Rhetoric Watch: How Rick Perry Parries

This blogger nails it:

Perry’s rules of rhetorical engagement boil down to 1) constantly impugn your opponents’ motives by insinuation; 2) shamelessly misrepresent their policies; 3) tag existing federal programs and functions with inflammatory and manifestly inaccurate labels; 4) eschew presenting any specific reform programs for “broken” programs; and 5) when you do offer policy prescriptions, ignore any likely obstacles to their success.

A democracy that allows such a candidate to get anywhere near consideration for its highest office is in danger of not remaining a democracy for long.

But we’re not a democracy, are we? We’re already very far from being a democracy. We’re a plutocracy that achieves the consent of the governed through mass media manipulation, not vulnerability in dialogue and debate.

But his general points about Perry are taken. The Republicans stand ready to put up yet another Reagan-style sunny irrationalist for the presidency. And, because his heart tends in the right (wing) direction, that’s considered sufficient to assure that the country takes a pro-business course (which, ultimately, is all that matters).

Better a conservative irrationalist veering in a direction that’s in line with the country’s libertarian impulses than a liberal rationalist who steers the country in the direction of socialism.

That, at any rate, is the conservative calculation for 2012. And, as a liberal rationalist, I must admit that it’s likely to be a winner.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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