How's Obama any better (or different) than George W. Bush?

For those people who still do not or cannot understand the question, here's yet another way of putting it:

Imagine a country where millions of people have been brainwashed into believing something that isn't true, which we'll call X. Now imagine that someone who isn't brainwashed comes along and says something that contradicts X, something we'll call Z.

People cry foul; "Z couldn't possibly be true when we KNOW X is true!"

But when they try to point out specific flaws with Z, they hit brick wall. They suddenly discover that X is absurd, not Z. Yet they still cling to X because they've been programmed to believe it's true.

The irony is that the people who are protesting this post and threatening to close it exhibit some characteristics of the X crowd. Like I said, don't make it harder than it is; if you have a brain, use it.

Remainder of original post...

At first glance, it looks like a "stupid question," yet even many of Obama's supporters would have a hard time offering a credible answer. The correct answer is "There's no significant difference," an answer many people would bitterly dispute. But Obama is no less war-like, is still presiding over torture, still panders to the rich and on and on.

Another example:

What has Bill Gates done to improve education or health care?

Some might answer that Gates has "donated" billions to both causes. But what tangible improvements can they cite?

So what do you call a question that, at first glance, seems stupid (e.g. one would think it could be easily answered) to the ignorant masses, yet, on closer inspection cannot be answered succinctly at all?

The term Trojan horse just popped into my head. I'm not sure if that would work or not. But it seems like a Trojan horse because such a question can easily inflame people (as evidenced by some of the comments below). Yet it can also be under-estimated or trivialized (thanks, NVA) by those people, because they think it can be easily shot down. Yet the question has such a solid foundation of facts and logic, it becomes a problem people wish would just go away. You might think of it as a question that sticks in one's craw.

However, it would be nice to find a word more unique than "Trojan horse" - a word or term that screams "A Trojan horse of a question!"

Some may be able to answer the question "easily" (e.g. quickly), but their answers only help make the case against Obama. We're still at war, we're still torturing people, health care in the U.S. is still a joke, and on and on. Don't make the question harder than it is; I could have titled my question "Reality vs Propaganda" or "Common Sense vs Brainwashing."

P.S. I'm looking for a word or term that describes the question, not the subject of the question. Moreover, the correct answer should presumably be a noun - or an adjective followed by "question." For example...

That question was a ______!


That was a ______ question!

Note: I chose "deceptively simple" as the correct answer because it's, well, deceptively obvious that it hits the nail on the head. Of course, lots of things can be described as deceptively simple, and I'd still like to find a term that specifically describes a question that seems foolish to ignorant or partisan people yet which is recognized by deeper thinkers as nothing more than common sense. I have a hunch some a term doesn't exist, in which case, you can count on me to coin a new term. ;)

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    The choice of examples seems trollish... If you don't want fruitless off-topic discussion about them, I'd advise changing them. (While I was writing this comment, the discussion began already.) Preferably to something non-political. You've already mentioned your opinions about George Bush and Bill Gates, but they're not really relevant to the question. – herisson Mar 13 '16 at 5:03
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    @sumelic "Seems" trollish? You're far too polite. – deadrat Mar 13 '16 at 5:51
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the question is a troll. – Hot Licks Mar 13 '16 at 13:22
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    The asker has made unquestioned assumptions to pose the dichotomy presented. This is the logical fallacy "begging the question" english.stackexchange.com/questions/305/… – user662852 Mar 13 '16 at 16:42
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    It seems like what you are really asking is "What do you call a question that, to my amazement, people have a different opinion about than I do?" Not everyone will agree with your logic or your opinions. When you put forth a question for the purpose of telling people they are wrong because they disagree with you, that's called trolling. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 15 '16 at 17:27

Such questions are often said to be deceptively simple.

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  • Wow, that's a bit of a brain-teaser itself. It's not what I was looking for, yet it admirably describes the question. I voted your answer up, but I may need another day to select a correct answer. – David Blomstrom Mar 13 '16 at 23:58



To make or cause to appear trivial: "tried to trivialize their criticisms."


the presentation of something as being smaller or less good or important than it really is.


