Far-right former senator Rick Santorum says he had “nothing to do with” his own campaign slogan—a quote from black, gay, Communist poet Langston Hughes. We like the line nonetheless: an effective Repeat Changer.
Fighting to make
America America again.
Repeat Changer (Technical term: antistasis—an-TIS-ta-sis, meaning “opposite stance.”) This figure can make you look remarkably witty for very little effort; just listen for the opportunity to repeat your interlocutor’s words in a different context. Because of its boomerang effect—its ability to throw an opponent’s words back—the figure makes an excellent weapon in argument.
You’ll often hear it in politics, contrasting an ideal past with the current evil present. Hughes’ italicized America had to do with the founders’ notions of liberty and justice for all. Santorum’s, apparently, doesn’t.