Rhetoric is the skillful use of language in speaking or writing in order to influence how people think, feel, and act.
Rhetoric is neither good nor bad in itself. Its legitimacy is determined by how it is used (honestly or deceptively) and for what end it is used (for good or for ill).
The deceptive use of rhetoric is nothing new, certainly not in politics, nor is it limited to any particular faction.
Karl Rove’s comments “questioning” Hillary Clinton’s mental health are the most recent example. (For an account of his tactics, check out the Atlantic piece, “Why Karl Rove Uses Dirty Tricks: They Work.”)
I would like to take a page from Rove’s playbook as a lesson.
A Common Technique of the Rhetoric of Deception
Make a malicious statement so that the idea, image, or phrase you used becomes part of the public discourse.