that I would hope might be adopted by the press in regard to candidates: Listen carefully to what candidates propose because a good idea can spring from unlikely sources. The converse of this principle is interesting to think about in light of our current situations.

This does not suggest that Moseley-Braun deserves the same level of coverage afforded to candidates such as Kerry, Dean, Edwards, and Lieberman. She most certainly does not deserve a pass.