From Hero to Buffoon: Kenneth Burke, Evan Mecham, and Donald Trump

  Words and deeds that were considered by many to be anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist, sexist, and pompous to a fault marked [Evan] Mecham’s brief career as governor of Arizona. In stark contrast, others deemed Mecham to be straightforward, honest, and gallant for being able to boldly proclaim their socially conservative doctrine…To many conservatives, Mecham was a hero… Continue reading

Veepstakes 2016: Remind Voters of Differences

(Previously posted by Peter Loge on With the presidential nominating season lurching to a close (more or less-ish) pundit attention is turning to potential running mates. A dominant campaign theme this year is “they are screwing you,” with the “they” being a mix of bankers, political insiders, immigrants, minorities, foreign governments, and political hacks,… Continue reading

Modern Political Communication and Rhetoric (Syllabus)

Classes start at The George Washington University next week, which means another spring of ranting about rhetoric and conversations trying to make sense of the campaign season. And as always there will be Aristotle. Given current political events, should be an eventful semester. Below is the current working draft of the syllabus with most of the logistics redacted:… Continue reading

If Politics Is Local, Advocacy Should Be Too

In recent years the most successful policy advocates began using traditional campaign techniques to advance their positions, supplementing “shoe leather” lobbying with earned and paid media, social media, and local stakeholder engagement. They are now increasingly supplementing Washington work with local and state-based work. While Congress Shouts More (and does less) Who Is Filling the… Continue reading

Congress and The Influence Industry: Framing The Issue

The most successful lobbying doesn’t tell elected officials what to think. The most successful lobbying tells elected officials what to think about and how to think about it. Successful lobbying isn’t about bags of cash exchanged in underground parking garages or drunken promises extracted in rooms full of hookers. The best lobbying is about agenda… Continue reading

Donald Trump, Archie Bunker, and Broken Toilets. The Logic of American Politics.

Donald Trump continues to do well in the polls because people agree with what he says. This sounds obvious, but a lot of the experts in the political and pundit classes keep wondering the same thing: “How can Trump be popular when he’s so obviously nuts?” Some blame reality television, hyper-partisanship, partisan media, and a… Continue reading

Lobbyist is NOT a Four Letter Word

The best lobbyists are trusted experts and allies in the elected official’s policy efforts. The best lobbyists, in political science terms, offer legislative subsidies to elected officials. They provide the support on which Congressional staff, Members of Congress, and ultimately the American people, rely. This is in part because legislation about complex issues requires specialized… Continue reading