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Democrats of all stripes have been so focused on details of policy that they have surrendered public political discourse to conservatives, and with it the key to the nation’s future.

Materialist Perspectives

The differences between Democratic progressives and the president over the tax deal the president has made with Republicans is being argued from a materialist perspective. That perspective is real. It matters who gets how much money and how our money is spent.

But what is being ignored is that the answer to material policy questions depends on how Americans understand the issues, that is, on how the issues are realized in the brains of our citizens. Such understanding is what determines political support or lack of it in all its forms, from voting to donations to political pressure to what is said in the media.

What policies are proposed and adopted depend on how Americans understand policy and politics. That understanding depends on communication. And it is in that the Democrats — both the president and his progressive critics — have surrendered. The Democrats have left effective communication to the conservatives, who have taken advantage of their superior communications all too well.

From the progressive viewpoint, the president keeps surrendering in advance — giving in to conservatives before he has to and hence betraying Democratic principles. From the president’s perspective he is not surrendering at all; instead he is a pragmatic incrementalist — getting the best deal he can for the poor and middle class one step at a time.

Progressives differ on the reasons for the president’s behavior. Either he has no backbone to stand up for what he believes in, or his actions define his beliefs and he is more conservative than those who voted for him thought.

The progressives’ economic policy arguments are sound:  continuing reduced tax payments for the wealthy will not work as a serious economic stimulus and will greatly increase the deficit and make the economic picture worse. From a progressive moral perspective, it isn’t fair; it increases an economic disparity that is already much too large.

The president’s pragmatic incrementalist arguments seem reasonable from his perspective: He got more immediate money for the poor and middle class than he gave to the rich, and the poor and middle class need as much as possible now (pragmatism) and further incremental steps can be taken later (incrementalism).

Those are the materialist arguments among Democrats. I want to shift the frame to the major causal factor that is being ignored on both sides: the role of communication in shaping what Americans understand.

Helping the Other Side

As someone who studies how brains work and how language affects politics, I see things somewhat differently. From my perspective, there is a form of surrender in advance on both sides — a major communications surrender.

Let’s start with an example, the slogan “No tax cuts for millionaires.” First, “no.” As I have repeatedly pointed out, negating a frame activates the frame in the brains of listeners, as when Christine O’Donnell said “I am not a witch” or Nixon said “I am not a crook.” Putting “no” first activates the idea “Tax cuts for millionaires.”

Next, “millionaires.” Think of the tv show, “So you want to be a millionaire” or the movies “Slumdog Millionaire” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.” To most Americans, being a millionaire is a good thing to aspire to.

Then, there is “tax.” To progressives, taxes are forms of revenue allowing the government to do what is necessary for Americans as a whole — unemployment insurance, social security, health care, education, food safety, environmental improvements, infrastructure building and maintenance, and so on.

But the conservative message machine, over the past 30 years, has come to own the word “tax.” They have changed its meaning to most Americans. They have been able to make “tax” mean “money the government takes out of the pockets of people who have earned it in order to give it to people who haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it.” Thus, “tax relief” assumes that taxation is an affliction to be cured, and a “tax cut” is a good thing in general. Hence, conservatives make the argument, “No one should have their taxes raised.”  

The conservative slogan activates the conservative view of taxes. But the progressive slogan “No tax cuts for millionaires” also activates the conservative view of taxes! The progressives are helping the conservatives.

The conservatives have a superior message machine: Dozens of think tanks with communications facilities, framing experts, training institutes, a national roster of speakers, booking agents to books their speakers in the media and civic groups, and owned medias like Fox News and a great deal of talk radio. Their audience will hear, over and over, “No one should have their taxes raised.”

There is no comparable progressive message machine. But even if one were to be built, the Democrats might still be using messages that are either ineffective or that help the conservatives. Why?

Language, The Brain, and Politics

When democratic political leaders go to college they tend to study things like political science, economics, law, and public policy. These fields tend to use a scientifically false theory of human reason — Enlightenment reason. It posits that reason is conscious, that it can fit the world directly, that it is logical (in the sense of mathematical logic), that emotion gets in the way of reason, that reason is there to serve self-interest, and that language is neutral and applies directly to the world.

The brain and cognitive sciences have shown that every part of this is false. Reason is physical, it does not fit the world directly but only through the brain and body, it uses frames and conceptual metaphors (which are neural circuits grounded in the body), it requires emotion, it serves empathic connections and moral values as well as self-interest, and language fits frames in the brain not the external world in any direct way.

Conservatives who are savvy about marketing their ideas are closer to the way people really think than Democrats are, because people who teach marketing tend to be up on how the brain and language work. And over the past three decades they have not just built an effective message machine, but they repeated messages that have changed the brains of a great many Americans.

Democrats can do effective messaging while being sincere and factual. But this takes insight into the nature of unconscious reason and the role of language.

It’s Complicated

I am often asked, “Is there a slogan I can use tomorrow that will turn things around?” Certainly there are better things that can be said tomorrow. But things don’t turn around so quickly. There is a lot do and to bear in mind over the long haui. Here is a brief list.

• Communication is a long-term effort. Political leaders rarely say anything that isn’t already in public discourse. That means that people who are not in office have to start effective communication efforts, including new ways of thinking and talking.

• All politics is moral. Policies are proposed because they are assumed to be right, not wrong. The moral values behind a policy always should be made clear.

• Conservatives and progressives have two different conceptions of morality.

• Democrats need to unite behind a simple set of moral principles and to create an effective language to express them. President Obama in his campaign expressed those principles simply, as the basis of American democracy. (1) Empathy — Americans care about each other. (2) Responsibility, both personal and social. We have to act on that care. (3) The ethic of excellence. We have to make ourselves better so we can make our families, our communities, our country and the world better. Government has special missions: to protect and empower our citizens to have at least the necessities. I don’t know any Democrats who don’t believe in these principles. They need to be said out loud and repeated over and over.

• Leaders need a movement to get out in front of. Not a coalition, a movement. We have the simple principles. Those of us outside of government have to organize that unified movement, and not be limited by specific issue areas. The movement is about progressivism, not just about environmentalism, or social justice, or labor, or education, or health, or peace. The general principles govern them all.

• Many people are “bi-conceptual,” this is, they have both conservative and progressive moral systems and apply them in different issue areas. These are sometimes called “independents,” “swing voters,” moderates,” “the center,” etc. They are the crucial segment of the electorate to address. Each moral system is represented by a circuit in their brains. The more one circuit is activated and strengthened the more the other is weakened. Conservatives have moved them to the right by repeating conservative moral messages 24/7. The Democrats need to activate and strengthen the progressive moral circuitry in their brains. That means using only progressive language and progressive arguments, and not moving to the right or using the right’s language. This is the opposite of “moving to the center.” There is no ideology of the center, just combinations of progressive and conservative views.

• Don’t use conservative language, since it will activate their moral system in the brains of listeners. Don’t try to negate their arguments. That will only make their arguments more prominent. Use your own language and your own arguments. Truth squads and wonk rooms are insufficient.

• Remember that in the conservative moral system, the highest moral principle is to preserve, defend, and extend the conservative moral system itself. For example, from their perspective, individual responsibility is moral; social responsibility is not.

• Learn the difference between framing and spin/propaganda. Framing is normal; we think in frames. If you want to formulate a policy that is understandable, the policy must be framed so it came be readily communicated. Framing precedes effective policy. When you use framing to express what you really believe and what the truth is, you are just being an effective communicator. Framing can also be misused for the sake of propaganda. I strongly recommend against it.

• Educate the press and the pollsters to all of these matters.

• Find a part to play in getting an effective communications system going!

For a detailed background, take a look at my book, The Political Mind.

Untellable Truths

The conservative message machine has so dominated political discourse that they have changed the meaning of words and made some truths untellable by political leaders in present discourse. It takes a major communication effort to change that.

Here are just a few examples of presently untellable truths:

• There is a Principle of Conservation of Government: If conservatives succeed in cutting government by the people for the public good, our lives will still be governed, but now by corporations. We will have government by corporations for corporate profit. It will not be a kind government. It will be a cruel government, a government of foreclosures, outsourcing, union busting, outrageous payments for every little thing, and pension eliminations.

• The moral missions of government include the protection and empowerment of citizens. Protection includes health care, social security, safe food, consumer protection, environmental protection, job protection, etc. Empowerment is what makes a decent life possible – roads and infrastructure, communication and energy systems, education, etc. No business can function without them. This has not been discussed adequately. Government serving those moral missions is what makes freedom, fairness, and prosperity possible. Conservatives do not believe in those moral missions of government, and when in power, they subvert the ability of government to carry out those moral missions.