To rate too low; underestimate.


an estimation that is too low; an estimate that is less than the true or actual value


A wrong judgement

Sell short

To underestimate the true value or worth of: "Don't sell your colleague short; she's a smart lawyer."

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  • Sorry, but "understatement" doesn't work for me. It suggests an error of degree - like accusing Bush or Obama of murdering hundreds of innocent civilians when their victims actually number in the thousands (or millions). Misjudged is better, perhaps even spot on, but I think the correct answer should be a noun. – David Blomstrom Mar 13 '16 at 5:27
  • What's the noun for of "misjudged"? That might be a good candidate. – David Blomstrom Mar 13 '16 at 5:31
  • @ NVZ - I personally think "misjudgment" is your best answer. But you don't need to delete the others; they add to the discussion. Unfortunately, my question is unexpectedly confusing. For example I asked about Obama isn't really a misjudgment - it's one that many people simply perceive as a misjudgment. – David Blomstrom Mar 13 '16 at 5:50
  • @DavidBlomstrom You've ostensibly asked what to call a question that seems stupid but is hard to answer. That would seem to call for an adjective. But the real problem is the contrast of stupid with difficult. Here's a stupid question that you can't answer: What's the difference between a duck? It's lack of an answer is tied to the fact that it's nonsense. Perhaps you mean a simple question like Fermat's last theorem, which a grade schooler could understand. Or a naive question like Can we always determine when two events are simultaneous? – deadrat Mar 13 '16 at 6:01
  • It's hard to put into words. Asking what the difference between Bush and Obama is seems "stupid" for the simple reason that most people assume there is a significant difference, not realizing that they're frighteningly similar. So 1) the question itself is sensible, but 2) many people THINK it's nonsensical. The question can in fact be easily answered: "There's no significant difference." But the average person would likely be stumped. The two questions you asked (Re: a duck and two events) are in no way related. – David Blomstrom Mar 13 '16 at 6:07

That question was a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing question!

That was a helluva wolf-in-sheep's-clothing question!

One of the greatest movie quotes of all time is from The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The GMAT does that all the time – it asks questions that are designed to look easy so that you choose an incorrect answer choice without even considering the difficult part. This works against you in two ways: first, you get the question wrong; second, you probably start to second-guess your performance based on the computer-adaptive format, thinking that the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing question you just saw was so easy that your score must be low. It never pays to think that a question is easy! (emphasis is mine.)


That question was a can of worms!

That was a can of worms of a question!

can of worms

A complex unexpected problem or unsolvable dilemma, as in Tackling the budget cuts is sure to open a can of worms. This expression alludes to a container of bait used for fishing, which when opened reveals an inextricable tangle of worms. [1920s] (emphasis is mine.)

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer

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  • This is a very good answer, because such questions can stimulate thought on discussion, indeed opening a can of worms in the minds of many people. I didn't choose this as the correct answer, but I voted it up. – David Blomstrom Mar 14 '16 at 1:35

If the question is seemingly stupid and easy, yet it is actually difficult to answer, you can say that the question is underestimated. (This is assuming that the question is not really a plain stupid question)

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    I don't think I've ever heard a question described as "underestimated". Do you have any examples? – deadrat Mar 13 '16 at 5:52
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    In fact, since the people are mistaken in underestimating it, one might even say that it is misunderestimated... – herisson Mar 13 '16 at 6:19
  • LOL - "Misunderestimated" is a classic Bushism. ;) – David Blomstrom Mar 15 '16 at 1:27

the questions cited by the OP are what I would call loaded

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question that contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt). Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda


Dictionary.com defines it as

A question heavy with meaning or emotional impact, as in When he inquired after Helen's ex-husband, that was a loaded question.
This term employs loaded in the sense of “charged with hidden implication.” [Mid-1900s ]

On an EL&U question: Is there a word/term for a question where the asker knows he'll criticise any answer? David M responded:

A loaded question is one where the person asking it has an agenda behind it. While there are other cases where a loaded question is the appropriate term, I believe this to be one type.

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