In this essay, I analyze discourses circulating during the 2004 re-election campaign of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as a means to explore the interactions of three tropes of “evil” as identified by James P. McDaniel (2003). In the months between September 11, 2001 and November 2, 2004, the tropes of “Evil-in-itself,” “Evil-for-itself,” and “Evil-for-others” converged, combined, and competed in the culmination of criticism leveled at the Bush-Cheney campaign regarding the screening of entrants into events and rallies. Integral to this interaction is the articulation of American democracy with capitalism, as theorized by Kenneth Burke (1969). Ultimately, I argue that the establishment of “Evil-in-itself” served as grounds allowing a deployment of “Evil-for-others” to trump the attempt to argue for change utilizing “Evil-foritself.”

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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