• The moral missions of government impose a distinction between necessities and services. Government has a moral mission to provide necessities: Adequate food, water, housing, transportation, education, infrastructure (roads and bridges, sewers, public buildings), medical care, care for elders, the disabled, environmental protection, food safety, clean air, and so on. Necessities should never be subordinated to private profit. The public should never be put at the mercy of private profit.  Public funds for necessities should never be diverted to private profit.

• Services are very different; they start where necessities end. Private service industries exist to provide services — car rentals, parking lots, hair salons, gardening, painting, plumbing, fast food, auto repair, clothes cleaning, and so on. It is time to stop speaking of government “services” and speak instead of government providing necessities. Similarly, “spending” does not suggest providing necessities. “Spending” suggests services that could just as well be eliminated or provided by private industry. Economists should drop the term “spending” when discussing necessities.

• The market is supposed to be “efficient” at distributing goods and services, and sometimes, with appropriate competition, it is. But the market is most often inefficient at proving necessities, because every dollar that goes to profit is a dollar that does not go to necessities.  Health care is a perfect example.

• Public servant pensions have been earned. Public servants have taken lower salaries in return for better benefits later in life. They have earned those pensions through years of hard work at low salaries. Pensions were ways for both corporations and governments to pay lower salaries. Responsible institutions, public and private, took the money saved by committing to pensions and invested it so that the money would be there later. Those corporation and governments that took the money and ran are now going broke. Those institutions (both companies and governments) are now blaming the unions who negotiated deferred earnings in the form of pensions or benefits for the lack of money to pay pensions. But the institutions themselves (e.g., general motors) are to blame for not putting those deferred salary payments aside and investing them safely.

• Education is a public good, not a private good. It benefits all of us to live in a country with educated people. It benefits corporations to have educated employees. It benefits democracy to have educated citizens. But conservatives are only considering education as a means to make money and hence as a private good. This leads them to eliminate the public funding of education, which is a major disaster for all of us, not just those who will either be denied an education or who will be forced into unconscionable debt.

• Huge discrepancies in wealth are a danger to democracy and a cause for major public alarm. The enormous accumulation of wealth at the top of American society means unfair access to scarce resources, a restriction on access to necessities for many, and a grossly unfair distribution of power — power over the media and political power.

• Tax “cuts,” “breaks,” and “loopholes” sound good (wouldn’t you like one?) even for super-wealthy individuals and corporations. What they really mean is that money is being transferred from poorer people to richer people: The poor and middle are giving money to the rich! Why? Money that would otherwise go to their necessities: food, education, health, housing, safety, and so on is instead going into the pockets of super-wealthy people who don’t need it.  

• Markets in a democracy have a fundamentally moral as well as economic function.  Working people who produce goods and services are necessary for businesses and should be paid in line with profits and productivity. Salary scales in private industry are a matter of public, not just private concern. Middle-class salaries have not gone up in 30 years, while the income of the top 1 percent has zoomed upward astronomically. This is a moral issue.

• Carbon-based fuels — oil, coal, natural gas — are deadly. They bring death to people and animals and destruction to nature. We are not paying for their true cost because they are being subsidized: tens of billions of dollars for naval protection of tankers, hundreds of billions for oil leases, hundreds of billions in destruction of nature, as in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska coast. Death comes from the poisoning of air and water through pollution and natural gas frakking. And global warming pollution destroys nature itself — the ice cap, the creation of violent storms, floods, deserts, the blowing up of hilltops. The salesmen of death — the oil and coal companies — are profiting hugely from our payouts to them via subsidies and high prices. And with the money ordinary citizens are giving to them in subsidies, they are corrupting the political process, influencing political leaders not to deal with global warming — our greatest threat. We are dependent on them for energy, to a large extent because they have politically blocked the development of alternatives for decades.

• What is called “school failure” is actually a failure of citizens to pay for and do what is needed for excellent schools: early childhood education, better training and pay for teachers, a culture of learning in place a culture of entertainment, a poverty-free economy.  

• Taxpayers pay for business perks. Because business can deduct the costs of doing business, taxpayers wind up paying a significant percentage of business write-offs — extravagant offices, business cars and jets, first-class and business-class flights, meetings at expensive lodges and spas, and so on. Businesses regularly rip off taxpayers through tax deductions.

• The economic crisis and the ecological crisis are the same crisis. It has been caused by short-term greed. Thomas Friedman has described it well. The causes of both are the same: Underestimation of risk. Privatization of profit. Socialization of Loss. But that truth lies outside of public discourse.

• Low-paid immigrant workers make the lifestyles of the middle and upper classes possible. Those workers deserve gratitude — as well as health care, education for their kids, and decent housing.

Notice that it takes a paragraph to tell each of these truths. Each paragraph creates a frame required for the truth to be told. Words are defined in terms of such conceptual frames. Without the frames in common understanding, there are presently no simple commonplace words to express the frames. Such words have to be invented and will only come into common use when these presently untellable truths become commonplace truths. Try to imagine how public understanding would have to be enhanced for expressions like the following to come into normal public discourse:

• greed crisis in place of economic crisis

• blessed immigrants  in place of illegal immigrants

• government for profit in place of privatization

• public theft in place of tax breaks

• failing citizens in place of failing schools

• corporate cruelty in place of profit maximization

• deadly coal in place of clean coal

Presidents can have a discourse-changing power if they know how to use it and care to use it. But they cannot do it alone.

If there is a teachable communication moment for President Obama, this is it. Bring back “empathy” — “the most important thing my mother taught me.” Speak of “empathy” for “people who are hurting.” Say again how empathy is basis of democracy (“caring for your fellow citizens”), how we have a responsibility to act on that empathy: social as well as personal responsibility. Bring the central role of empathy in democracy to the media. And make it clear that personal responsibility alone is anti-patriotic, the opposite of what America is fundamentally about. That is the first step in telling our most important untellable truths. And it is a necessary step in loosening the conservative grip on public discourse.

For videos of the president speaking about empathy, Google: Obama Empathy Youtube, and Obama Empathy Speeches.

George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Political Mind and Don’t Think of an Elephant!

Originally posted to George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:57 AM PST.

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    •  Time to give up the ghost. (105+ / 8-)

      Americablog:  On the future and the Democratic Party, his analysis is excellent:

      Galbraith: Where progressives go from here

      What happens next? Let's again not kid ourselves, we have lost a great many seats in the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives isn't coming back into a Democratic majority in the near future. Simply because of the balance of exposures -- the larger numbers of Democratic Senators exposed to reelection in the next cycle, the greatest likelihood is that the Senate will also go Republican in two years time. President Obama has set his course. He has surrounded himself with the advisers of his choice and as he moves to replace President Summers we hear from the press that the priority is to "repair the rift with his investors on Wall Street." What does that tell you? It tells me that he does not have President Clinton's fighting and survival instincts. I've not heard one good reason all day to believe that we are going to see from this White House the fight that we want, that he could win in two years, or any reason we should be backing him now.

      The Democratic Party has become too associated with Wall Street. This is a fact. It is a structural problem. It seems to me that we as progressives need -- this is my personal position -- we need to draw a line and decide that we would be better off with an under-funded, fighting progressive minority party than a party marked by obvious duplicity and constant losses on every policy front as a result of the reversals in our own leadership.

      Time to quit whining "do you want President Palin" because you are going to get a Republican anyway.   Obama's final capitulation to the Republicans will be giving them the WH in 2012.

      President Obama Declares His DLC Allegiance: Says "I Am A New Democrat"

      by dkmich on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:06:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Galbraith also said the following: (48+ / 0-)

        On the larger economic policy front, the White House gave away the game from the beginning. How? First by guessing at the scale of the disaster. When leading economic advisers (I believe, in fact, it was President Summers) announced that the unemployment rate would peak at 8%, they not only guessed wrong, but gave away the right to assign responsibility to the previous administration when things got worse. This was either elementary bad politics or deliberate self-sabotage. But it gets worse. The optimistic forecast helped to justify a weak program. Useful things were done, but not nearly enough to convey the impression of a forceful policy to the broader public. Then once the banks were taken care of and the stock market took off again, it seems clear that the team at the White House didn’t care anymore.

        •  Thread-jacking (29+ / 0-)

          Lakoff is not saying this at all.

          Look, dude, we know how much you don't like Obama.  That's clear in every post you make.  This thread is about messaging, and note he says WE also have a responsibility in messaging.

          Or did you not bother to read that part cuz it doesn't fit your own frame?

          •  Here here! (8+ / 0-)

            Hr'd for the thread jacking. How utterly contemptable of dkmich to threadjack on one of the most helpful diaries to appear on the rec list in a long while. Lakeoff is offering good info and Dems are never going to win long term if they don't start listening to what he has to say.

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:56:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And when I say that what we say here matters (13+ / 0-)

              I am talking about Lakoff and framing.

              I am NOT saying "clap louder."

