I last mentioned Grossberg’s ideas of how new conservatives have to embellish or make untrue statements to strengthen their image to the public. I thought I’d mention an example straight out of the book of how these statements work.
Such statements can function to, “enable the new conservatives to contain any attack on them and even to redirect some attacks” (p.267). For example, in Bush’s “war on drugs” speech there was a staged drug bust just outside the White House. This was used as a false image of immediate danger, and was eventually found out by the public that it was staged.
You would think that the credibility of the White House would have suffered after Bush lied directly to the public. However, nobody challenged the White House, nor did the lie turn into a public outcry for a new war on drugs (p.267).
The speech functioned more to show that any action that fought drugs was legitimate. This reduction of politics to affect does not only happen with the war on drugs, as Grossberg mentions that the American government used similar tactics for the Iraq war (p.268). This is not a matter of letting public opinion define political positions, but it is a matter of reducing politics to campaigning and considering how certain appeals will fit into popular sensibilities.