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VILIFYING OBAMACARE: CONSERVATIVE TROPES OF VICTIMAGE IN THE 2009 HEALTH CARE DEBATES

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abstract
This thesis focuses on examining the events during the debate over President Obama's proposed reforms to the American health care system during of the summer of 2009. In particular, I investigate on the rhetorical strategies deployed by various conservative political actors who contributed to the derailment of the health care reform movement. This project applies Burkean theories about identification and vilification to examine the destructive power that conservative tropes and victimhood rhetoric have on the ability to engage in productive discourse in the political sphere. I examine three episodes in the 2009 summer debates to outline the progression of the conservative attack on health care and to illuminate the escalation of the hyperbole intrinsic to their rhetoric. I begin with Sarah Palin's creation of the "death panel" trope, which opened the campaign against the Advance Care Planning Consultation provision of the proposed health reform bill. I next examine the campaign to manufacture dissent led by the prominent conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks to investigate the rhetorical causes behind the explosive outburst of conservative rage displayed in the August health care town halls, which I discuss on in the final chapter. I conclude with a discussion of what I call the "identity of opposition."
subject
contributor
Duffy, Caitlin (author)
Von Burg, Alessandra (committee chair)
Hyde, Michael (committee member)
Giles, Steven (committee member)
date
2013-06-06T21:19:31Z (accessioned)
2013-06-06T21:19:31Z (available)
2013 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/38544 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
VILIFYING OBAMACARE: CONSERVATIVE TROPES OF VICTIMAGE IN THE 2009 HEALTH CARE DEBATES
type
Thesis

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