              Look, one can say "I'm glad the President realized how important health care reform is, and I support some of what is in this bill.  I also am disappointed that we still need some sort of non-profit plan to give people more choices and more options."

              Or, we can say "The President is a sell-out and without a public option, this bill is a sht sandwich and does nothing.  NOTHING!  It's awful, kill it.  The President is on the side of the big corporations!!"

              Both are criticizing the exact same part of the bill, but the differences are huge:

              1. First option gives a positive frame and lets people know that what we are asking for is more freedom, gives them options, and is a positive goal to work towards.
              1. Does not feed into the "everyone hates the government getting involved in healthcare" meme that the Republicans used so effectively, even though it was false, and
              1. Gives you room to come back off the cliff and support him.  

              I'm a much bigger supporter of the President's policies than many here, and I ALSO think that the methods of attack are unsatisfactory even for the people who truly dislike his policies BECAUSE they feed right into the Republican meme that Government is Bad and not to be trusted.  

              I don't understand how anyone thinks we can simultaneously push for progressive ideals (which implicitly contain the notion that government can be a force for the public good) while at the same time tearing the government as an institution to shreds.

              Ain't gonna happen.  

              And the framing, not the criticisms themselves, is why I say this site and others like it are fast making themselves irrelevant.  No elected official will turn to support for a group that can turn, on a dime, into an angry, seething mob, with pitchforks in hand, willing to go on the news to tear you down.

              •  Sums up how I've been feeling (7+ / 0-)

                about the tone around here since, well, February of 2008. Obviously everyone will have some major and minor policy differences with Obama. There's a few things I vehemently disagree with him on - but that doesn't mean that the crazed invective which has become the norm hereis the answer.

                How about some measured, balanced criticism free of of juvenile personal insults? I suppose that has become impossible since so many here have bought into the "Obama as Neville Chamberlain-Bob Dole Manchurian candidate" frame and run with it. Instead of a dispassionate analysis coupled with overall support (which builds political capital allowing for more progressive solutions to our problems to be enacted) we get a constant drum beat of negativity, defeatism, and the worst spin possible on every decision he makes.

                Not only does this lead to a gross mischaracterization of his positions, but it's also politically stupid as it decreases our influence over his decisions.

                •  About the tone (0+ / 0-)

                  We elected President Obama. Our message is his message. Note in {block quotes} what we might identify as our intended message vs what Obama has said or done.

                  Public servant pensions have been earned.

                  President Obama freezes federal wages.

                  Empowerment is what makes a decent life possible – roads and infrastructure, communication and energy systems, education, etc. No business can function without them.

                  President Obama has assured us that he will finally sit down with the Republicans and listen to their ideas and concerns about our spending on all of the above.

                  He got more immediate money for the poor and middle class than he gave to the rich, and the poor and middle class need as much as possible now

                  And jeopardizes the future of the same group by getting $156B while giving up $700B to the top 2%.

                  enormous accumulation of wealth at the top of American society means unfair access to scarce resources, a restriction on access to necessities for many, and a grossly unfair distribution of power — power over the media and political power.

                  Citizens United..not a peep, not a rallying cry for campaign finance reform, no NAFTA repeal. South Korea is going to bail us out from these inequities or make more equitable our redistribution of labor to overseas countries?
                  Republicans are calling for a tax and business atmosphere that they can count on for stability in creating jobs and investing..all overseas. We the people want the same thing, knowing our jobs will be here, our future will be assured, and safety and well fare preserved.

                  Obama says the jobs are not coming back, supports privatised education, interfered with Spain's intent to look into criminal charges against the Bush Administration... I hear President Obama and the tone of his message is
                  Coming in loud and clear!

                  If Obama speaks for us, and Gibbs speaks for Obama, what the hell is Obama telling Gibbs?

                  •  What? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Fogiv, Driver 8

                    Point 1: Public pensions have nothing to do with freezing federal wages. These are two separate issues.

                    Point 2: the stimulus bill funded all of the things you cited [roads, energy, education, etc.]. And who cares if he sits down with republicans? He's the fucking president, it's part of his job to do so. Just because Bush ran the presidency like a partisan dipshit doesn't mean Obama should follow his lead.

                    Point 3: It's completely open to debate whether it would be more beneficial to let tax cuts expire for everyone or keep them in place for everyone. There is no middle ground - it was all or nothing. There are good faith arguments with merit on both sides.

                    Point 4:

                    enormous accumulation of wealth at the top of American society means unfair access to scarce resources, a restriction on access to necessities for many, and a grossly unfair distribution of power — power over the media and political power.

                    I agree with this - it's dangerous, but a two year extension of a four percent tax cut is really not going to make all that much difference in this 'enormous accumulation'.

                    And 'not a peep' about Citizens United? You must have missed the State of the Union address where Obama called out the Supreme Court Justices to their judicial activist faces. Not a peep? Hardly. He also called on Congress to pass the Disclose Act.

                    Privatized education? I also support different educational approaches. Why? Because our public schools have been failing for a long time. Look at where we're ranked world wide. I have no problem trying new ideas (and I come from a family of public school teachers and administrators and taught myself for three years, so I know of what I speak).

                    •  Oh, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Terri, Fogiv

                      I read the post you responded to and was thinking "Eck, what!?  Wrong, nope, not true" but didn't have the energy to take it apart point by point.

                      Then I saw you already have.   Very nice work!  

                      As someone with a pension plan at my unionized job, I positively assure you that a wage freeze and a pension are not at all the same issue!  

                      I also assure you that I know for a fact through my job that renewable energy installations at private residences are up by a huge multiplier, thanks in part to the stimulus (and also a state program, to be fair).  

                      •  Wisconsin says No (0+ / 0-)

                        $750 million for rail is now nixed. WH withdrawing funds. Too literal in the reading kids. Wages, pensions, amount of wages for federal and state employees, the number of, along with teachers, and anything union is on the GOP chopping block. Obama freezes wages, wages that are used in stimulating the economy.

                        renewable energy installations at private residences are up by a huge multiplier  

                        Give me the numbers, I love numbers. The green waste burner that was to be built in Madison, gone, the new governor said he can save $100M by using natural gas. Democrats asking for more subsidies for the ethanol industry to increase their % in gasoline to 15%, ain't green when you require more energy to produce what you are trying to save. The renewable projects, gone or cut back under the new and improved Obama backed GOP. Obama's message? Gotta address that growing deficit vs Investment in Ameirica will pay dividends now and in the future.

                        As someone with a pension plan at my unionized job

                        Care to share the specifics? You miss the part where most are underfunded? I don't know of one in this country that is stable. America is shedding these obligations, Enron was just ahead of the curve.

                        Peeps and squeaks are for chickens and wheels, but you don't get a field plowed by talking about it.

                        •  You want numbers? (0+ / 0-)

                          My home state of PA, up from .9 mw of power in 2007 to 7.3 mw of capacity in 2009, and guaranteed much higher than that in 2010 because the installations picked up this year over last, at least where I work.

                          US, up from 479 mw in 2007 to 1256 mw in 2009.

                          These are grid-connected numbers and don't count those who are off-grid, though those numbers are probably small.

                          I work in a highly regulated industry, and my company pension is well-funded.  I get the reports as does the union and they don't underfund it.  Still, thanks for your concern, which I am sure is genuinely for the well-being of my own personal retirement and was not tossed in there to try to score political points.

                          This president has been huge for renewable energy.  I would like to see more, but compared to any other we've had in like, well, forever, he has done so much more.

                          Nice way to take lemonade and make lemons, though.

                          •  1-2%? (0+ / 0-)

                            The PUC in many states are requiring that the utility companies invest a certain % in green technology on an increasing scale. 90-95% of the pensions in this country are underfunded. Please share

                            my company pension is well-funded

                            I work in a highly regulated industry

                            If you do it must not be one with any significant $$ otherwise Bush would have sabotaged the regulation. Let's see, coal? Nope. Offshore oil drilling? Nope. Eggs, meats, drugs, lettuce, tomatoes? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. Plumbers or electrical union? Nope. Over 30% of their members are sitting on the sidelines. Teachers unions, anything having to do with NY? Nope. Hey, why should I keep guessing. Tell me about those union numbers from Reagan to present. Yet, yours is well-funded...you think, you hope, but maybe not.

              •  me too! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terri, Driver 8

                it is hard because i don't care for the way everything has been handled but i also sure as hell would not want to have to deal with all the decisions and bullshit he has to.  i proudly voted for him and will do so again.

                framing and the way that comes off in the media is HUGE and if we dont fix it and stop looking like a group of wild animals out to kill or be killed it just wont fair well for anyone. its not just the Presidency i don't want to loose, its every single person down the ticket all the way to city council and dog catcher.  

                we must think of how we talk about each other, the President and the WRONG side.  we must.

