Thursday, January 26, 2012

Policy or politics?

This is the height of the primary season. Speeches are coming from many candidates and those that are in office. How do you tell whether a speech is an "action" speech
(a speech that is directed towards correcting a specific problem, or a speech designed to address a problem that would be good for politics.
Policy or Politics?
A letter to the editor in January 26, 2012 Arizona Republic, by Dennis Santillo, addresses this very problem
"Whenever there is a major address or action by a politician, there emerges the
conjecture: Is this a political speech or a policy speech, a real effort to
address a problem would be good politics!
People would vote for the politician who did the right thing, right?
Yet, it is well-recognized that there is (sic)a difference between what is
political and policy.
...why is that? ...because the electorate is too ignorant to be able to tell
We vote, not on the basis of an intelligent, well-informed analysis and
judgment, but on some emotional/visceral reaction."

Reference President Obama's State of the Union speech. Was it an action speech, or a political speech. It was both. You need to read the text to find where it turns from one element to the other. Most politicians give speeches that have solutions to problems, but are good for politics also. It is at this point in a speech where a politician reaches into his "party's" platform (things they stand behind and/or want to see changed) You can identify the move when they start to enunciate the party's position, or downgrade the other party's positions. An action speech usually has ways available to those voting on the issue that it can be done in the easiest manner. Remember, if you want to change someone's mind on an issue, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to say "yes". So, if you see that kind of activity within a speech, the politician is making it easy for the voter, congress person, whomever to say yes, usually that is calling for action by the listener on the issue. Political speeches can take several forms, usually it backs up the speaker and his position on the issue. He is asking you for your support, in whatever form.
It is up to you to sort through the speech, see if you can identify with any of the positions; can those positions turn you into a supporter? If so, how much, verbal, monetary, unpaid worker, have house parties for the candidate? Do you want to hear more? Less?

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