Free Book Review On Kenneth M. Cosgrove –
"Branded Conservatives: How the Brand Brought the
Right From the Fringes to the Center Of American Politics."
Review of Cosgrove’s “Branded ” publication takes the reader into the political view of how America’s conservative movement steadfastly moved their voice from the fringes of political life into the center with their own brand strategy that explained to those voters attracted to its varieties of content connected to what Americans believe the most. This results in Cosgrove describing the empowerment of a movement proposing a policy about economics having little to meet the combined interests of most Americans. The conservatives accomplish this according to Cosgrove by representing this idea as “being for the good of the whole, laying emphasis on the military aspects of a national security policy, promotion of controversial social issues, and the personal attribute of both parties’ candidates” (277).
In the numerous chapters of his book Cosgrove explains how the Conservative form of branding has allowed them presenting their stance on political issues so it further encourages interested American voters looking at them in an isolated manner rather than holistically thus, resulting in the juxtaposition of the American Conservative movement positioned squarely amid the American political action. This branding method consequently, according to Cosgrove became the impending success of building formidable interest groups, getting the networks of the media under control of the conservative political machine while building formidable and lasting bonds of relationship among those of the American Conservative movement. To this end, this process remains influential in winning the Conservative platform elections (278).
Combine the security issues of September 11 and the personal aspects of the political figure of the Clinton scandals the old adage making the ideology of political conservativism move from such remarks, as the candidate reminding vote for me because at the very least I am not a conservative to the exact opposite. Whereas a couple of generations ago Conservative was a bad thing now the Liberal political view continues gaining momentum to take its place. Examples of this shift lay directly in line with the 1994 Contract with America and with what Cosgrove calls the “single issue of Iraq as part of the Broader War on Terror” (123) in 2002.
The success of the Conservatives links to building on the emotions of Americans by comparative tactics to the opposition candidates and platforms. In doing so, as eloquently explained by Cosgrove, meant offering comparisons stressing political opponent failings as negative brands built intentionally by Conservatives to the extent this meant, “ that Conservative candidates for office do not have to spell out their full agenda or the exact contents of their policy proposals unless they want to” (124). Specific to the audience, Conservatives became easy to understand as the awareness of Americans about the wrongs surrounding a Democratic candidate remained apparent making the Conservative candidate representative of the right – literally and figuratively.
Making the framing and branding technique work is a political marketing ploy as well as incorporating the contrasting element because it allows Conservatives putting themselves in the correct appearing political position with the Dems appearing on the wrong side of political issues from the perspective of the audience. This remains according to Cosgrove, the means for covering any conservative flaw while focusing on the flaws they point out about their opponents. This imparts a definitive idea that if the voters fail choosing the Conservative candidate then disaster follows. By presenting Dems and Liberals as un-American defenders of the undesirable failings of the status quo Conservatives present themselves as innovators with the only resolution to the sorry state of the nation. The Conservatives’ use of branding looks at presenting their platform as the alternative to the failure of the Dems in creating a national security. Therefore, by promoting the War of Terror and invading Iraq as an of national security the Conservatives impress their point on Americans still fraught with fear from 911 and what “could” happen if the War on Terror did not move “out there” in the Middle East.
The book provides well outlined suggestions but they are not new to anyone following politics in America while at the same time provides understanding of the resurgence of conservativism in the American democratic process embedded in what is for some a corrupt two-party political system. This is clearly an instructive book about how according to Cosgrove politics the Conservative effect of branded politics about the health of the democratic process in America ending the long-standing New Deal Liberalism now shows politics emerging as less likely fact based and more emotionally led, intentionally dividing the populace. Cosgrove intends offering ideas eliminating branded politics but does not specifically address how to make these changes.
Applied Lessons via the Democratic Party Since 2008
The ideas that emerge from the Cosgrove book to counter the resurgence of emotionally-fed less constructive political branding tactics so well-achieved by the Conservative political faction in America look at the specific applications of his suggestions for increasing the efficacy of politics. What emerges in review of the national political scene since 2008 among the candidates and the leaders of the Democratic Party is a message of transparency in policy making that does not exist among the branding style of Conservative politics.
Campaigns emerging under the Obama Administration show a greater emphasis on Americans having more civic engagement in their community. Mrs. Obama taking a direct approach to the health issues of America’s youth because of poor eating habits directly reflects on American health issues. Obama’s presidential campaign took on some of the issues Americans were not getting results from the Conservatives in office at the national level that became promises such as creating a national health system allowing people never able to afford any kind of health program prior to the one presented by Obama’s Administration. With a more informed public through the political elements of remaining transparent and letting the nation know about the policies took form in town hall meetings both in the Democratic presidential campaign and thereafter once Obama became president.
Other important campaign promises by the Democratic national ticket looked at ending the war in Afghanistan and this culminated with the last of the major American troop withdrawal in 2015. The other major issue affecting the Democratic platform nationally looked at bringing up the economic disaster of the 2000 recession with the world financial situation in crisis and rampant unemployment. The facts rising to the surface during the 2008 to the present 2015 political scene in America regardless of the Conservatives continuing branding techniques in deriding the Obama Administration on the national health program as a failure nonetheless shows millions of Americans now insured who never had such opportunities in their lives basically because they represent the low income faction in America who were not poor enough for public health aid but not in a financial state to afford any kind of effective medical insurance. Further, the economic practices boosting business financing and making the banks pay back with interest the bailout monies proved advantageous. The public continues demanding more information and no longer trust the media as a resource and this remains a result of the Democratic Party tactics from 2008 to the present addressing the branding tactics of the Conservative faction in American politics. The Cosgrove book provided a backdrop to a better understanding of the Democrats addressing the branding tactic for the lay person in American politics.
Cosgrove, Kenneth M. Branded Conservatives: How the Brand Brought the Right from the Fringes to the Center of American Politics. © 2007 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York. 2007. Print
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