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View Diary: NO, NOT AGAIN !!! Mr. President, and all Dems - please stop saying "We" when you mean "Republicans" (38 comments)

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  •  But in order to fulfill that purpose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee, erush1345

    the audience must be appropriately addressed, and with dignity and respect, including for those who don't know if they are included in this speech; this says "This speech is for all."

    No speech is purposeful nor can any speech successfully be persuasive if it does not correctly identify its audience.

    These are, of course, not my own novel ideas! These are basic, basic level ideas in Rhetorical Theory, which is the basis for all persuasive speech.

    Nothing is being done in the name of any rhetorical device. A rhetorical device (in this case, a pronoun) is being used to service an end, which is to persuade.

    •  It does not persuade people of your position (0+ / 0-)

      if you misstate your position to your detriment.

      If you accept partial responsibility for something that is not at all your fault.  And I guarantee you that many people will see it that way, and not as in inclusive rhetorical device.

      If you are with someone else being interrogated by the police about a crime, and if you say to the police, gesturing to both yourself and the actual perpetrator, that "we" did commit the crime, you're probably going to go to jail based on your confession even though you're innocent.

      There is a time and place for rhetorical devices.  This was definitely not one of them.  Republicans don't understand rhetorical devices.  They will twist and misconstrue everything a Dem says to score points.

      "You didn't built that."  Need I say more?

      •  All speech happens through rhetoric (0+ / 0-)

        unless then in a very few, esoterically theorized modes of communication (riffing off of Bakhtin here and a bit of Calvino, oddly). So I don't understand your statement. Can you try restating it again, kindly? I'm not able to follow your line of thought here through most of this.

        Rhetorical techniques are not the same as rhetorical devices, per se, although there can be some overlap. All speakers speaking employ rhetorical techniques without knowing it. Again, this isn't mine, but borrow mainly from Lakoff and a few others. This, as all speech acts, to quote Searle, was a time and place for a rhetorical act by virtue of it being a speech act. This is more advanced stuff, sorry, which I realize I know well. But my basic point is that I don't quite understand your comment, perhaps due to my fault as readily as yours; is it possible for you to rephrase that for me, so that I understand it?


        •  This is my last attempt (0+ / 0-)

          There is zero similarity between, say, MLK's use of inclusive rhetoric and what the President said.

          The whole point of what MLK was doing was to try to get whites to view blacks as part of the same America.  Anything he said to associate the races was a positive.  Of course, he never said anything like "Tonight, when we get in bed with our white women,..." - he would not have used the word "we" in that context.  But the point is that MLK's entire goal was inclusivity, which is not at all the President's entire goal.  It was too much of the President's goal in his first term, his mistaken belief that bipartisanship still works in this country, and it almost destroyed his Presidency.  

          Are there situations where the President should emphasize inclusivity?  Of course.  Look at his "we are not a red America or a blue America, we are the United States of America."  And his statements that he will be President of 100% of the people, not 47%.  That is the time for inclusive rhetoric.

          The mere fact, as you put it, that "this speech is for all" as the audience, does not at all mean that the President should use the word "we" when talking about terrible things the Republicans want to do.  He should use the word "we" only when he is talking about things he wants all of us to do.

          When Dem politicians are fighting a messaging war with Republicans over dramatically different policies in this highly partisan atmosphere, in which the Republican party cares nothing about compromise and thinks it is in a holy war, the situation is much more like my courtroom trial analysis.  You are trying to get the jury, voters, to choose to support your position over the other side's.  You don't want to give ammunition to the other side, by giving them quotes that are unclear, can be misconstrued, or seem to accept equal blame for a terrible result.  In this situation, it is political malpractice to say, e.g., "We shouldn't collectively have done this or that horrible act" rather than to say "Stop voting for Republicans; they keep doing this or that horrible act."  The first one doesn't work, and the second one does.  End of matter.  It is as bad as the false equivalency that the Beltway is so fond of, and that is just as harmful to Democratic political interests.

          We are not talking about what makes a great speech, or what is uplifting; we are talking about how to win a war where a shift of 1.5% from one side to the other is all the difference in an election.

          You keep talking about rhetoric in the abstract, but in all your comments you have never once talked specifically about its political implications in the particular situations we are talking about, such as taking partial responsibility for holding the middle class hostage.  

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