Friday, May 27, 2011

Background: Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric

Richard Wirthlin was Reagan's political adviser.  He helped the Gipper win the White House by coaching him on words and phrases that would sell to the general public.

It was really a blend of acting and science.  Wirthlin provided the science.  Through focus groups and monitoring real-time reactions to his speeches, Wirthlin was able to come up with his package called "Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric."

The idea was to use lots of warm and fuzzy phrases and avoid the distasteful ones.

The warm and fuzzy themes were things like family, work, neighborhood, peace, freedom...

Does that sound familiar?  Politicians have become masters at it.

Remember GWB telling us, "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande River," suggesting amnesty for illegal aliens because they believe in providing for their families.

Obama does the same thing, as shown in his El Paso speech: "While applications -- while applicants wait for approval, for example, they’re often forbidden from visiting the United States.  Even husbands and wives may have to spend years apart.  Parents can’t see their children.  I don’t believe the United States of America should be in the business of separating families"

His speech is filled with themes like education, family, work, military service...

We must watch for Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric and recognize it for what it really is; an effort to package simply-minded, sugar-coated ideas that mask the complexity of the problem at hand and fill the air with flowery words that mask the agenda.


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