Speaking of rhetoric

Thinking about Rick Perry’s exclamation of glee in calling the President a Socialist, I remembered that Pew Research Center recently released a survey of the public’s views on political terms:

I suppose it goes without saying that Perry is, at the very least, appealing to the 60% of those who view such a term negatively. But there is a little more depth to the reactions of socialism (my emphasis in bold):

Of these terms, socialism is the more politically polarizing – the reaction is almost universally negative among conservatives, while generally positive among liberals. While there are substantial differences in how liberals and conservatives think of capitalism, the gaps are far narrower. Most notably, liberal Democrats and Occupy Wall Street supporters are as likely to view capitalism positively as negatively. And even among conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters there is a significant minority who react negatively to capitalism.

Ah ha! There we go – Perry was simply throwing out red-meat to the conservative base, in particular those who take over-heated rhetoric a little too seriously.

Now part of this is, I imagine, par for the course when describing Democratic politicians. This cycle of politicking has seen it’s fair share of socialism and communism thrown around, but almost always in the context of policies, not people. That’s simply because there is a kind of line in which serious candidates do not cross – it’s one thing to say candidate X wants to emulate certain European polices that are more socialistic, but quite another to ascribe candidate X with the same status as Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro. This is the behavior of someone who is not serious. Indeed, as I mentioned earlier today it is the mark of a man trying to regain legitimacy in the eyes of people like Bryan Fischer.

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4 responses to “Speaking of rhetoric

  1. That chart shows the conservative media bias. At the far left of the spectrum, you have socialism, which is one of the options, so why doesn’t it show the far right, which is corporatism. That is very close to where the Republican party resides. It is also another name for fascism.

    • I would imagine that they included libertarianism for much the same reason you would include corporatism, with the exception that the former is probably more well known than the latter yet still represents opposite ends of the political ideological spectrum. Thanks for the comment!

      • Conservatism has more than one meaning, which could account for its high positive rating. I’d consider myself to be a conservative in the traditional sense, meaning cautious and resistant to change.

        “Conservative” in the political sense is a radical ideology: aggressive foreign policies, economic policies based on theories proven to be erroneous, and embracing religion over science.

        • Sure, and in that sense I suppose most of us could be considered conservative at one point or another. Though I’m sure there are some conservative folks who would object to that specific definition of conservative political ideology.

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