Thursday, March 6, 2008

M.O.W. Causes Controversy!

Dear Founder-Stalkers,

Our last post on our experience at the Texass Two-Step and our reflections upon Senator Clinton's negative campaign strategy, which we called the "politics of alienation," has caused quite a stir over at The Rhetorical Situation. We are trying mightily to come up with something clever to say in response to all of their important points, but in the meanwhile, we thought that you might enjoy listening in/being a part of the conversation.

P.S. Our dear friend forwarded us the above picture as a t-shirt for sale around the interwebs. We found it very wrong, obviously, but yet kinda funny, and perhaps apropos to this post in an earnestly ironic kinda way. Please don't hate on us.


MosaicMe said...

WOW... M.O.W. caused all sorts of controversy. I'm impressed. I dare say a conservative could not have caused more. :)

Question- Does Obama's rallying watchword of hope weave a "Can Not Touch" shroud around him, as Bush used the watchword of patriot/ism? ie: any attack on Bush was an attach on patriotism/ any attack on Obama is an attack on hope?

Mercy O. Warren said...

Dear MM,

Thank you for your comment. Yours is an interesting question. I think that there is certainly the potential for his rhetoric of hope to have the kind of discourse closing off potential that President Bush's rhetoric of patriotism did. However, for Obama to reach that level of control over the discourse, he would have to have much more power than he currently does. In other words, Bush was a lame president--elected by less than 50% of the population and amidst controversy--and he had no power to define and delimit patriotism until September 11, 2001 and America's response to 9/11 gave him that power. Senator Obama has nothing more than a series of state primary/caucus wins and the delegates that came with them to rest his claims of power on. Which is to say, not much power at all. In this instance Senator Obama needs the people to give him the power to control the discourse and he has not been given that power yet. He may not ever get that power. Part of his message, afterall, is about empowering the people. That might mean empowering the people to define what hope means as well.

Further, we have seen Ron Paul use a message of hope on his signage--not to mention Hillary too. Hope, like freedom, democracy, patriotism, high-tech, etc are "god terms," as Richard Weaver would call them. They are universally accepted within the political community as a positive thing, but they are empty of meaning until a particular rhetor/ic in a particular context is able to define them.

At least, that is what we think. What do you think, MM?