Can someone please help? Explain what you think the metaphors are in the ad Joni Ernst “Squeal” and why they are used, their rhetorical effect. Have you noticed all the metaphors? Have you...

Can someone please help? Explain what you think the metaphors are in the ad Joni Ernst “Squeal” and why they are used, their rhetorical effect. Have you noticed all the metaphors? Have you looked for structural and visual metaphors as well?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Metaphors, unstated comparisons that make use of an understanding of one idea to enhance the meaning of another, are extremely effective in rhetoric. Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa's "Let's Make Them Squeal" campaign ad was extremely effective because she used a comparison between the politicians who accept contributions from certain groups and who are very partisan in their voting to "hogs." This, then, became a structural metaphor as she built upon the idea that the politicians who cater to powerful groups and pork barrel--"hogs"--need to be figuratively castrated: "Let's make them squeal!"

Another structural metaphor is that of "pork/pork barrel," the setting aside of money for government spending for localized projects that would financially enhance a representative's own district. So, by saying "Let's make them squeal," Senator Ernst campaigned to cut the pork barrel in Washington for districts where there was more appropriated than what was reasonable.

The main metaphors used in the campaign speech by Joni Ernst are the following:

pork - literal meaning: flesh of the pig; figurative meaning: pork barrel - the allocation of money for government spending in individual districts
live within their means - literal meaning: to spend no more money than one has; figurative meaning: government officials will not be allowed to spend wastefully
hogs - literal meaning: large, full grown pigs; figurative meaning: big spenders in Washington
make them squeal - literal meaning: pigs squeal when they are hurt or being castrated; figurative meaning: Washington big spenders will complain if made to curtail this spending
castration - literal meaning: removing of the testicles from a male animal; figurative meaning: taking the power away from those who abuse it and cause waste in the government

The metaphors related to pigs/hogs are very effective because pork barrel is a term that has been around for a long time and listeners would easily make the connections. Many members of congress are very wealthy, so they are "high on the hog" as the idiom goes; furthermore, the connection to hogs/pigs is already in the minds of people regarding the Washington, DC politicians.

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