The power to name is the power to define. That is, words are not neutrally descriptive, but they communicate meanings and values. Whether someone is a terrorist or a freedom fighter depends on who's talking and who has the authority to legitimize and institutionalize the term.
In response to Kerry naming Edwards as his presidential running mate, the RNC posted this statement, post-haste, on their website: "WHO IS JOHN EDWARDS? A Disingenuous, Unaccomplished Liberal And Friend To Personal Injury Trial Lawyers." That's a mouthful, isn't it? It could be 'fisk'd" on a whole lot of different levels, but let's focus on the "Friend to Personal Injury Trial Lawyers" bit.
It's true. People, by and large, hate lawyers. Until they need one. And the "folks" love that Erin Brockovich shit.
In an age of Enron scandals and gargantuan Wal-mart class action suits, as well as a distrust of Dick Cheney's relationship with Halliburton, will this tactic earn the Reps more votes? Is it designed to raise more cash from corporate donors? Energize the base?
Who is the target audience of that message?
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