              •  Yeah, I know, but I've been feeling so upset (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joynow

                with the Obama-GOP tax deal, that I've been doing it myself.

                Maybe it's better to say, "I know he sincerely wants to help people, and I know he's been put into an untenable position by the Republicans, but I disagree with him.  I think it's time to stand and fight."

                •  I even see why he thought he did a good thing. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Driver 8

                  People say he promised to end bush tax cuts. It was part of campaign but his promise was, his focus was, that he would not raise taxes on people earning the 200/250K.

                  I have been more upset by the anti-Obama frenzy in this than I have been by Obama's deal for a few reasons.

                  One was hearing Ezra Klein breaking it down on on Countdown the very first night.
                  it breaks down this way:

                  $130 billion for the rich and the estate tax

                  $300 billion are for the middle tax cuts
                  $120 billion for a payroll tax cut
                  $40 billion for the tax extenders(earned income tax credits and education tax credit)
                  $56 billion are for jobless benefits

                  Then "either $30 billion or $180 billion for a tax break to help businesses invest"

                  I sure thought the good parts should have lasted the same 2 years as the breaks for the rich and still hope  that could change...
                  but out of 900 billion only 130 billion is for the rich? Like 15%?

                  And breathing room for the unemployed (still eligible) who were so often brought to the precipice, not knowing if it be delayed or stopped and republicans blithely threw out their insults about dependency and not wanting a job or needing drug testing...

                  Any way I bet Obama thought he had this gift he was offering, this help people would be getting in these tough times.
                  That he got this and now it could go quickly and we could get the other big bills done while we still had this majority

                  I don't think he expected this.

                  The other reason I'm not so upset with him is I saw him in months before the election really slamming republicans on this whenever he rallied for someone.
                  Great! This was time to do it. Put republicans in spotlight, let the Dems fight on this and vote over and over if needed, get the pressure on. If there was any time we had the cudgel it was then.

                  But too many Dems were scared of this to even get a vote in house or senate. I'm sure the most now angry at Obama now were ready to vote then.

                  When it didn't happen I thought we were screwed. We have seen this Senate minority and just after that big election when they knew the power they were gaining? We would not get shit.
                  But we got better than shit. We didn't get great, I wish we could have better, but we got okay.

                  Obama could have handled things better...
                  but boy I keep reading he betrayed us, he caved, he is this and that really bad thing.

                  There are lots of things I could rant about regarding what he is doing. But not this.

          •  No, this is entirely relevant. The president, in (12+ / 0-)

            this case, clearly has a "framing" that equates stock market and GDP gains with "turnaround," and this is why he's so obsessed with the deficit and making Wall St. and the bankers happy.  It's his bullshit frame, not ours, but it prevents him from seeing the very frames that Lakoff is hoping will one day take hold.  

            Obama is himself enthralled by the conservative frames, i.e.

            This is spot on.

            [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

            by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:59:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  And this is relevant to (37+ / 0-)

        Mr. Lakoff's excellent diary...how exactly? Nice thread-jack though! And make sure you cut and paste this comment into other diaries on the rec list. Oh wait.

      •  Progressive Democrats need to make (8+ / 0-)

        common cause with the real Tea Party folk -- as opposed to the organizers who were suborned by the Kochs.

        What we need to recognize is that Congress hasn't been captured by the industrial/financial/commercial class.  Rather, in response to universal suffrage and the prospect of being governed by the people, the power-hungry have suborned the industrial/financial/commercial moguls to do their dirty work.  The focus on corporate and individual donors as an avenue to political campaign regulation was evidence of fraudulent intent.  If the behavior of actual and potential office holders was to be affected, it's their behavior the laws would have addressed.  That both Democrats and Republicans lent their name to that fraud merely tells us that it's the power of the office holders that's at stake.  And, as it happens, if universal suffrage can't be reversed and power can't be personally asserted by the office holders, then a surrogate cadre of private corporate office holders is a next best alternative.

        Think of Congress as comparable to mother holding out the threat of a punitive dad delivering discipline at the end of the week and raising not a word in objection when he leaves his pay at the pub and comes home to beat the children for good measure.  You'd call that a disfunctional family.  When it happens in Washington, we should recognize it's corrupt.  But, who's worse?  The drunk or the triangulating mother?

        The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

        by hannah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:29:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  tr for completely off topic threadjack attached (11+ / 0-)

        to the tip jar intentionally to stir the shit....

        Meteor Blades, It's really time to put an end to this before it completely blows up what's left of the unity on this site.......

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:23:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Irrelevant to this discussion (10+ / 0-)

        This comment does NOT show you're smarter, it shows that you don't listen and love attention-getting devices.

      •  "Whining" (8+ / 0-)

        That meme is so old it dates to the original Luntz list of pejoratives he advised the Republican party to fling against Democrats.

        "Time to quit" repeating it, I think.

        HR for sabotage.

      •  Did you just quote Americablog? (0+ / 0-)

        LOL, They are worse than Drudge dude. lol

      •  I think you miss something (6+ / 0-)

        ALL of politics is associated with Wall Street. Not just the Dems.

        The question then becomes - who is going to listen to you, who is going to tell you the truth?

        The Dems SAY they're for the little guy, and then turn around and do things that, to the little guy, seem to only benefit Wall Street. When they do things that benefit the little guy, they do them in an ineffective way, or in a way that pretty much guarantees that the little guy won't remember them when elections roll around.

        Obama's tax cut is the perfect example. Rather than keep withholding tables the same, which would pretty much guarantee a larger refund for most people, which is something people notice and REMEMBER, they gave it to people in little increments that people forget about. Yeah, they got a few more bucks a week. Whoop. People DO NOT remember that after a fewe months. But if they get a larger refund, or better yet, a check in the mail, or a line on the tax form that says 'Obama tax cut - deduct $800 from the tax due' - they remember those things.

        The tax fight going on now is another perfect example. The Dems COULD have forced this fight in October. They SHOULD have done that, it might have saved them a few seats. Even if it didn't get passed then, it would have shown that they were thinking about the average guy, and fighting for them.

        Waiting until AFTER the election, when they've already lost, is asinine. Really stupid. At this point they should just go home and let the Republicans deal with it in January. They'll have to, the pundits will be screaming. And if they DON'T deal with it, it will be the GOP that raised taxes, because they set it up this way.

        At least if you vote for Republicans, they're not going to lie to you. Everybody knows they're not going to help the little guy. I don't know why the Dems are so bad at this.

        If you say you're for something, BE FOR IT. Don't just SAY it. People HATE that.

        •  I've been reading books on U.S. and Global (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terri, Lefty Mama

          politics and economics feaverishly the last couple of years. Trying to understand. Often the complexities are beyond me. But patterns are quickly discernable.

          I seriously wonder whether any president could forthrightly, overtly, and instantly challenge the domination of the global financiers and oligopolies. They run the world -- and our governments. As much damage as we've seen them wreak in recent years, they could do vastly much more damage. Nearly immediately. They have the power to destroy the state. And they have no loyalty to it.

          I've been fascinated (morbidly) by the similarities of the 2008 crash and 1907 panic, as well as those that preceded and were interspersed by these.

          We are naive to underestimate the power of these forces.

          "Statistics are people with the tears washed away." Sociologist Ruth Sidel

          by Vicky on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:52:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think most people realize that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lefty Mama

            and most people realize that politicians lie to them. All.the.time.

            So they try to pick the person who lies the least. At this point, that tends to be the Republicans, just because they really don't make any bones about NOT being for the little guy, and pretty much everything they do reinforces that.

            So if you're trying to pick somebody who's misrepresenting themselves the LEAST, that's who you vote for. Because you KNOW pretty much what they're going to to. You might not LIKE it, but at least you know what's coming.

            The Dems try to tell people what they want to hear. People, rightly or wrongly, think Congress and to a greater extent, the President, have way more power than they actually do.

            If some big multinational company wants to move their manufacturing to China, there's not a hell of a lot the govt can do to stop them, other than making it too expensive for them to do so by enacting tariffs and other types of import duties, and we've got treaties against that. Which those companies were instrumental in getting passed, so they probably know better than Congress what they can legally do with no cost to them.

            Legislate against some fancy financial instrument, and the banksters will come up with another. Try to regulate the health insurers, and they find a way around it.

            We should still TRY, of course, but promising that you'll do X when X is either damnably hard or impossible just makes people think you're lying to them when it DOESN'T happen.

            That's why Republicans are vague - you can interpret that in multitudes of ways, so they can rightfully say they didn't lie.

            It's also why we need to be way, way more vague about things, NEVER, but never make a numeric prediction, and leave things open to interpretation.

