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View Diary: 'Mainstreaming' progressive values: President Obama's path to a transformative presidency (142 comments)

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  •  I partly disagree (2+ / 0-)
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    Minnesota Deb, DeadHead

    I think that in our society, words often speak louder than actions, at least in certain contexts such as the political, and up to a certain point.

    Few people remember or can cite Reagan's actions compared to his words. Ask most people who aren't political junkies what Reagan did or was best known for, what his greatest accomplishments were, and they'll probably say that he cut taxes, cut government, cut spending, restored our greatness, etc., when in reality he did none of them, in net terms. But they believe he did these things because he said it was what he believed in and wanted to do, and there's been a huge Reagan enshrinement industry since he left office to make such that that's what people think he did.

    People remember "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", "Government isn't the solution, government is the problem" and "A shining city on a hill", not Star Wars (SDI), Iran-Contra, raising taxes and increasing spending, or the Marine barracks disaster in Beiruit and cutting and running within days.

    We are an attention deficit disorder nation, and tend to believe and remember what we're told to believe and remember, unless the evidence to the contrary is so massive as to be impossible to ignore, e.g. Katrina and the disasters that were the two wars. It's not that actions aren't important, but words more so more often than not, with substantive results trumping both.

    And so far, Obama hasn't yet had the kind of tangible results that Americans think of as great (whatever some of us might think of such results). Which makes words all the more important, not just as rah-rah PR of the sort that Reagan was good at, but in framing how we look at our problems, our past, our choices, etc., in ways that favor one's approach to things. And as such, Obama's gotten really good at that. This was a superb framing speech, that even Lakoff would be proud of. It was about framing America's true nature as being about fairness, justice and equality of opportunity, as opposed to about "I got mine Jack", which is basically the GOP's frame.

    I welcome actions, I expect actions, we need actions--and results--but in the meantime, words can go a long way towards setting them up.

    That's what he did today. He threw his hat over the wall.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:35:14 PM PST

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