Conservatism has fallen apart over the last decade (plus), as the TheoCons and NeoCons have taken over the intellectual roots of the movement founded in the postwar years. Here is a useful and well composed narrative of the break between the coalition.
Archive for the ‘Political Rhetoric’ Category
We saw a great film recently, with a plotline deeply concerned with politics and rhetoric. The film “No” is a Chilean production and is a artistically-liscensed treatment of the 1988 referendum on the Pinochet regime. The protagonist, a communications consultant, argues against using the opposition’s limited airtime to show images of the regime’s brutality — in favor of sunny images of democracy as “allegria” (happiness). In watching I was reminded of the scene from George Orwell’s 1984 in which Winston Smith is tortured not literally, but virtually — with interrogators telling him his worst fears were behind the door of room 101…but never opening the door. In this case, the Chilean people did not need the door opened, for they knew all too well what was behind it. Show them the opposite, the protagonist argues, and they will see behind the door. It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking, not to mention an exposition of rhetorical theory.
There is a rhetorical battle going on in Washington over the word “balanced.” In his excellent POLITICO article published today, Jonathan Allen explains how both sides in the budget battle are trying control the word’s meaning in the ongoing fiscal debate. As Allen writes, one sides wants to talk about ”balanced budget” while the other wants a “balanced approach.”
My review, published yesterday in the Greensboro News & Record, of William Chafe’s joint biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A solid piece of work with some provocative analysis of the personal and public lives of these two remarkable partners in power.
And yes, that’s the Clintons. (Great hair, Bill!) Chafe’s book has no photo section, so I dug around to find this one, used in the Salon article by Chafe about the various stories concerning the Clintons’ first meeting, at Yale in 1970.
My latest column with Scot Faulkner on the sorry state of affairs in the Republican Party.
Apparently some other folks are picking up on our idea that all the GOP needs to do is rework its “messaging” — Jon Stewart skewered my old boss Frank Luntz in the first segment of his show last night.
My op-ed today, written along with Scot Faulkner, on the controversial comments from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory about liberal arts education — and how McCrory seems to be just one more conservative shouting into the know-nothing conservative echo chamber. Plenty of folks have commented on this, including many friends and colleagues in academia. Our take is a bit different: That McCrory is actually betraying conservative principles. But then again, as Scot and I have been writing over the past weeks, there’s not much left of the conservative movement.
Today, McCrory’s trying to walk back his statements but refuses to acknowledge what he actually said.
Article first published in the Raleigh News & Observer on January 31, 2013.
My second installment at POLITICO co-authored with my friend and conservative veteran Scot Faulkner, on the total disappearance of anything resembling a conservative movement or conservative leadership. Scot and I share different political viewpoints, but have been coming together to address what we both view as a failure of governance on the national scale.
Whatever one’s views of Generals David Petraeus or John Allen, perhaps the most baffling aspect of this affair is how ignorant of, or susceptible to, these high ranking men are of modern communications technology. Petraeus thought he could hide his philandering emails using shared gmail drafts — avoiding direct computer-to-computer transmissions like traditional email and its digital point-to-point Internet Protocol trail.
This was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, mind you. I had a freshman student in my college communications class tonight give a presentation on Google’s sharing technologies which, apparently, surpassed Gen. Petraeus’ understanding. Woops.
And then there’s Gen. Allen. Who knows what he was doing with Tampa “socialite” Jill Kelley or anyone else in this unfolding soap opera. But over the span of a couple of years, who has time to send 20,000-30,000 pages of emails to anyone? Let alone someone running a war? I have to remind my students to turn off their smartphones and handhelds at the start of class; it appears no one was in a position to tell the head of the war in Afghanistan to spend less time emailing his “friend” while his soldiers’ lives were on the line. The stereotypes about technology use and age just suffered a reality check with this evidence of Allen’s apparent email obsession and Petraeus’ outright ignorance.
Posted in Campaign Trail, Conservatism, Political Rhetoric, tagged Barack Obama, Charles Krauthammer, Chris Christie, Chris Matthews, Conservatives, David Frum, Fox News, Laura Ingraham, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Peggy Noonan, Republicans, rhetoric, Rush Limbaugh on November 8, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
After President Obama’s decisive victory last night, the reaction from the conservative chattering class has been fast and furious (to coin a phrase) and they’re all over the map. Starting with Karl Rove’s on-air conspiracy theorizing about stolen votes in Ohio, the bloviators and echo chamber residents — as well as the more thoughtful folks on the right — are at it with a wide array of finger-pointing allegations, none of which seem to include the fact that Americans just plain rejected the Republican message.
Here is the top ten list:
1) Romney wasn’t conservative enough. (Laura Ingraham)
2) Romney was too conservative. (David Frum)
3) Romney needed to reach minorities and broaden the base. (Marco Rubio)
4) White Americans have too much guilt to vote against the first Black President. (Rush Limbaugh)
5) Half of the country likes handouts rather than working so they vote Democratic. (Rush and in turn Sean Hannity)
6) Liberals like Chris Matthews were happy about the hurricane Sandy, which clinched it for Obama — and Chris Christie is a closet Democrat. (Fox News)
7) The entire mainstream media was in the tank and handed Obama his victory. (Rich Noyes)
8) The Romney campaign was inadequately managed. (Peggy Noonan)
9) Wingnuts like Donald Trump highjacked the mainstream GOP message. (Steve Schmidt)
10) The GOP did not rely enough on its “strong bench” of up and coming leaders. (Charles Krauthammer)
This schizophrenic reaction is telling. Another view, which I and some more thoughtful conservatives and students of conservatism hold, is that the movement has fallen apart, lost its intellectual bearings, and needs to right itself or accept its status as a permanently frustrated, disorganized minority.