Rovian rules & SOTU: Pysch of propaganda
by Tom Kertes, Wed Feb 01, 2006 at 09:20:17 PM EST
- Rovian Rule: Thou shalt associate one's own weakness with thy enemy's great moral stances
- Rovian Rule: Thou shalt create false categories
- Rovian Rule: Thou shalt speak in the logic of false dichotomies
Bush is a lame duck. And he is a failed President. It's too bad that Democrats are so ineffective, since how terrible Bush and Congressional Republicans have performed may not matter come November. As in 2004, it's ours to lose - Bush is an easy target that we keep failing to hit.
Bush's speech was still a prime example of applied cognitive psychology and the science of communication, linguistics and propaganda. While much of the speech was very humdrum - the listing of Clinton-esque programs and a series of claims for how well things are going and how things should go, or why they should go one way or another. The following are examples from three applications of the Rovian Rules for Effective Communication (humdrum removed).
Rovian Rule: Thou shalt associate one's own weakness with thy enemy's great moral stances (in my view, this is the best propaganda line from Bush's speech)
Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They're concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. (the only actual quote used for this entry)
Rovian Rule: Thou shalt create false categories
Category of social ills: violent criminal, welfare, drug use, abortion and teenage sex.
Category of "entitlement" - a new looming crisis: Social Security Insurance (which is also known as "mandatory spending")
Rovian Rule: Thou shalt speak in the logic of false dichotomies
You are either go after the enemies of freedom (forces of evil), or you are retreating from your duties (because you want to take the easy route).
You are either building prosperity by leading the world economy, or you are shutting yourself off from trade and opportunity.
You either want an end to tyranny, or you dismiss that goal as idealistic and misguided.
The advance of freedom is either a hopeless dream, or it is the great story of our time.
You either love freedom and fight to keep it, or your will has been broken by terrorists.
You either find security, or you abandon your commitments and retreat.
You either stand up (by remaining the course in Iraq and Afghanistan), or you retreat without honor, meaning that you no longer believe in your ideals or in your own courage (you are therefore a coward without conviction).
You either stay the course, or you surrender to evil.
You are either responsibly critical by supporting success, or you are a defeatist who only acknowledges failure.
You are either wise, or you use hindsight alone.
You either have a strategy, or you second-guess.
cross posted: Political Porn at EconoCulture.com