I'm too tired unfortunately tonight to write what's been on my mind all day. But in brief, it's the combination of bluster (I'm shocked, shocked! etc.) and fake sensitivity (I'm hurt, deeply! etc.) while pretending to be so only for others, not selfishly (oh no) that marks for me one of the trump cards played by rightwingers who manipulate the media, who then fall for it all the time.
Nixon pretended to be a "man of the people" one of "the silent majority" representing the aggrieved regular working folk who were being taken advantage of by "East Coast Liberals" (i.e. The Kennedys and any other well-educated wealthy person who dedicated their lives to helping those less fortunate) and those making it necessary (i.e. the less fortunate, urban poor and later hippies et.al.) to restore "law & order" (i.e. repression of those who feel aggrieved who aren't white, Republican, etc.).
Reagan was much more subtle at bluster & faux sensitivity, but he had minions to do it for him. When it looked like his whole administration was going to collapse as a result of the lies and chicanery of Irangate, that total disregard and frontal attack on everything the Constitution stands for (that the bluster and fake sensitivity is all about now supposedly) and his cohorts were attempting suicide and trying to not go to prison for life, Ollie North donned his Marine uniform, even though he was long gone from the service by then, and acted all fake sensitive about his "honor" while he had his assistant shredding documents that would have proven how much he and many in the Reagan administration could have given two farts for the Constitution.
Every veteran I knew at the time despised his cheap shot, but the Congressional committee he was testifying before almost genuflected to not seem anti-serviceman or anti-flag and honor etc. and the press did the same and the Reagan gang were pulled back from the brink and Ollie North became one of the right's heroes.
W. was a master at it. In the primary debates with John McCain on TV when confronted with his organizations flyers used in South Carolina accusing McCain of having a biracial child and causing the deaths of family members and all kinds of outrageous lies, Bush acted all affronted, like who could dare accuse him of ever stooping so low, the same guy who called friends turdball was suddenly beyond reproach and the press bought it etc.
Palin's a master at it, Gingrich isn't but he can't stop himself anyway, and now we've got tons of tea party nominees who seem to be capable of not much more than that. The guy who's running for governor of New York, Palladino, and may well win, is a supreme example. It's okay for him to e mail cartoons using the "n" word and depicting the president as a pimp and the first lady as a prostitute, or hardcore extreme pornography and if anyone complains, hey, he's in the construction business, or as I heard one of his supporters today on the radio say, if you're too refined to get the joke too bad for you.
But if you question his anti-government stance considering he has made most of his money from the government (it's always the same with the right, their strongholds are always the places that get most of our tax money and contribute the least, who yell loudest about morals and yet have the highest rates of divorce and family crimes etc. etc. etc.), he gets all fake sensitive about negative attacks.
Clinton knew how to play hardball with these tactics because he was great at it himself ("I feel your pain" "I did not have" etc.) and maybe that's what the Democrats need.
Okay, not so brief, but nothing compared to what's rolling around in my head on this topic.