start with Sean Hannity to punish him with his own weapon of choice
for his slander of the word "liberal" on his new book's
new book carries the subtitle: "Defeating Terrorism, Despotism,
and Liberalism." So, I don't see it as unfair to use the
same tactic against him to imply that his fifth appendage is not
of adequate size.
The tactic is obvious, simple, negative association, yet it has
proved amazingly effective. Frame an argument, fashion manipulative
rhetoric to shape perception and repeat, repeat, repeat.
this methodology, Republicans successfully have cleaved the voters
in the United States into manageable blocs that can be cleaved
no more. Hence their outreach to Latinos, blacks and women. They've
already successfully poached on working-class white males for
several election cycles by negatively associating Democrats with
hot-button social issues such as gay rights and affirmative action,
and have portrayed the party as being against hunting, fishing
a huge segment of white males who should be voting Democratic
out of economic self-interest have voted Republican. It is Republican
policies after all moving their jobs offshore, failing to reward
their increasing productivity with wage gains, closing factories
and putting health care out of reach.
Which brings me back to Sean Hannity's small ...
In the 2004 election cycle, words will be the coin of the realm
of political warfare as never before. Republican success with
the tactics of smearing their Democratic opponents with negative-association
evocations has gone to their heads and they've become sloppy.
Mayberry Machiavellians of the Bush White House, led by their
dweebish Rasputin, Karl Rove, have ramped up the strategic rhetoric
to such ridiculous heights that it is now counterproductive. Attuned
to the lies told to justify the Iraq war due to the threat from
weapons of mass destruction, and the public's bullshit filter
is in a very sensitive mode.
is why mere days after announcing that 2.6 million new jobs would
be created in the U.S. in 2004, the administration very publicly
backpedaled from that figure, with one political cartoonist opining:
"minus the million." The public isn't buying the Republican-programmed
BS anymore. And Democrats finally seem poised to return fire with
this weapon with the same gusto Republicans have been thumping
Democrats with it for the past three decades.
As Sun Tzu said, "All warfare is based on deception."
To wit, President Bush's plan to allow old-growth logging is called
the Healthy Forests Initiative, and his relaxing of air pollution
control standards through sheer deception to hide the amount of
mercury that would be allowed in air pollution and would benefit
only campaign-donating fossil-fuel coal plants is called Clear
The trick to shaping public perception comes from the repetition.
If I say that Sean Hannity has a small .... enough times, it becomes
the reality in the minds of those who've heard the strategic repetitive
this age of media overload, repetition is the key to getting the
consumers of the information to perceive it as intended and to
remember it. By repeating the charge that Sean Hannity has a small
.... and explaining again that the most successful attempt at
weakening Democrats comes from the right's decades-long demonization
of the word "liberal" you, the reader of this column,
are more likely to leave it remembering what I intended you to
In the real world, Webster's defines liberal with definitions
and synonyms such as "giving or given freely and unstintingly,"
"generous," "broad-minded ... not bounded by authoritarianism,"
"provided in an openhanded way," "not literal or
Republican National Convention-approved spin-meister Sean Hannity's,
who has a small ...., calls his new book "Deliver Us From
Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism." This
is the most vulgar example yet of the gang rape of progressives
by the radical right through obvious yet effective negative-association
have sought to redefine in the public mind what it means to be
a liberal, and they largely have succeeded. Democratic presidential
nominee John Kerry is always on the defensive when fending off
the "liberal" charge from the right, since the right
marshals its use of strategic repetitive rhetoric with the lock-step
precision of the Locke High School marching band. And Republicans
have become masters of deceptive rhetoric as well.
look at the Hannity subtitle. Hannity, he of the small ...., maliciously
slurs liberals by equating them with terrorists and despots. What
makes this doubly galling is that Hannity is among the first tier
in the ranks of the RNC-approved radio and television hacks for
the Republican Message. Hannity has a wide audience for his brand
For decades we've heard the phrase "culture war" coming
from the religious right in America, particularly from the rabble-rousers
on conservative extremist talk radio, like drug-abuser Rush Limbaugh's
program, and on the Hannity, the man with the small ....
The Republican Party, post-Nixon, adopted the phrase 'culture
war' and co-opted a willing army of zealots: "born-again"
Christians, anti-tax crusaders, anti-immigration types, pro-development
fat-cats, moralizers of every stripe, pro-Zionist neo-conservatives,
and the baddest apple in the barrel the Mayberry Machiavellian.
right-wing success grew, particularly in labeling Democrats "tax-and-spend
liberals" they grew ever more enamored of the process over
the content. The warfare terminology reflects fully the mindset
of those who gave rise to the planned and coordinated attack on
progressive politics in the U.S. since the 1970s.
up Democrats by altering how the public perceived them, through
framing arguments became almost an end in itself. It seems to
be the lone talent of the Bush administration and you can hear
it in the smug tone and rhetoric of campaign spokespeople from
Mary Matalin to press spokesman Scott McClellan. Nothing is ever
the president's fault.
according to Bush (in remarks given on Mar. 16), one million of
the jobs lost during his administration are due to the Sept. 11
attack. American jobs shipped overseas are now Osama's fault.
And I thought it was due to Sean Hannity's small ....
Perhaps Sean Hannity, and his small ...., should read Chalmers
Johnson, the former Cold Warrior and now harsh Bush critic: "I
think people are deeply disturbed by the triumphalism of the United
States, they believe that pride does go before a fall, that we
are behaving like a bully, like a bad winner, that we're not paying
attention to fundamentals, and that our political process is in
deep trouble. Washington, D.C., is almost surely the most corrupt
capital of any major advanced industrial democracy."
But those words, as eloquent as they are, are not the simplistic
stock-in-trade of what passes for modern political discourse
strategic repetitive rhetoric. The small .... types like Sean
Hannity should look in the mirror before they go off to war against
terrorists and despots and liberals.
those wishing a greater understanding of how the process of framing
works, University of California-Berkeley Professor of Cognitive
Science and Linguistics George Lakoff has written extensively
on the subject. His most recent public article can be accessed