            If Obama had said that he didn't think unemployment would go up too much, and that it should stabilize in a year or so - he would have been right. EXACTLY right. 'too much' is open to interpretation, and unemployment HAS stabilized - just at a much higher number than anybody likes.

            See how that works?

          •  well, we've had one group try (0+ / 0-)

            The're either courageous or CRAZY.  

            But WikiLeaks planned to expose Bank of America and then the power of the Government was unleashed. You noticed not before when it was just the State Department.  

            So, one theory is that transparency is the key.  I'm not convinced of this because we have the Downing Street memos that implicate Bush and Cheney and yet in the face of that, no investigations and they walk free.  That is when I knew our country was in trouble that the Plutocrats had effective control of our Government.

            --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

            by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:34:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Republicans lie constantly (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terri, chipoliwog, BMarshall

          They claim they're doing things for freedom and moral values, not that their core aim is to transfer money from 99% of the population to the other 1%.

          •  You're not getting the point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Leap Year

            Yes, they say those things. But they never, ever say what things they're going to do - so when they do something that lines their pockets, or the pockets of the rich, they can claim that they're doing it for freedom and moral values.

            It's pretty hard to say they're NOT, since they never gave specifics of how they were going to uphold freedom or moral values.

            YOU might not think that's why they did it, but you can't PROVE that's why, since they never, ever gave any specifics. But people pretty much know what they're going to do - they just think they're part of the rich who will benefit.

            NOBODY, but nobody, ever thinks they're poor, unless they're living in their car. And even then, they might not admit it.

            •  Were we listening to the same campaigns? (0+ / 0-)

              Consider how often McCain lied about everything. No, I definitely am NOT getting your point!

              •  I think you both get it. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mmacdDE, MichaelNY

                Republicans lie AND refuse to say exactly what they are planning to do, or why. Iraq was to protect us from terrorists. Preserving billionaire tax cuts is to protect small businesses. Opposing health care reform is to stop death panels. The Clear Skies Act actually allows more pollution. And so on to infinity. McCain, Reagan, Bush, Boehner, whoever, they all do the same thing.

      •  Palin is Obama's Last Best Hope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buzzer

        Or if not Palin, somebody equally nutty and incompetent. Obama's enabling of Republican policy positions is ultimately more damaging to Progresives then a Republican President being a Republican. We can differentate our brand from a Republican but Obama is actually destroying Progresvies longterm ability to offer a credible framework.

        Low information voters, and most voters are that, take media at its word and believe Obama to be a Liberal. They don't really know what that means, and polls have shown that many don't actually view the term negatively. Most voters also don't understand the President's role in policy and think that America is living under Liberal policy because we have a Liberal President. Life hasn't gotten any better, and for many it is worse, so they conclude that Liberal policys are a failure. That is Obama's gift to the Democrats and to the Progressives. He has convinced average Americans that the Republican policys he facilitates are actually Liberal policies and that they are a failure.

      •  What I don't understand is the stpidity (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chipoliwog, highacidity, MichaelNY

        All the adminstration has to say is.  
        Hey I totally support wall street and our financial institutions but I don't support crooks and liars who will undermined our society......

        I will go after and prosecute the wrong doers and that will make the rest stronger and sound

        Takin it to the streets....Doobie Brothers

        by totallynext on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:34:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  besides Palin won't be the nominee, already (0+ / 0-)

        the swiftboating and dirt have begun to ensure she fails.

        Proud Member of the Vast Sanctimonius Wing Conspiracy

        by polticoscott on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:22:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is known as "hi-jacking a diary." (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Terri, highacidity, buddabelly, MichaelNY

        I hesitate to award a donut, because I think Galbraith has an important perspective.  But I agree with those who did award donuts.

        Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights do make a left.

        by Simian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:38:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  After (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        they pass a sweeping Wall Street Reform bill opposed by the Republicans, you say this?  Aye, both parties are beholden in some degree to Wall Street, but it is much more so with the Republicans.  Nobody's giving up anyone's ghost.  In fact, the party has improved.  Don't jump horses in the middle of the river.

        Cold hearted orb/That rules the night/Removes the colours From our sight/Red is gray and/Yellow white/But we decide/Which is right/And/Which is an Illusion

        by KingofSpades on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:51:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And no (0+ / 0-)

        this will not give them the WH in 2012.  They have nobody to run who can win the primary and the general.  Nobody.

        Cold hearted orb/That rules the night/Removes the colours From our sight/Red is gray and/Yellow white/But we decide/Which is right/And/Which is an Illusion

        by KingofSpades on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:51:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And don't thread jack. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        Cold hearted orb/That rules the night/Removes the colours From our sight/Red is gray and/Yellow white/But we decide/Which is right/And/Which is an Illusion

        by KingofSpades on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:54:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

        But consider this a legitimate take on what's happening now, so I'm uprating to counter the hide-rates, which I think are abusive.

        Actually, I partially agree. The Democratic Party's association with the big banks and brokerage houses, especially Goldman Sachs, is a fact and is one of the biggest problems today.

        What I don't agree with is that a Republican candidate will inevitably win the 2012 presidential election. If the economy improves significantly, President Obama will win.

      •  I'm untipping this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly

        on the basis that you are spamming this and thread-jacking. I also disagree that it is ever too late to embrace Lakoff's messaging ideas.

    •  I actually agree with much of what you wrote (11+ / 0-)

      Just as my copy of 'Don't Think of an Elephant' is now dog-eared and worn...

      But for the life of me, I have difficulty understanding how this can be written - as it was here, and as it was also permeating much of Elephant:

      I am often asked, "Is there a slogan I can use tomorrow that will turn things around?" Certainly there are better things that can be said tomorrow. But things don’t turn around so quickly. There is a lot do and to bear in mind over the long haui. Here is a brief list.

      I'm not that old, but I am old enough to remember a day when "death tax" wasn't an omnipresent cliche.

      I don't think the GOP or conservatives are necessarily better at using language - it often seems to me that they just have the patience to pound it over time.

      I look back at the healthcare debate - in particular, the "public option".   A lot of people would cursorily toss about polls showing a majority of Americans supported it and think the job was done - it was over 50%, therefore it was just a matter of the damnable congress and President enacting it.

      Yet - what reasonable person wouldn't support an "option"?  An option is for someone else - and maybe me, too.  But it's an option - which means if I don't like it, it's meaningless.  I suspect it's pretty rare for people to oppose "options".    As Nate Silver wrote at the time - the polls where the public option was weighed against other priorities in the reform package, it was a boutique issue... It ranked very low relative to other items... because it was an option.

      My point is that it's more of the same impatience - the sense that the job was done because the right wording was discovered for the short-term goal... but - it seems to me - "public option" was self-defeating... Public option - meaning public insurance might be a bad thing, so we'll make it optional...

      So what happens then?  Well, everyone gets really upset because we didn't enshrine a long-term, self-defeating description.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:12:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the time, if not mistaken, (12+ / 0-)

        Lakhoff had suggested that the "public option" might have been better framed, the "American Option"

        ...that would have made a great frame to go up against the teabaggers. Imagine the signs, bumper-stickers, etc...but we don't tend to listen to the professor as often as we might.

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:41:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it would have been better (0+ / 0-)

          if it had been called 'public FUNDING'

          Not an option, but paying the COST of health insurance out of public funds.

          That would imply that everybody would get it. And nobody would be against it, because it would benefit EVERYBODY. It wouldn't require changing your plan or your doctor - what would change was how the insurance was paid for.

          If it doesn't have to come out of my pocket directly, I'm all for it.

          Then it becomes an argument over how much insurance should cost, and what it should cover, which is where the focus should have been, IMHO.

        •  Absolutely right Sybil! (0+ / 0-)

          We really do need to get better at the simple idea of positive framing.

            I liked all those terms bandied about then, American Option, Americare, etc.

          "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

          by elwior on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:55:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sitting right on your nose, yet you can't see it. (0+ / 0-)

        The willingness to pound the catch phrases is one of the things that makes the conservatives better at using language.  But they ARE better at coming up with the catch phrases too.  

        I mean you just followed a claim of 'I don't think they are better at using language' with an argument about how bad the catch phrase Democrats used was 'self-defeating.'

        And regarding that particular phrase, it wasn't the best choice by any means, but you're pretty much dead wrong.

        •  You're missing some subtlety (0+ / 0-)

          My point about the 'PO' was precisely about long-term vs. short-term.

          Long-term - "public option" is not a "death taxes".  It was a term coined for short-term gain... getting a boutique symbol inserted into the bill - the Fox story you cited and I'm well-aware of doesn't negate that.

          Short-term, solely to enshrine a largely meaningless and symbolic bauble into the bill - yes, it worked.... but I would hope you're aware that it WAS meaningless.  As the CBO, Kaiser, and everyone else who checked under the hood said -- it was going to cost more and offer lower benefits than privately available plans.  It was going to be an adverse selection pool.

