ERIC Number: ED227522
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Speaking "Common Sense" about the Soviet Threat: Reagan's Rhetorical Stance.
Ivie, Robert L.
Although for the 15 years preceding his election as President of the United States Ronald Reagan muted his anti-Soviet rhetoric in order to achieve political power, since his election he has returned to anti-Sovietism in an effort to redirect American foreign policy against the Soviets. At the same time, however, he employs a rhetorical strategy that stresses the essential rationality, the "common sense," of his approach. Specifically, his most important image, one of Soviet savagery, extends to three issues: the extent of the Soviet threat, America's proper response, and the possibility of peace in a nuclear world. In addition to explicit use of this metaphor, Reagan regularly reintroduces it through a number of vehicles that place the Soviets in eight general categories as: (1) inanimate and physical, (2) animals, (3) primitives, (4) machines, (5) criminals, (6) mentally disturbed, (7) fanatics and ideologues, and (8) satanic and profane. Reagan presents these images not as metaphor, but as literal truth. As with other metaphors, this image is a way of seeing the facts that also shapes the facts that are seen. Replacing complexity with simplicity, the metaphor rejects as irrelevant or unimportant information that does not fit within its scheme. Finally, Reagan's relaxed personna reinforces the idea that the imagery of savagery and its corollaries form the only sensible perspective on the Soviet Union. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Political Rhetoric; Reagan (Ronald); USSR
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Albuquerque, NM, February 19-22, 1983).