Posted by Lee on December 01, 2004
In Reply to: Red-meat rhetoric = populist rhetoric? posted by Brian from Shawnee on November 30, 2004
: : : : : : Could anyone tell me about the word origin of 'red-meat rhetoric'?
: : : : : "Red-meat rhetoric" can refer to a political speech which is loud, brash and in your face.
: : : : : The image is one of a piece of beef dripping with blood ,very raw, uncooked or undercooked.
: : : : : Most political speeches are well rehearsed and calm with an image of medium well done beef.
: : : :
: : : : Many thanks, Bruce. I knew the meaning but am still wondering where this expression originally comes from. Does it carry a negative connotation of Red America? I mean red meat is a symbol of uncouthness,unsophistication and possibly uneducation? I guess conservative people in Red America stick to red meat, even though there are many more healthy alternative food such as fish, vegetable etc.
: : : I think it is all in the imagery.
: : : Someone giving a shoot-from-the-hip type speech, a la Al Sharpton at the Dems Convention, is giving a RAW speech, as it is dripping with emotion, fire and brimstone.
: : I think it has something to do with giving them what they crave, like the electorate is a pack of slavering dogs, you throw them some red meat rhetoric to keep them quiet and on your side. I had a nice example of that a few days ago, when I asked a (politically and culturally well-informed) female colleague whether her father was still on her case about her not yet being married: "Oh, I just threw him some red meat" she said, meaning she silenced him by informing him that she already had a serious man friend.
: We can also call this type of rhetoric "populist", but I think the speaker wants his audience to get fired up, not calmed down.
Thanks to you all. BTW, what does the following expression "play to his base" mean? Probably a baseball-related idiom, I guess.
"He won legislative victories by exploiting divisions, by the red-meat politics of
"playing to his base" instead of seeking middle ground."