In The Podium, the Pulpit, and the Republicans: How Presidential Candidates Use Religious Language in American Political Debate, a veteran minister analyzes the religious metaphors Republicans use at the podium and alleges that the party deliberately employs blaming tactics, fear metaphors, and coded references to apocalyptic judgment to sway undecided voters.
Over the past 40 years, Frederick Stecker charges, the Republican Party has created fear for political expediency. Stecker's book traces the development of the Republican rhetoric of polarization and applies the linguistics-based "nation-as-a-family" political typology of George Lakoff to an analysis of the presidential debates of 2000, 2004, and 2008. He demonstrates how Republican candidates select their language and metaphors to signal adherence to rigid belief systems and simple, black-and-white choices in domestic and foreign policy.
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"In times of increasing partisan divisiveness, shifting communication networks, and extraordinarily rapid information exchange, attitudes are shaped and colored in often surprising and unchangeable ways. The premise of this volume is understanding how core attitudes about national identity relate to deeply held religious beliefs and shape the political discourse. Dr. Stecker brings together disciplines that do not always speak to one another, especially in such a contentious current climate. And in his openness to examining such core issues in the political landscape, he also asks us to listen more closely to the turns of speech and phrases that are influencing each of us every day in these rapidly changing — and often crisis laden — times. This is a provocative volume that if taken to heart will make each of us slow down and listen again to the many voices joining in the political discourse of our nation."
"This book provides a vital understanding of [political speech] that [breeds] fear and intolerance arousing the primitive and irrational within us. Citizens should use it as an important guide."