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Political Rhetoric

When Edward Met Hillary

John Llewellyn | Posted 01.06.2015 | Politics
John Llewellyn

Former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (R-Mass.) died Jan. 3 at age 95; he was lauded as the first African American elected to the Senate and as a moderate voice in the Republican Party. He has another historical moment as well: he was present at, and a catalyst for, an early spontaneous statement of political values by Hillary Rodham (later Clinton).

I'm a Values Voter, And Why You Are Too

Peter Paskale | Posted 11.29.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

Phrases like Values Voter and Moral Majority are badges of political honour, worn with pride by certain sections of the electorate. Look a little closer though and you'll spot an interesting fact about these terms - they are completely meaningless.

On White House Lawn, Obama Strategically Underplays Attack on ISIL

Peter Paskale | Posted 11.24.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

It wasn't a speech. It wasn't even an address. It was a book report. Speaking Tuesday on the White House lawn as Marine 1 spooled up it's engines behind him, President Obama tripped-up the media.

Political Oxymorons -- the Birthplace of Brilliant

Peter Paskale | Posted 10.29.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

Oxymorons ever so slightly screw with accepted realities. They slam the right combination of the wrong words together in such a way that they open up whole new lines of thought.

Sucked Down by a DREAMer's Ambush Interview

Peter Paskale | Posted 10.13.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

It was a political ambush, and in deciding to stand and fight, Steve King had lost before he'd even started. The whole idea of a political ambush is that it's lose-lose for the ambushed.

Straw Today, Stones Tomorrow

Peter Paskale | Posted 10.07.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

As the big bad wolf will gladly confirm, it's way easier to blow-down a house of straw. It's such an accepted strategy within communications that is even has a name -- The Straw-Man Fallacy -- and that's why NRA commentator Dom Raso is claiming gun rights should be extended to blind people.

Revealing Janet Yellen's 'Double Bluff' Strategy

Peter Paskale | Posted 09.30.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

Speaking slowly and clearly, and especially speaking slowly and clearly in a monotone, is the best way to throw someone's concentration off. That's the technique Janet Yellen used this week in an attempt to throw Senator Elizabeth Warren off-balance during a financial hearing.

Why Joni Ernst's Credibility Is Out of Loop

Peter Paskale | Posted 08.04.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

When politicians claim to hold two contradictory positions at once, electorates should be on their guard. One of those positions has got to be false. Newly selected Republican senate nominee for Iowa, Joni Ernst, is having just such a problem.

Bluffed, Baffled and Bewildered: How Rand Paul Bilked Berkeley

Peter Paskale | Posted 05.20.2014 | Politics
Peter Paskale

Many are seeing Sen. Rand Paul as Daniel emerging unscathed from the lion's den having performed some form of political miracle. Look a little closer though and you'll see the natural results of a good speech, a well planned message, and above all, a flattered audience.

Shutdown and Default: Republicans Want to Change the Subject, Democrats Shouldn't Let Them

Doug Hattaway | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Doug Hattaway

A content analysis of the language used by Republican leaders in news and social media shows "debt" overtaking "Obamacare" in the words most frequently used in GOP quotes and sound bites.

Coping With the "Crazies" in D.C. and Elsewhere

Robert Hoch | Posted 12.11.2013 | Religion
Robert Hoch

How do we temper "rifled" barbs and hot-tempered outbursts? Well, I suppose we begin not with the "crazies" in our offices and workplaces, but with the "crazy" in us.

War of Words: Democrats Need to Keep the Heat on the GOP for Holding America 'Hostage'

Doug Hattaway | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Doug Hattaway

An analysis of the words used by national leaders in news and social media discussion of the crisis shows that Democrats have, indeed, used that emotionally charged language -- and they should use it more often.

Love Thy Economy as Thyself

Anat Shenker-Osorio | Posted 11.27.2013 | Politics
Anat Shenker-Osorio

The economy doesn't actually have needs, desires or preferences - we do. If our elected representatives, now working on the economy's behalf, want to screw us, we at least deserve dinner first. Something a little nicer than you can purchase with food stamps.

The Irony of Revolutions

Don Waisanen | Posted 10.28.2013 | Politics
Don Waisanen

With Egypt the focus of continuing news attention this past month, it's worth reflecting on the hard work that accompanies political reform.

Ultrasound Obsession!

Rick Horowitz | Posted 08.22.2013 | Politics
Rick Horowitz

And their language is Ultra-Orwellian! ...

Rhetoric -- Ours or Theirs?

John R. Burbank | Posted 07.05.2013 | Politics
John R. Burbank

"Reform" is a word we have lost and conservatives have taken over. Reform has become a code word for decreasing Social Security and Medicare benefits, for commodifying, marketizing, and privatizing public education, de-funding public higher education and insuring that no rich child is left behind.

What's in a Name?

J. Travis Smith | Posted 04.29.2013 | Politics
J. Travis Smith

Rhetorical manipulation clouds reality. We aren't debating the facts anymore, but how the facts are delivered.

To Change Washington, Obama Must Turn to Main Street - Part III

Richard C. Harwood | Posted 03.25.2013 | Politics
Richard C. Harwood

Americans intuitively know that it will take a collection of small steps to put the nation and their lives on a better path. There is no quick fix. And yet so many people lack the belief that the nation is even capable of coming together to take those steps.

Why I Like Negative Ads

Jonathan Haber | Posted 02.08.2013 | Media
Jonathan Haber

I actually like negative ads. I know this might seem counterintuitive, given that negative ads suffer from so many shortcomings critical thinking-wise. But negative ads at least present an argument.

Campaign Finance -- Solved!

Jonathan Haber | Posted 02.04.2013 | Politics
Jonathan Haber

No one in his or her right mind would spend over a billion to win an election unless the value of victory was much higher than that, which in the case of winning the presidency includes influence over trillions in spending (not to mention the other extraordinary powers and perks of office).

Critical Thinking: How Long Does it Take?

Jonathan Haber | Posted 01.29.2013 | Education
Jonathan Haber

Far from being some form of esoteric knowledge, critical thinking turns out to be one of the more easy-to-learn and pragmatic skills available to all. Or at least all those willing to put in the reasonable amount of work needed to achieve success.

Will Team Obama Blow It by Not Labeling Romney the Etch-A-Sketch Candidate?

Joseph Romm | Posted 12.08.2012 | Politics
Joseph Romm

Even though the Romney campaign has apparently changed its losing strategy of being an "extreme conservative," team Obama has so far failed to respond with the obvious, winning strategy -- labeling Romney the Etch-A-Sketch candidate.

Natasha Trethewey Begins her Domestic Work as Poet Laureate

Nicole Brittingham Furlonge | Posted 09.25.2012 | Arts
Nicole Brittingham Furlonge

This month, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey officially began her stint as Poet Laureate of the United States. One of Trethewey's poems that I return to often is "Housekeeping."

Obama's Other Climate Messaging Mistake

Joseph Romm | Posted 11.14.2012 | Green
Joseph Romm

President Obama's failure to speak out repeatedly on the urgency of climate action is his biggest communications mistake. If our leaders don't talk about an issue, it generally won't become sufficiently salient for either the media or the public.

How to Give a Winning Speech Like Obama and Clinton

Joseph Romm | Posted 11.07.2012 | Politics
Joseph Romm

Everyone would like to be as memorable and effective a speaker as Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. And the fact is that anyone can because there is really just one big secret to being a memorable speaker -- knowing how to use the figures of speech.