Tag: rhetoric

“Harsh Words for G.O.P. From Obama”

The top political story today at the New York Times was adorned with a promising headline…

“Harsh Words for G.O.P. From Obama”

Okay! Tell it like it is, Barry! Sock it to those torture-pigs and perverts!

Liars! Cowards! Whores!

Satanic ministers of violence and greed!

What is their foreign policy?


What is their domestic policy?


Who is their master?


But instead of an accurate identification of “conservatism” with the Satanic agenda of greed and violence…

And a radical re-alignment of the Democratic Party in accord with the defining Christian principles of peace and charity…

What kind of “harsh words” did Barack Obama apply the the Republicans?

“I just want everyone to remember – we’ve tried the other side’s theories,” he said at a town-hall-style meeting. “We know what their ideas are. We know where they led us. So now we’ve got a choice: We can return to what we know did not work, or we can build a stronger future. We can go backwards or we can go forward. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward in this country.”

“I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward in this country.”

You can’t argue with that!

Sure I’ll take a side of Socialist Rhethoric with my Holiday Ham

Aren’t Holidays with the Family a hoot —

especially when “Fans of Fox News” see it as an Opportunity,

to test out their latest Socialism Fear tactics?

Parroting Winger Talking Points is one thing —

But claiming every Govt program is actually a dangerous Socialist Plot,

is really verging on the edge of lunacy …

Responding with civility and common sense — in between helpings of three-bean-casserole, and slices of ham —

can be Challenging to say the least …  

The Nut-Bags On The Left… ish

Holy fucking Moley, Batman! They’ve all gone batshit crazy over there!!!

Yeah, I’m talking GOS, and at least one person I used to think might be halfway sane when encountered here, but have now had to re-think that assumption. Gonna have to re-tune my empathy-o-meter some.

The Kabuki is all the way to high dudgeon today, they’re playing at “who’s more baggy than the Teabaggers” with a huge overtone of “head for the hills!” and “Mama, fetch the gun!” and all sorts slapstick looniness and FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!!!!!

No wonder I gave up on ’em way back last year. Guess I’m gonna have to give up on ’em again. Sigh. Think I’ll go plant more peas…

Obama, strawmen and the triangulation model of rhetoric

I wrote a comment on Orange and thought it was worth saying here.  I first became aware of this tactic from reading David Sirota and Big Tent Democrat in late 2006, when Obama was first talking about running.  I resisted in my understanding, however, because I wanted to believe.  It involves binary oppositions, strawmen and triangulation.

It’s the triangulation model of rhetoric.  President Obama does it a lot, again today.  He posits two extremes, well meaning, but wrong, and then places himself in the pragmatic middle.  It’s an easy rhetorical game.  You define the extremes in such a way that your position, no matter what it is, is the “reasonable” one.  Often the postions are mischaracterized, i.e., strawmen created, so that the middle position is obviously better than the well meaning but wrong headed “extremes.”

It’s very effective, but it is a rhetorical game.  Obama today:

We see that, above all, in how the recent debate has been obscured by two opposite and absolutist ends. On one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and who would almost never put national security over transparency. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: “anything goes.” Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants – provided that it is a President with whom they agree.

Both sides may be sincere in their views, but neither side is right. The American people are not absolutist, and they don’t elect us to impose a rigid ideology on our problems. They know that we need not sacrifice our security for our values, nor sacrifice our values for our security, so long as we approach difficult questions with honesty, and care, and a dose of common sense. That, after all, is the unique genius of America. That is the challenge laid down by our Constitution. That has been the source of our strength through the ages. That is what makes the United States of America different as a nation.



Obama’s been doing it for a long time.  It works, so long as no one critically analyzes what he says.  For example, was the Bush program really “anything goes”?  As bad as they were, they had some limits.  Granted, their limits were pretty damn low.  But I don’t see evidence of electricity applied to genitals, etc.  Bush did leave office.  I opposed Bush totally, but what he did was bad enough on its own.  See it for what it was.  He should have been impeached during his first term.  

Do the critics of Obama’s moderation on these issues really NEVER put national security over transparency?  That’s many of the people here he’s characterizing.  

Those are strawmen and Obama knows it.  

More, after the fold.  

I need something to change your mind

This will be a historical look at the art of mind-changing.  The political reality of the day requires that a lot of people change their minds about political realities, and especially about what is and what isn’t “on the table” in terms of permitted political action.  

So, what we need to do is understand what it takes to change people’s minds; then, when we’ve figured that out, it’s time to change some minds, and change the world.  This essay will examine a number of historical figures who are relevant on the topic of mind-changing; and then it will surface for air by discussing the political platform it set up at the beginning and asking its reading audience: “what would change your mind?”

(crossposted at Big Orange)  

A Reality-Based Agenda for the ’08 Campaign

Here it is.  It comes in three parts:

1) a “reality-based” political agenda for the future.

2) a discussion of the pragmatics (relation of discourse to hearers/readers) of political agendas

3) a critique of a successful politician’s agenda.

(crossposted on ecosocialism)