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Paid Protestors and Angry Mobs: Does a Double-Dose of Doublespeak Count as Quadruple-Speak?

About the “angry mob” of “paid protestors” “assaulting” GOP senators over their vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh….

Others have made two points I was planning to make about the “paid protestor” nonsense. Paul Waldman, in the Oct 9 Washington Post, mentions both of them at least in passing: (1) the GOP invokes the conspiracy, especially the connection to George … Read more

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Kavanaugh’s Rant and the Old Republican “Tu Solus” Trick — by Don Lazere


In his rant that was the defining moment of his confirmation hearings, Brett Kavanaugh charged that he was the victim of a political “hit” orchestrated not only by vengeful Clinton Democrats but by millions in “dark money” spent by “outside special interests.” (He didn’t speak the name George Soros, but the multitudes of right wing conspiracy theorists … Read more

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Turning Arguments Back on the Accuser, Senator Collins Evades Accountability

The Senate hearings surrounding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a potential, and now confirmed, Supreme Court justice have been a showcase for a number of rhetorical strategies employed to persuade the Senate and the public. One rhetorical strategy in particular, however, stands out—that of tu quoque, the strategy of refuting an allegation against one’s accuser by accusing the … Read more

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Turning Amnesia into Condemnation

The current Senate hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court have put the court of public opinion on full display. And both sides are strenuously using rhetorical tactics to win their case.

One such tactic has become especially conspicuous – the misrepresentation of statements.  Perhaps the most prominent example pertains to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation … Read more

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Is Brett Kavanaugh a “Good Man”? Does it Matter?

In the past week and a half, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been credibly accused of attempted rape and other acts of sexual assault. One consequence is that public conversation about his confirmation has changed dramatically. But it’s important not to lose sight of arguments about Kavanaugh’s confirmation that were in play before the allegations came to light because … Read more