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Michael G. Stone @M_G_Stone
, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Facts are anathema to many Republican positions, so they rely on rhetoric to appeal to voters.

Devoid of fact, divorced from reality, increasingly clever rhetorical tricks designed to flatter the base has become the de facto weapon of choice for the GOP.…
1/12. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” -Jane Austen

The opening line of Pride & Prejudice is one of the most famous sentences in the English language. Austen’s prose draws the reader in and...
2/12. ...prepares them for the story that follows.

One problem: it’s not actually a “truth universally acknowledged.” Austen’s rhetorical device achieves its intended purpose — to keep readers wanting more — but the line is not reflective of reality.

For a novel, that’s fine...
3/12. ...and dandy.

No harm, no foul.

There’s nothing wrong with rhetoric. Rhetoric is what keeps speeches and readings interesting. It’s a necessary component of persuasive language, whether that persuasion is intended simply to keep audiences intrigued or to convince them...
4/12. ...of policy goals.

Where rhetoric turns from amoral to immoral, however, is when it’s used in lieu of fact, when a good turn of phrase becomes a substitute for evidence, a shield against real engagement with the issues. As Socrates devises in Gorgias, rhetoric is...
5/12. ...similar to cooking: in itself, not a bad thing, but it can be used to disguise that which is otherwise unhealthy. A good rhetorician, like a good chef, can combine unhealthy ingredients into something that is, on the surface, palatable — delicious, even.

If there’s...
6/12. thing Republicans learned from Obama, it’s that soaring rhetoric can spur a movement. Obama’s speeches were electrifying. Deploying clever phrasing and emotional appeals, Obama’s 2004 DNC speech launched his 2008 campaign and took him from underdog to nominee to...
7/12. ...president — twice.

What the GOP missed, however, is that Obama’s speeches were still heavily grounded in fact. Obama used statistics to make his case. His rhetoric was skillful, but — first and foremost — he used good “ingredients.” The language itself was like a...
8/12. ...marinade: it elevated the final result, but relied on good “meat” to achieve that. Good marinade can’t save bad meat.

I don’t see that from the modern GOP. Facts are anathema to far too many Republican positions, so they are reliant on rhetoric to appeal to voters. ...
9/12. ... This form of rhetoric is what Socrates calls “a pursuit that is not a matter of art, but showing a shrewd, gallant spirit which has a natural bent for clever dealing with mankind, and I sum up its substance in the name flattery.”

Another name for it is sophistry. ...
10/12. Devoid of fact, divorced from reality, increasingly clever rhetorical tricks designed to flatter their base has become the de facto weapon of choice for the GOP.

The problem from Republicans, then, is what happens when they’ve chased all the clever rhetoricians out of...
11/12. ...the Party, the ones who genuinely believe in conservative policy as good for the public?

They become a Party led by con artists, only in it for themselves.

And that can’t work forever.

As Abraham Lincoln noted, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and...
12/12. ...some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Sidenote. Props to @jonfavs, who doesn't get enough credit for his speechwriting, since Obama made it look so natural. (Then again, speechwriters are generally loath to accept praise, so maybe he doesn't want the credit.)
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