THE BLOG
03/24/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Scott Brown's Rhetoric of Political Nonsense (Part I)

The rhetoric of political nonsense has a long and distinguished history. What's more important is that it is not Darwinian. That is, it doesn't evolve from political nonsense into political sense. Rather it replenishes itself on the fiction of the past and reinvents itself as the fiction of the present only to be superseded by a fiction of the future.

I can't remember when I first heard the rhetoric of political nonsense. To the best of my recollection it was during the 1960 Democratic Convention. I remember hearing a lot about doing this for "the children" and doing that for "our children" ad astra, ad nauseum. It was, of course, political nonsense then and it's political nonsense now since then I was the child they were all going to do things for and now I'm not and not a whole lot was done for me as a child if I'm one of those "baby boomers" now struggling as an adult. But each new candidate for whatever office s/he runs for can intone the rhetorical gods of political nonsense and utter the new, yet iterative, rhetoric that we've heard before.

Take Scott Brown for instance. From his website one can read such startling new and innovative rhetoric as:

Why I'm Running: America is a great country but we also have some challenges that we need to solve if we're going to remain the world's superpower. The most important of our challenges is getting the U.S. economy moving again. People are hurting as they struggle to make ends meet. They're worried about their future, and that of their children and grandchildren. I want to ensure that we leave them an America that is financially stronger and independent: minus a national debt that we can never repay.

One might think he or she were in the presence of someone like Thomas Jefferson with that kind of political acumen.

On the Economy: I am a free enterprise advocate who believes that lower taxes can encourage economic growth. Raising taxes stifles growth, weakens the economy and puts more people out of work.

Isn't this something we've heard from every other Republican since Reagan, if not before?

On Energy and Environment: I support common-sense environment policy that will help to reduce pollution and preserve our precious open spaces

Yes, that's the common sense environmental policy that goes by the rigorous and well-researched document titled: "Common Sense Environment Policy."

On Education: I am passionate about improving the quality of our public schools.

Now there's something we can believe in.

On Immigration: I recognize that our strength as a nation is built on the immigrant experience in America. I oppose amnesty, and I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.

Cutting edge rhetoric. No details where none needed.

On Veterans: I believe we need to recognize the sacrifice of all of our service members by keeping better track of returning military personnel so they get the services they deserve. That includes providing them with first-class medical care and other benefits to which they are entitled.

No, let's just let them languish in the VA hospitals where they're languishing in now.

On Gun issues: I support the Second Amendment and believe that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms as a basic constitutional liberty. I support safe and responsible gun ownership.

Of course, since the 2nd Amendment is such an instrumental part of 21st century Americana.

On the Death penalty: I believe there are some crimes that are so heinous that they deserve capital punishment. Our Government should have the ability to impose the death penalty in cases where it is justified.

So, the government isn't too big after all?

On Abortion: I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

So, the government isn't too big after all?

On Marriage: I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

So, the government isn't too big after all?

Now let's deconstruct some of Scotty's rhetorical nonsense. America is a great country. Yes, we've been telling ourselves that for years and we believe it. Are we the greatest country in the world? Well, no and perhaps that's what Scotty was thinking when he said we have some challenges that need to be solved to remain the world's superpower.

According to Scotty, the economy needs to get moving again. Yet another bit of rhetorical political nonsense that never fails to garner applause regardless of how empty the empty rhetoric is. Then there's the line about "the children" that one has to include in any rhetoric of political nonsense, plus the line about leaving them, the children, an America that is financially stronger and independent. Of course, this comment begs the question, financially stronger than what? Wasn't it his fellow Republican GW Bush who helped America into the sewers of financial abyss by allowing checks and balances to run themselves. Independent? Of whom? As of May, '09 the United States owed China almost $800 billion which makes one ask: Where did that debt come from? When Reagan took office, the debt was $909 billion. When he left it was $3,206 billion. Bush ran that up from $5,628.7 to $9,985.8 or 70% of the GDP.

The rhetoric of political nonsense is something that never ends. Repeats itself and as it does mocks itself accordingly. It doesn't matter whether it comes from the left or the right since the Rhetoric of Political Nonsense has no real direction that way. Only the faces change. The rhetoric lives on.