          But it's not a "death taxes" because it dead-ends there.

          They certainly weren't about to trumpet it -- but the reason the Hamshers and the like still wanted it was because it was part of a grand plan (one which they didn't have a phase 2, much less a phase 3 or 4, etc) to get a public insurance foot in door.

          That's my point - I'll admit - I didn't transition it well and the thought process I was walking didn't come out exactly in the words I wrote (that's the danger of typing while you're sitting on a conference call)...

          But - it was about a short-term enshrinement to get a meaningless bauble in place while only making the long-term harder.

          It was failure to have the patience for the long-term.

          I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

          by zonk on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:59:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're missing your contradiction. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adrianrf

            You're still making arguments about how bad the Democrats are at framing after saying 'I don't think we're bad at framing.'

            As for the rest of the yadda yadda, you're wrong.  That's not how 'everyone who looked under the hood' scored the public option.  That's not even how the CBO scored the public option versus Obamacare (which in and of itself is a frame that very well may backfire on the Republicans in the long term...but I doubt it).  

            It's abundantly clear within said yadda yadda that you have a thing for contradicting yourself.  For instance, you call something 'meaningless' then (assuming it was meaningless, which I don't agree with) go on to describe the meaning behind it, ie. the push for single payer.

            But allow me to add that Democrats aren't always bad at framing.  For instance when Democrats want to bludgeon the left, they deftly come up with shit like shifting the blame to 'the Hamshers,' or  demonstrate a clever usage of language, stating an assumption as a proven fact (that there wasn't a phase 2, 3, etc.).  Or better yet, they can diminish an important step toward an important goal as a 'bauble.'  Or for that matter call the desire for everyone to have real health care as a "pony."  Oh yes, when we want to bash the left, we come up with effective more effective frames than we know what to do with.

            But your entire argument is essentially a tale of 'tail wags the dog.'  

            Well, everyone gets really upset because we didn't enshrine a long-term, self-defeating description.

            No, people are not mad that we didn't enshrine a phrase, or a 'bauble' as you chose to call it.  People are mad that we didn't enshrine phase one on the road to single payer.  People are mad because what we got was the shortest of short term solutions, with no mechanism to make the wealthy start paying for a public good.

            As for your repeated reference of "death taxes," the fact is, you chose as your shining example of long term framing one of the least effective frames the Republicans have come up with over the past 30 years.  Studies show it doesn't matter whether it is called the 'estate tax' or the 'death tax' people like and dislike it, by whatever name is used, in equal amounts.

            Furthermore, even if everything you say regarding "public option" not being effective because it's not designed for the long term, "public option" is "death taxes" because both of them 'dead end there' if the policy objective is accomplished.  Parties will then move on to other things.  Long term strategies are definitely important, but not every frame needs to be designed for the long haul.  

            But you still seem to miss a larger point while arguing against yourself.  It's not just a commitment to long term.  It's a lack of effective frames, it's a lack of discipline...it's a lack of everything that goes into effective framing.

            •  First (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not talking about how the public option scored vis a vis the cost of the bill or the deficit...  

              I'm talking about the analysis of the benefits and costs for beneficiaries - where it was estimated that premiums would be higher and benefits would be at the low end of the minimum mandates in the bill by everyone that reported on it.  

              Setting aside framing -- let's agree that it doesn't matter how you wrap a turd, it's still a turd.  

              In other words - my truck with the PO crowd was that they were coming up with a way to sell something (and they were moderately successful at that) that was going to be self-defeating.  The counter-argument would be the foot-in-the-door argument - "we can fix it later"... but I never saw any plans to do that.  I'm actually in favor of single-payer.  I think it's a long path to get there, and I don't think there will ever a single bill that does it.  I just think it's essential that the seed, the infant that grows up to be single-payer cannot be stillborn.

              The majority of Americans right now do not trust the government to get things right.  Hell - of late - most of this site seems to agree with that.  That makes it essential that any public insurance plan delivered IS able to get things right... and the PO that came out of the house didn't do that - it would have only reinforced the view.  No amount of framing would change that.

              As to the rest -

              well, we're getting into a lot of semantics and nitpicking -- and as I've got one ear devoted to an argument between relational database architectures vs object database models, it's clear that you're going to win that argument as I'm undoubtedly not going to be able to keep up with you... so I'll cede the battlefield to you.

              I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

              by zonk on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:00:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  That, and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, highacidity, TiaRachel

        I don't think the GOP or conservatives are necessarily better at using language - it often seems to me that they just have the patience to pound it over time.

        the fact that they own and control the corporate "liberal" media.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:19:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is WAY deeper than that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf

        Yet - what reasonable person wouldn't support an "option"?

        See, the problem isn't the word "option," it's the word "public." In the conservative mind, the word "public" brings to mind "public restroom," and "public housing." It's a bad word.

        Same with "civic."

        Same with "consumer."

        Those are now virtually pejorative. What Dr Lakoff is getting at is the idea that some words in our language have to be reclaimed. When the word "government" is, itself, an epithet to be spit out of the mouth like a noxious insect, we have a serious problem.

        The long road ahead will involve a two-pronged effort, in which some words, like "public" and "government" need to be recast as neutral or positive, some like "liberal" may need to be abandoned entirely, and some frames created afresh.

        What you said here is akin to having noted that there should be nothing wrong with the term "environmentally friendly," because what could be wrong with the word "friendly"? The problem is that "environment" is now a dirty word.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:17:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for reminding us (16+ / 0-)

      I have been beside myself trying to repeat this message in comments and even in my last diary, but there are always people who refuse to believe this material. For some reason, even in the face of defeat, they feel that the Enlightenment-based reasoning will eventually win out.

      First, we need to have the most vocal folks around here start to take this framing business seriously. Then we need a framingKos group to help the Democrats and the Presidents with their framing - obviously they're not going to do it themselves.

      I know this is also the goal of the Rockridge Institute, and it's a shame that more Dems haven't taken advantage of your wisdom to school themselves in effective framing.  

    •  We have got to tax speculation. (13+ / 0-)

      A shift towards increasing tax on speculation, and reducing the tax load on labor is the only way out.

      Obama/Democrats: The Earth is round. Republicans: No! it's flat!
      The compromise: The Earth is a triangle.

      by shpilk on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:40:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a way back to balance ....... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, zedaker

        We've always needed gamblers, but we don't need everyone trying to do it. And with the pendulum swung in their favor (as it is now), the consequence of their botched plays hurts all of us more than it hurts them. That's why credit default swaps are basically evil and should be regulated to near extinction.

      •  you may have a point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, drewfromct

        trying to tax or limit speculation directly is almost impossible. A transaction tax would just drive trading offshore and further away from regulation. A tax or a ban on specific types of securities such as CDSs (per geez53) would just result in securities becoming even more complicated and opaque so as to avoid definition as a taxed or banned type, and again, trading would move offshore.

        Capital gains tax rates higher than earned income tax rates (with a threshold high enough to protect middle class retirement funds and a higher rate for short term investments) avoids all the messiness.

        •  In any case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity, HiBob

          it's still good framing to call it gambling and tax it as such. This would be a particularly excellent wedge to drive between the religious fundamentalists and the Wall St. capitalists in the Republican coalition. The Wall Streeters are nothing more than high tech, high stakes gamblers when you boil down the essence of what they do. They do not invent, design, or construct anything. They are simply nothing more than glorified bookies and loansharks. The religious fundamentalists see gambling as a sin, and sin is something they love to tax.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:33:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  "eschew assessment-cuts on fat cats!" (0+ / 0-)

      Ok, so is it possible for a progressive to say "no tax cuts for millionaires" while following these rules?
      Reminder the word "tax" has been ceded to the conservatives by these rules, you will need to use a pejorative to replace "millionaire" to avoid activating an association with the desire to become a millionaire, and the entire concept of negation is right out (no "no", "nil", etc.). And you will need to do it in six words or less   this is a quip after all, not a platform position. After all, "there you go again", "tear down this wall" Reagan would have said it in four.

      "eschew assessment-cuts on fat cats!"? -ehh.
      I think I'm going to have to cheat and allow myself the word "tax".

      "less income, less tax"? -The phrase "less income" might activate an unwelcome association with being poor.

      "tax the yacht fund, not the fishing boat fund" -  too long, still uses negation.

      I think you generally provide very sound advice, Mr. Lakoff, but I don't think these rules are an example. Marketing and sloganeering is about finding what works and using it effectively. If your rules about the marketing of politics are correct we should be exploiting them, not ceding them to conservatives.

    •  No one "surrendered the public discourse" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CTPatriot, Leap Year, elwior, stolen water

      It was stolen fair and square through a process detailed by David Brock in The Republican Noise Machine.

