Monday, February 19, 2007

Anti-Speak: Iraq (D-MA) vs. (R-GA)

Periodically, I will look at statements by politicians and others and look for examples of anti-speak. By this term I mean antagonistic speech, or words that are used in anger or meanness that get in the way a true dialog on the issues (e.g., name-calling, overly harsh words, generalizations of the opposition, over-simplified sound bites, etc.). There is a line between making a strong passionate point and being in a state of antagonism. For more information on what constitutes "anti-speak" see my post at:

http://cnnvsfox.blogspot.com/2007/02/anti-speak-dnc-vs-rnc.html


Today I decided to look through a little bit of the Congressional record. I found an interesting interchange on Iraq from last Friday's House debate between Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Barney Frank (D-MA). Both make good points but do they have to cross the line and say inflammatory things? Here are a few excerpts (pp. H1797-98):

Mr. WESTMORELAND (R-GA): Mr. Speaker, if this undemocratic, smoke-and-mirrors Congress [a term Westmorelend uses three times.] had been in power throughout our Nation’s history, I am not sure we would have much to celebrate this weekend when we commemorate Presidents Day. ...


I wonder what the forebears of today’s Democratic Party would think of their policy of retreat and defeat? What would they think of the timidity in the face of great danger? ...


Given how Democratic leaders have battled to one-up each other and have allowed their rhetoric to spiral, how can this non-binding resolution be anything but a first step?


Mr. FRANK (D-MA): Mr. Speaker, we have just heard a great example of an important form of political debate. The Republicans specialize in this. It is kind of political necrophilia. There is this love of dead Democrats ...


I had thought that Bush and Cheney thought that everything we did was non-binding ...


If ever any group of people forfeited their right to be listened to, it is the collection of people who have shown an aggressive incompetence with regard to Iraq. Can anyone think of a single decision from the

invasion forward that has been correct, that has been borne out by events? ...


But the causes of the disaster, in addition to the rampant incompetence of this administration at virtually all levels ...



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