During the latest Republican debate, Mike Huckabee tried to deflect criticism with this little joke:
Mr. Huckabee, for his part, responded with trademark humor. “The Air Force has a saying that says if you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target,” he said. “I’m catching the flak; I must be over the target.”
The line probably played well on TV, but it doesn't make any sense, as Harvard's Greg Mankiw noted. In logical form, Huckabee's claim can be described this way (where ~A means "not A"):
Unfortunately, the second statement does not follow from the first, as Mankiw illustrated:
Similarly, if you're not an American citizen, you're not President of the United States. I am an American citizen, so I must be President of the United States.
However, the hip hop listeners among you know the best recent example of this illogic -- the song "This Is Why I'm Hot" by MIMS, which featured this chorus:
I'm hot 'cause I'm fly
You ain't [hot] 'cause you're not [fly]
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot
Maybe Huckabee has found a running mate?
Update 1/11 5:04 PM: Matthew Yglesias defends MIMS on grounds of "[i]nterpretive charity":
Nyhan's reading depends on construing MIMS as trying to make a logical inference with "'cause" as a material conditional but there's no need to do that. Interpretive charity suggest that we should understand MIMS to be making two logically independent causal claims: (1) he's hot because he's fly and (2) you're not hot because you're not fly. Perhaps MIMS believes that x is hot if and only if x is fly, or perhaps he doesn't. I don't, however, see a fallacy here.
Commenter Ernie P. suggests that MIMS may mean "You ain't [fly] 'cause you're not [hot]," which would be logically consistent. The Wikipedia entry for the song suggests, as does an Yglesias commenter, that MIMS actually means "you ain't [hot] 'cause you're not [hot]," which is even more tautological than fly->hot.
If you're not confused yet, there's a whole Village Voice article attempting to diagram the logic of MIMS.
PS If you haven't heard the song, here it is (via Yglesias):