What is the "language of politics" ? Is it just traditional rhetoric? Not really . An understanding of verbal language provides us with few tools to discuss the full content of the televised political message: the determined gestures of a politician in front of a waving American flag, the image of a crying midwestern farmer standing in the middle of a wheat field, the white middle-class nightmare evoked by the face of Willy Horton, I or the reassuring, avuncular smile of a Ronald Reagan, a smile connected to a thousand late night movies. As LassweIl, Leites, and associates (1949) put it, "Symbols (words and images) affect power" (p. 19).