Red-meat rhetoric = populist rhetoric?

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on November 30, 2004

In Reply to: Red-meat rhetoric-give them what they want? posted by Keith Rennie 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.