In another, he said younger Republican lawmakers “despised” Mr. Boehner. “They are repelled by his personal behavior,” he wrote. “He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle.”

In several messages, Mr. Blumenthal argued that Democrats should present Mr. Boehner as the face of the Republican Party during the 2010 midterm elections. “Making Boehner the GOP poster child should be systematic and relentless,” he wrote.

Mrs. Clinton — who, as the nation’s chief diplomat, publicly stayed out of the campaign — never responded to such suggestions in the emails that were released. But she clearly followed the elections carefully as Democrats were headed to a blowout defeat.

Mr. Boehner is a Republican, and he can definitely present the Republican Party. But in my opinion, the fact has nothing to do with the Democrats, as they have no right to choose anyone to present the Republican Party. Maybe they can choose some Democrat to present the Democratic Party, but not the Republican Party.

How should the sentence be interpreted? I am confused. Could someone please give some explanations about it? Thank you.

The paragraphs above are extracted from the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/02/us/politics/emails-show-how-hillary-clinton-valued-input-from-sidney-blumenthal.html?_r=0

  • Presumably Democrat Blumenthal thinks because Republican Boehner is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitmen, he won't get many votes (for his party). So it's in the interests of the Democrats to raise Boehner's public profile (and encourage the general public to think of him as representing the Republican party, which is thereby also characterized as louche, alcoholic, lazy and unprincipled ). This is politics, not English language as such. Sep 10, 2015 at 12:18
  • If Pepsi could present the number one selling soda (Coca-Cola) as the nation's "least preferred" via the Pepsi Challenge ad campaign, Democrats can similarly make ad campaigns using unsavory Boehner quotes and vignettes in campaigns against specific non-Boehner candidates. This is a "right" democrats have. Also, it's not incorrect on the facts to claim Speaker of the House as a party leader. In a non-presidential election who else is there, Reince Priebus?
    – user662852
    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:28
  • If the Democrats believe that the personal image of Mr Boehner is unpopular, it would be to their advantage if he were seen as representative of the Republican Party as a whole. Therefore, they will do their utmost to present him as the embodiment of Republicanism, the 'face' of the party, at every opportunity. I'd expect them to refer to him by name as frequently as possible in their own communications. It doesn't mean that he does, in fact, hold that position. It's Politics.
    – JHCL
    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:31
  • @FumbleFingers I see. Thanks a lot. :) Perhaps politics are a bit difficult for me to understand.
    – Jarl
    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:43
  • I appreciate that. But it's still a matter of human affairs / PR spin / politics, not really the use of English. The same concept could be equally easily expressed in any other language, I'm sure. Sep 10, 2015 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


It's not saying what you think it's saying. It's all about what marketers call "positioning" (the battle to control what people think).

Mr. Blumenthal argued that Democrats should present Mr. Boehner as the face of the Republican Party

This just means that the Democrats should employ a campaign strategy that identifies Boehner with the entire Republican party, presumably because that would favor Democrats in the elections.

  • Understood. Clear explanations. Great! Thank you. :)
    – Jarl
    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:37

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