Clinton’s desperation

I missed the Democratic debate.  What happened and where does it leave the Democratic race?  At any rate, reportedly, the Clinton campaign is not happy.  The tactics against Sanders are to imply that he is anti-black and anti-woman.  And Bill Clinton has been unleashed.

Bill accused Bernie Sanders of hypocrisy because he too takes money for speeches.  In 2014, Sanders made $1,850, from a TV show, a publishing company, and a machinists’ union.  Hillary Clinton made $21 million, from Goldman Sachs, big banks, and big pharmaceutical companies.

Political operative Dick Morris analyzes the new rhetoric from the Clinton camp, seeing it as a sign of desperation.

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Clinton accuses Sanders of sexism and racism

Hillary Clinton and her organization are fending off the threat from the left by accusing Bernie Sanders–avowed socialist with impeccable leftist credentials–of sexism and racism!  This is because of these two statements he made during the debate:

In the debate, Sanders began by saying, “As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton [is] that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want.” A couple of minutes later, Sanders told former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: “We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.”

Can you explain what is so doubly bigoted about these two sentences?  Answer after the jump. [Read more…]

Do Republicans really want to kick women out of the country?

The chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, claims that all of the Republican presidential candidates are so anti-woman that they want to kick women out of the country.

There are many jokes to be made here.  Go ahead and make them if you want.  Seriously, though, I realize that political rhetoric today often consists of demonizing your opponents and making them out to be as bad as humanly possible.  But don’t we need to recognize some moral limits?  Do we just dismiss this remark as mere political exaggeration, or should we think less of those who resort to such ridiculous calumny? [Read more…]

Masking interest-group politics with ideological rhetoric

Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., discusses how New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tried, unsuccessfully, to block the online taxi service Uber from the Big Apple.  He points out how the Democratic mayor used “progressive” rhetoric–to the point of comparing Uber to the hated Wall Mart–as a cover for old-fashioned interest group politics, namely, advancing the agenda of the current New York City taxi industry, which has strong ties to the Democratic Party establishment.

What interests me especially in that column, excerpted after the jump, is his point about how ideological rhetoric is used to mask interest group politics.  The author says Hillary Clinton is doing this, though I’m sure both sides are guilty of doing so.   Can you think of other examples of this sort of thing? [Read more…]

New rhetorical strategies for the anti-gun crowd

Opponents of the Second Amendment, inspired by other rapid changes of public opinion, are formulating new ways of framing their arguments against the ownership of firearms:

  • Make gun ownership a public health issue, as with tobacco and drunk driving
  • Make gun ownership morally problematic, as with the Confederate flag
  • Adopt the language of  “liberty,” as in civil liberty, and “rights,” as in gay rights.  Freedom from guns.  The right not to bear arms.

See a columnist making all of these suggestions after the jump. [Read more…]

The mother of all attack ads

I was 12 years old when I watched Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ad that showed a little girl picking daisies followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast.  Even at the time, I understood the message:  Don’t vote for that extremist Barry Goldwater!  He will start a nuclear war!

Yes, the ad, if you thought about it was utterably lame (a little girl? daisies?), but it had to have contributed to LBJ’s landslide victory.  Drew Babb analyzes the political commercial, which aired as a paid advertisement one time only on September 7, 1964 (after that, it was endlessly re-run by the three networks who covered the ad itself as a piece of news).  He calls it the “mother of all attack ads.” [Read more…]