      Strong, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. -core value of Julian Assange

      by geomoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:53:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  empathy= bleeding heart (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leap Year, Parthenia

      Unfortunately I think empathy is not a strong enough word compared to the Republican framing of that word as a "bleeding heart."

      Is there a better progressive way to frame "empathy"?

      Ok, it seems to me that Republican "tough" compared to Democratic "softies" is what the real distinction is.

      It is considered "cool" in our society to be "tough" vs the "love and peace" crowd.

      My own framing is "civilized" vs "un-civilized"

      Again and again, Republicans will choose the "Un-civilized" route.

      Poor manners is a badge of honor for them. It makes them strong and tough. They pretty much still live in the wild west with their attitudes.

      Me, Me, Me and everyone else can drop dead.

      The other thing that someone pointed out to me is that populism in the US is different from populism in Europe:

      In America, populist contempt is commonly directed toward those below us, never above as historically in Europe.  It's a really odd phenomenon . . .

      Single-payer was out at the start. The public option died. A Medicare buy-in died. The number of Americans who would be covered shrank.

      by fayeforcure on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:49:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  civilized vs. ?? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liberte

        I like your civilized distinction.  Although I doubt it would impress our more conservative folk, healthy community relies on empathy.  Unfortunately, I doubt that the term "uncivilized" has much punch either.

        What is a quickly grasped symbol of rampant destruction cause by greed?

        •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

          we need an easy symbol of rampant destruction caused by greed.

          Single-payer was out at the start. The public option died. A Medicare buy-in died. The number of Americans who would be covered shrank.

          by fayeforcure on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:56:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Pillage. (0+ / 0-)

          The pillaging of Main Street.

          And there's Regressive.We should use that word every time we say the word Republican-"the regressive republican tax plan" "regressive republican environmental laws" etc.

          "Not smuggling--SNUGGLING. Tea baggers love sheep SNUGGLING! Do I have to draw you a friggin' picture?" Homogenius

          by liberte on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:20:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  empathy requires (0+ / 0-)

        considering the importance of Society. Too many conservatives are convinced that they have no responsibility to, and owe none of their success to, Society. They like to pretend that the big tough Palin Alaska attitude, the myth of the self-made man, are real, and that this is the key to success. As they see it, empathy is for suckers trying to help losers. The fact that they can do this while claiming to love and follow Jesus, who was pretty much all about empthy, is one of the world's great mysteries.

    •  Can't rec highly enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Parthenia

      I wrote a little diary (I won't link...check my page if interested) about how we need to change how we talk about wages, which draws from exactly this point you make:

      Markets in a democracy have a fundamentally moral as well as economic function.  Working people who produce goods and services are necessary for businesses and should be paid in line with profits and productivity. Salary scales in private industry are a matter of public, not just private concern. Middle-class salaries have not gone up in 30 years, while the income of the top 1 percent has zoomed upward astronomically. This is a moral issue.

      You can find support for this line of thinking even in conservative thinking, such as Atlas Shrugged.  Rand clearly thought people should be paid for the value they can provide...not what the free market for labor permitted an employer to pay them.

    •  Maybe you missed (0+ / 0-)
      the polls, but most Americans were against this.  Framing wasn't the problem here.  The problem is a government establishment that is owned by big money.
    •   Sorry, dude. (0+ / 0-)

      But if I can't have an intelligent conversation -- which includes using negation to, you know, negate -- then I'm not going to have a conversation at all.

      Treating the electorate as if they are not educable is taking the weasel's way out. If you don't respect your audience enough to believe they can be persuaded by your actual language, rather than by some gestalt bubbling cognitive frame primed by the unordered, nonlinguistic perception of the words in your sentences, then you don't respect them well enough to be participating in the democratic process. Real communication, and real thought about that communication, are far more complex and subtle than the "toy problems" (as computer scientists would call them) used in the various research that you cite. Indeed, the general evidence from computational linguistics is that you must have negation in order to produce a sensible model of whatever you want a system to learn.

      The problem with "I am not a crook" and "I am not a witch" is not that they futilely attempt negation, it is that by the time you have to explicitly tell voters that you're not a crook or a witch, you're already cooked. The problem with Obama saying (imagining for a moment that he would bother), "I am not a socialist," is not that it activates the "socialist frame" and the "obama frame" together in the minds of the hypothetically dimwitted audience, incapable of anything even approaching rational thought; rather, the problem is that anybody who is damn fool enough to seriously think Obama is a socialist doesn't care about what Obama has to say about anything, period.

      More generally, the essential problem faced by the Democrats in the rhetorical battle with the Republicans is simply that the Republicans are cynical, shameless, cheerful liars. And you can't successfully respond to lies by simply saying something else. You have to respond to lies by aggressively arguing -- using real, meaningful language to expose the lies. The "bad frame" has already been established in the minds of the audience, and simply talking around it or away from it does not make it go away. And that inevitably must include the use of negation.

      Though personally, I suspect that the task is indeed hopeless. When you're up against people who have utter contempt for ethics, knowledge and reason, and who are happy to exploit the human brain's susceptibility to certain varieties of excitation, I'm not sure there's any recourse.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 07:19:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This can be summed up with a few words.. (3+ / 6-)

    This president sucks.

    •  No. (25+ / 0-)

      OTOH - one of the points is that a leader needs a movement to get out in front of....

      IOW - the leader can not BE the movement, the value of the politics of personality is NULL because the movement goes only as far as the leader and the leader goes only as far as the movement.  When the movement and the leader are nearly one and the same, it's like a dog chasing its tail - they go around in circle.  They may go very quickly, but they never go anywhere.

      NOW....

      If you have a movement that supports the PRINCIPLES that a leader espouses, then the movement can support the principles and the leader can lead based on those principles.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:47:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And democrats WANTED Obama to give the (7+ / 0-)

        store away to the already-rich.

        He's just leading those who want to help the rich.

        That's the movement Obama is leading, is it?

        That is how the reality of some - such as me - see this situation in the rosey, hope-filled, excessively positive framing you have so graciously provided for us.

        In other words, I think you are seeing it exactly backwards and calling that a good thing.

        America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
        Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:00:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe I need to take (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          copymark, cato, TexMex

          up the herb - because I don't understand any of your comments any more.

          Show me the POLICY!

          by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:55:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I could see it that way (17+ / 0-)

          And perhaps there is an element of that to person Obama.  But between ofa (I always type that in small letters because I've never felt it deserved Capitals) and a worshipful Obama following what has been successfully beaten down until just lately has been a political discourse that creates and generates the elements of the left argument.  Mr. Lakoff points out that pols do not "create" and say anything that doesn't already exist on the political playing field and have a following.  So worshipping Obama and trying to crack anyone over the head for saying "bad things" will continue to destroy leader Obama.  Allowing ofa to shape the debates is to allow those who are most fearful and risk adverse to shape a really horrible powerless left discourse.  To allow this President to continue to beat down other liberal voices is to allow him to weaken himself even further than he already is.  I'm just not going to do that to him.  Other may feel otherwise for awhile because a lot of people have been hurt and upset for too long to easily apply themselves.  I am the left though.  You are the left.  We are bigger than this one President.  He may want to eventually join us though....or not.  I will give him reasons though to have to steer negotiations left.  Using a frame stolen from inclusiveheart, I will not enable him to become the next James Buchanan :)

          •  I am not sure that you can stop him, but (11+ / 0-)

            he should be thankful that you're going to try ;)

            Really, he could end up with NO friends.  And that wouldn't be a good thing.

            Yesterday's revolt in the House was just the beginning of what could start to happen to him.

            Of course, from the stand point of the the greater historical perspective, a weakened executive entering just after a time when the Executive Branch took far too much power from the Legislative Branch of government might be a good thing - that might be a good shift.

            I see the promise for change coming from the House.  The House as gerrymandered as many districts are, is still far more representative of the views of the American people as a whole than the Senate or White House are right now.  It was meant to be the more responsive body, but it really is right now.

            The Executive Branch now that it is term limited is, I think, the least substantive branch in terms of action and progress.  Because no one gets to stick around any longer than eight years, they don't worry about what might happen in twelve or fifteen.  FDR actually did worry about what might happen ten years down the road - he apparently wanted to keep being President and cared about how his decisions might affect him years later - not just in this two-term mentality that we are dealing with now.  That's another reason why I'm more inclined to rally around the party than rally around a personality in the White House.

            Anyhow, funny reference MT :)  I was reading and reading and all of a sudden I saw my name! lol

        •  Use Lakoff messaging as leverage against Obama... (6+ / 0-)

          ...If this is truly how you feel, I suspect the progressive moral messaging that Lakoff is describing would be a more useful tool with which to influence the debate. Try it as an exercise in reframing for public consumption.

