Mitt Romney uses an emphatic word repeater to avoid doing anything about global warming. But if you want to block any kind of action or choice, pay attention to his other trick: abstention from the future tense. It’s the right’s main weapon against science and the environment, and the left falls for it every time. By focusing on whodunit—whether humans or nature bear responsibility for the Earth’s warming—both sides fail to answer the central question: What are we going to do about it?
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
Mitt Romney, presidential candidate
Ploce, the doubler. From the Greek, meaning “braid.”
The ploce turns up the volume by repeating a word with another word or two in between. For example, “Enough is enough” makes a nice ploce—as well as a description of Figaro’s exasperation over global warming. Romney’s “trillions and trillions” lets him avoid any accuracy over the actual cost of CO2 reduction; it’s the opposite of “priceless.”
But we’re even more interested in the rhetorical strategy of tense. The future tense is where people make choices. That’s because a decision affects the future, not the past or present. If you want to avoid taking action, avoid the future tense. Nicely done, Governor Romney!