• Rick Laib

11 Arguments against 11 Reasons

I'd like to try an argument out on you. Tell me what you think:

"You should vote for Rick Laib for Congress because he is the tallest candidate."

I hope this smacks of being logically problematic since there are several issues with this argument. Tell you what, let's try another:

"You should vote for Rick Laib for Congress because he loves ice cream."

Again, do you see the problems? Both claims are true; I am the tallest candidate, and I do love ice cream. But what, you should ask yourself, do these claims have to do with representing someone in Congress? Said another way, "Why would being tallest or a lover of ice cream be a benchmark for success in government?" Said yet another way, "While these claims are true, why would they persuade me to vote for one individual or against another?"

You see friends, in argumentation more is needed than just "true" claims. What if their absence were true? Couldn't someone be the best candidate even if they weren't the tallest or didn't love ice cream? Of course they could. Which brings me to the list of "good reasons" to vote for my opponent--a list my opponent recently sent to voters. Let's look at them one by one, shall we?

1. "Endorsed by over 60 Conservative and Republican leaders"

Good on him for receiving these endorsements. Do we know by what standard they compared the two of us before making their endorsement? Homework for the voters, I suppose.

2. "Funds raised in 4th Quarter to mount strong campaign to defeat Bill Foster"

My opponent has raised more funds than I have. Should we automatically yield to people with more money? We have seen, both in Illinois and out, political candidates who were unqualified candidates but had money. The incumbent Congressman has more money than both of us put together--should we both just yield to him?

3. "Phase out Medicare and Medicaid"

My opponent takes a break from insufficient reasoning to cite an actual disagreement between us: I believe and would advocate for the government getting out of the healthcare business. Many have paid into Medicare and Medicaid for years and are relying on it, which is why it would seem prudent to develop a plan to "phase it out" rather than "abandon." Apparently my opponent disagrees.

4. "Ran for State Rep. against tough Democrat incumbent"

I think the argument my opponent means to say is: "In running against a tough Democrat incumbent, I did better than Rick Laib." But we each ran in different districts and in different times...and against different candidates! Who's to say the candidate he ran against wasn't more beatable? Political culture, excitement, and interest varies by year and geographic location. So what does this have to do with present electability?

5. "Endorsed by largest Federal pro-family organization in Illinois, Family-PAC Federal"

I don't deny that the Family-PAC organization exists, but there seems to be some question as to what they stand for. This would seem far more persuasive of a point if the questioner knew exactly what makes them a "pro-family" organization. Why this particular organization endorses one, or does not endorse another, is foggy.

6. "Service on Local, State, and Regional US Chamber of Commerce Boards"

Again, what does his service on these boards, or more specifically my lack of service on these boards, have to do with electing one candidate over another for Congress? Let's return to this after we look at...

7. "Employed hundreds of people, business owner"

See #6. And then also see: my career in public service. Has he served in the military? Has he served in law enforcement? Has he worked in security? Has he served on a SWAT team? I'm not a business owner--I've pursued other passions and I am proud of my service, and he should be proud of his. So why, please tell me, would being a business owner be a benchmark for persuasiveness over enforcing the law?

8. "Invited to Oval Office to meet President Trump"

So now the absence of invitations makes for unqualified candidates? What's happening here?!

9. "Has a specific plan to defeat Bill Foster"

Let's hope it doesn't involve argumentation proper.

10. "Serves on multiple volunteer community and public service boards"

See #6 and #7.

11. "Hosted over two dozen outreach coffees and town halls to listen to voters"

Couldn't anyone conceivably host two dozen outreach coffees and town halls in the next couple of days? Would that be persuasive to you? Probably not. Hosting parties and get-togethers speaks mostly to one's ability in "hosting parties and get-togethers" and, again, is not a persuasive characteristic.

In these 11 reasons, my opponent has done nothing more than describe himself. The claims are true, but they do not constitute "good" reasons in that they are not persuasive and are not presented in a manner that suggests the presenter isn't already convinced of the conclusion: that people should vote for him. Let me suggest an alternative: you will do best when your government focuses on what it was created to do. Specifically, to provide for true freedom and restrain evil. You will thrive the most when you limit government and seek self-reliance. Vote for the candidate you think will best work to that end.

Rick Laib is a Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District in Illinois. He can be reached at

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