Doth Democracy require Sophistry?

In Athens of Olde, Sophists made money teaching the art of Rhetoric to aspiring politicians with the understanding that, through words, one could gain power.

It seems to me, in America, words speak louder than actions, insofar as words (soundbytes) are what are often transmitted to the public. Huey Long was greedy and corrupt, and yet a populist… for the people supposedly. Our Current President, in 2000 especially, campaigned as a Washington Outsider, ignoring the fact that he had access to the Executive office for 12 years… and so on. George Wallace stood in a doorway and blocked black students from attending school. Later he would go on to say that he was wrong, and ask for forgiveness, all the while, as Govenor, doing little to address the issue of racism in Alabama.
Jessie Helms made it standard practice to proclaim his feelings on race issues and on which side he stood, yet he had a Black daughter, whom, apparently, he loved.

if American Politicians secure power through words, then they must have some inkling of what words we would like to hear. Do they, then, speak to the best of us and the best in us, or the opposite?

They speak to the worst in us, mostly because politicians have looked to marketing strategies (which also appeal to the worst) to persuade voters.

Here is a great article by chomsky on the subject:
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=90&ItemID=6751

Thank you for the link… PR firms as Sophists, crafting image and words as a substitute for substance.

That sounds about right.

Very True!

I think there is a more disgusting aspect to it with PR people. I have a certain affection for sophistry over marketting. Marketing seems to rob the soul with greedy energy, sophistry seems like a place for philosophy majors waiting for tenored faculty to die off.