My latest post on GOPinsantity, the news aggregator blog, a watchdog against nutty “conservatives” (quotes intentional) who are wrecking the once respectable conservative movement. Did you know that some actual conservatives see the hypocrisy in the the party’s current rhetoric about budget deficits?
Posts Tagged ‘rhetoric’
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 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.
Posted in Conservatism, Media Criticism, tagged Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Buckley, Conservatives, Fox News, Liberalism, Mitt Romney, POLITICO, Republicans, rhetoric on November 13, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
In the aftermath of the trouncing last Tuesday, some in the media and on the Right are finally beginning to examine the consequences of the conservative echo chamber. I’ve had friends who have been part of the conservative movement for decades complaining to me about this for years, and the chickens are — yes — finally coming home to roost. How far we’ve come from the days when an editor named William F. Buckley Jr. used media, like National Review and Firing Line (a program broadcast on PBS) to provide a forum for informed debate and exchange of ideas.
Insightful analysis here from POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin, and a personal portrait of one loyal GOPer’s personal bubble-bursting experience in the Post. And for reference, Bill Maher has been talking about this (with a literal bubble as a prop) for years.
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.
The meme of the evening is most certainly President Obama’s rejoinder to Mitt Romney’s assertions about the size of the Navy now versus 1916. The Washington Post examined the matter seriously here.
But Obama delivered the rhetorical zinger of the night by acknowledging that “we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” but that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
Couldn’t help thinking of Jeff Daniels in his epic scene from the film Gettysburg, at the battle of Little Roundtop.
After a long hiatus, we are back with debate awards following tonight’s rumble on Strong Island.
Alexander P. Butterfield There Is A Taping System Award: Candy Crowley. For shutting down Mitt Romney’s bogus assertion that Obama did not use the phrase “terror attack” in his initial rose garden comments about the Benghazi consulate attack.
Bill Mazeroski Bottom of the Ninth Home Run Award: Barack Obama. With one minute to go, in extra innings, Romney served up a “100%” middle-of-the plate softball and the president hit it out of the park. If Obama had once again left out the 47% comment his supporters would have been up in arms. As it turned out, his opponent solved this problem for him.
Sarah Palin Red Herring Award: Mitt Romney, for his Fast and Furious attempts to throw red meat to the conservative base, who are obsessed with the Fast and Furious investigation. As a classic red herring rhetorical fallacy, it is true but not relevant.
Joseph N. Welch Have You No Decency Award: Barack Obama, for his indignant reaction to Mitt Romney’s suggestion that he was not appropriately presidential in his response to the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the resulting deaths of the Ambassador and embassy personnel.
Dan Rather Folksy Metaphor Award: David Axelrod. While we’d prefer to give the award to a Texan, the Rather Award must go to Axe, who told Lawrence O’Donnell in postgame spin that “the American people are not going to buy a $5 trillion pig in a poke.”
Newt Gingrich Moon Colony Award: Barack Obama. For using Mitt’s own line, used he so effectively in the GOP primaries against Newt, when he pilloried Newt’s goal of lunar colonization by saying that if one of his executives came to him with a proposal like that, he’d fire him.
Frequent Flier Metaphor Award: Chris Matthews. For calling Mitt Romney the guy on the plane who won’t get his cell phone as the flight attendants are trying to prepare for takeoff.
The full debate: