1.25.2011

I would like to endorse more or less everything Conor Friedersdorf has to say here, but especially these bits:

Put simply, I won't vote for any Republican who thinks that our current leadership is excessively solicitous of civil liberties in the war on terror, or whose main foreign policy critique is that our leaders are insufficiently bellicose. It isn't much to say that the current administration hasn't tortured anyone, or launched any unwinnable foreign wars, but one couldn't say it about its predecessor....

... do I trust Barack Obama to avoid overreacting in a way that hurts America? To refrain from using an attack as a pretext to seize greater power for the executive branch? Or to launch an ill-advised war?

I trust him more than Bush/Cheney or McCain/Palin. I trust him less than Bush/Quayle or Clinton/Gore. These are judgment calls made with imperfect information. This isn't the only question for me in the next election. But it's a big one. Given all its rhetoric about safeguarding liberty and the Constitution, you'd think the right could manage a candidate with whom I'd feel comfortable on these grounds. But the conservative movement doesn't seem interested in what concerns me.
[emphasis added]

7 comments:

RW said...

Personally? I'm going back to my anarchist roots.

chris said...

Personally, I dismiss anyone that dismisses the opinions of others by referring to their statements and opinions as "rhetoric." Respect is gained through disrespect? It's my version of, "You had me until rhetoric." I see that you have highlighted the word instead...

Brian said...

That's interesting...I have never inferred that connotation from the word "rhetoric". I certainly haven't meant it that way, at least consciously, but you may be onto something here...

...and in fact Dictionary.com has what you mean by it as the first definition ("the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast"). Other sources have "the art or study of communicating effectively through words" first, and most list how I tend to use it, as "type or manner of verbal communication" as second or third.

The thing is, I'm hard pressed to come up with a different word for that, other than simply "talk" which to me has a much more overtly negative connotation (i.e., "talk is cheap.")

Hmm...

RW said...

I find it more efficacious to dismiss no one for any arbitrary condition conjured in the darker recesses of my brain that no one else could possibly be aware of just so I can invent a straw man. Dave.

Gino said...

the use of the term here is depending upon the speaker, of who i am not familiar enough with.

as for me, when i read it, it came across as a blending of the two. i also find use of the term to be dismissive more ofeten than not, but that may because that's my own most common usage.

chris said...

I'm just saying that if you're going to use a word, use it correctly. If you want to be a dick, be a dick. Don't be coy about it by implying deceit or dishonest discourse by using an old 50-cent word that people don't know how to use properly. Just come out and say, "Man, these are some dumb motherfuckers saying this shit and I fucking disagree!"

Is that use of enough words with the prefix dis- to win a prize? There were two in a row in there somewhere!

Brian said...

On further reflection, I do think some writers/pundits use rhetoric the way you are talking about it. But I don't think Coner is in this piece...his second sentence is "I'm a fiscal hawk with libertarian instincts on domestic policy." So when he talks about "rhetoric about safeguarding liberty and the Constitution" I really don't think he means to be dismissive of those ideas. I do think he means to criticize people who talk about those ideas a lot but do not substantively advance policies that he sees (and I am inclined to see) that are completely consistent with those ideas.