Re: AC's latest comment--
San Jose State University: Straw Man
Why are politicians always so willing to tell you what the other side thinks? One reason is that, in explaining someone else's views, we have a chance to oversimplify and even falsify them.....that is the purpose of this technique, which we call "straw man" (like a scarecrow) because it relies on the creation of a false image of someone else's statements, ideas, or beliefs.
Wikipedia: Straw man
A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position, twisting his words or by means of [false] assumptions.
To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
Generally, the straw man is a highly exaggerated or over-simplified version of the opponent's original statement, which has been distorted to the point of absurdity. This exaggerated or distorted statement is thus easily argued against, but is a misrepresentation of the opponent's actual statement.