          Obama inherited the predictable consequences of Republican rule and subsequent obstructionism. Primarily a biproduct of those two factors, we arrive at the current impasse in which there is no choice which is more than suboptimal and no choice without risk.

          The risks that go with compromise or confrontation are estimatable. Compromise limits short term distress but only temporarily defers resolution of larger legislative and economic risks. Confrontation almost certaintly ensures short term damage to the unemployed but has the long term benefit of addressing deficit spending. However, the short term risks are great as we go forward with a Republican dominated House.

          No matter which course you endorse, one thing is for certain, you should frame your position from the perspective of progressive morality to avoid reinforcing regressive modes of thought in yourself, your peers, and bystanders. It is entirely possible to assail Obama on the merits using the basic concepts Lakoff detailed without alienating yourself, others or you idealogy.

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:39:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually this is the underlying reason... (5+ / 0-)

            ...for people's antipathy to Obama now.

            He came in promising change and something new.

            And he failed to deliver new frames and repudiation of the old Bush ways.

            He failed to lead us out of the purgatory that Bush created.

            He promised that, and he didn't deliver, instead just giving us continuation of Bush policies in a variety of areas.

            In so doing, he failed to learn one of the central lessons of Macchiavelli's The Prince.  You must ensure that everyone believes that a revolution is occurring, even if you don't change that much.

            Obama failed miserably at this.

            Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

            by maxschell on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:49:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What is Change? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              maxschell, highacidity, boofdah

              I posted a diary the other day exploring that question. The crux is that it may be that the abstract notion of change means something very different to POTUS Obama than it does to the individuals who unconsciously projected their own meaning into change.

              Analysis of Congressional voting behavior and economic trends reveals a correlation between liberal-conservative polarization and worsening income inequality. The resulting gridlock has primarily served Republican policy aims. It is easier to destory/prevent than it is to build. Thus social security and minimum wages which are no indexed to inflation are hard fought necessities that erode over time.

              If Obama promised anything it was and end to gridlock. The "Republicans and Democrats" chapter in Audacity of Hope pretty much lays this out. But you are correct in assessing this intention has thusfar failed due to Republican intransigence.

              However, of all the political metaphors that would be most damaging for progressives to associate with, The (satirical) Prince is perhaps the most pernicious reinforcer of regressive conservative memes.

              (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

              by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:37:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agree on status, disagree on The Prince. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                highacidity, boofdah

                Totally agree that it is easier to destroy than build.  

                However, disagree about the value of The Prince to our cause.  The Prince has a great deal of descriptive (not normative) power and it should be understood by anyone interested in political change.

                Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

                by maxschell on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:07:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are your objections based on... (0+ / 0-)

                  the Progressive moral frames of purity, integrity etc.?  if so, if I may be impolite for a second. Grow up!  

                  The reality is, the vast majority of people are sheep.  They are incapable of the rigorous intellectual exercises you would have them do to understand the correct course of action.  They are susceptible to fear, and desire to be told what is right.  The Conservatives have understood this for decades and are all too happy to tell them what is "right".

                  Lakoff has empirical evidence of this and how conservative messaging is imprinted on the brains of the masses. You can continue to talk in progressive talk but it will not work. You must begin to communicate effectively and it has little to do with simply stating the truth.  It is how you say and frame concepts. And yes, it is manipulation and boo hoo if it goes against a core principle.  You either understand this or forget about ever having real change in this society.

                  --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

                  by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:50:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The key word there being fail. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chipoliwog, maxschell

              So sad when the potential was there to accomplish what he said he would.
               
              What's the point of being strong when you're a candidate and weak when you take Office?
               All you accomplish is to piss people off.

              "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

              by elwior on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:07:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chipoliwog, elwior

                What's the point of being strong when you're a candidate and weak when you take Office?

                Couldn't agree more.  This kind of weakness is either the result of gross incompetence, or as others have speculated here, a deliberate plan to screw us by playing the role of Alan Colmes as President.

                Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

                by maxschell on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:12:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Profesional Messaging (33+ / 0-)

        George, you're right: the Republicans have political messaging down to an exact life science.

        The conservatives have a superior message machine: Dozens of think tanks with communications facilities, framing experts, training institutes, a national roster of speakers, booking agents to books their speakers in the media and civic groups, and owned medias like Fox News and a great deal of talk radio.

        How about this: The Republican Message Machine has now decided to pack audiences when its icons go on shows like the "Tonight Show" and the "David Letterman Show." If you saw the Tonight Show a few weeks ago, when GW Bush was on, the high-spirited yelling and clapping from the audience, whenever Bush spoke, made it look like the ex-president was our next political savior.

        Then last night, on the David Letterman Show, the loud clapping and cheers from the Republican seeded audience made Bill O'Reilly appear like the only sane adult on the show. Of course, David was not at all happy about that, and he clearly did not expect same.  

        •  You have to sign up (4+ / 0-)

          to be on those shows....

          Is it any wonder that the people who choose to attend a show with O'Reilly or GWB are supporters?

          There are some things that require no CT, just a healthy dose of the politics of personality.  (or perhaps the politics of celebrity)

          Show me the POLICY!

          by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:58:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fabian, this is new stuff... (18+ / 0-)

            Now the neocons are packing studio audiences and it makes for great propaganda fodder to the masses. In the past, Bill O'Reilly was regularly booed for his right-wing opinions on the Letterman Show...but not anymore. Where are our counter-efforts? Will there be any?  

            •  Maybe you can start a e-group (5+ / 0-)

              of lefties who want to go to O'Reilly shows?

              Show me the POLICY!

              by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:20:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

                •  I neither like e-groups (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Major Tom, tobendaro, Oh Mary Oh

                  nor television, so I'm not the person for the job.

                  I notice at least a few people here do both!

                  Show me the POLICY!

                  by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:25:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Your point is important. (16+ / 0-)

                  They are organized and we are not.

                  They are "activated".  They have invested in advancing their agenda and policies.

                  Dean's 50-State Strategy was a great start.  Too bad the Obama crowd basically gutted it.

                  And the reality is that we have a leader of the Democratic Party who really has no particular allegiance to the party.  Obama has demonstrated over and over and over again that he is not a party guy.  The party is and was a vehicle for his assent to power, but nothing more to him than that.  Rallying around him won't advance Democratic values and principles of government.

                  I think that one problem that we face is being realistic about our various and sundry leaders' motivations, aspirations, desires and in assigning them appropriately.  Another is that we have to be clear - as I think I was - that Obama was never going to really be the guiding force of the Democratic Party because he's not a party guy and may not share much in terms of his ideology with the vast majority of Democrats.  That leave it to us to organize and lead on the party front.

                  Personally, with the Citizens United decision, I'm thinking that we need to start our own corporation.

                  •  50 State re-build (18+ / 0-)

                    Apropos Meteor Blades' post Open thread for night owls: City and state governments forge ahead on climate change initiatives we have a number of chances to affect not only the environment, but many other issues as well in 2011.

                    While we should, justifiably, focus a lot of attention on the biggest 2011 elections coming up, we should also give equal attention to the smaller municipal, town and county elections (not to mention the also very important homeowners and condo association elections) that will happen throughout the country this year.

                    Why?  Two reasons:

                    The first, and most obvious one is that cumulative local change equals large national change.  The more elections from condo board to county board that produce actual policies, such as opportunities to recycle, save energy, donate to food banks, et cetera, the more we affect real conditions.  Local policy creates momentum for state and federal policy.

                    Which leads to the next point: those who become civic-minded stay civic minded.  The condo owner who votes for a recycling bin today supports county-wide energy savings tomorrow, votes for green state legislators next week, and supports progressive Congressional candidates down the line.  Maybe the voter becomes a candidate her/himself.

                    Social psychology provides ample proof of this phenomenon. Persuasion psychology pioneer Robert Cialdini conducted a fascinating and much-cited study in which people ramped up their level of commitment  for a cause after taking a small action:

                    This paper describes part of the study (emphasis added by TGW):

                    Consider,  for  example,  the  "drive  carefully"  study. Researchers randomly  assigned  homeowners  in  a  residential  neighborhood  to  either  a control  group  or  an  experimental  group.  A  researcher,  posing  as  a "volunteer,"  asked  the  homeowners  in  both  groups  if they  would  allow  the volunteer  to  post  a  gigantic  "Drive  Carefully"  billboard  in  their  front  yards. Each  homeowner viewed  a photo  of the billboard  demonstrating  it was so large  it  would  almost  completely  obscure  the  view  of  the  house  from  the street.

                    The  only difference  between  the  two  groups  was  that  two  weeks earlier another  "volunteer"  had  asked  the  homeowners  in  the  experimental  group  display a  three  inch  by  three  inch  sign  that  read  "Be  a  Safe  Driver."  The subjects  in  the  experimental  group,  who complied  with  this  seemingly innocuous  request, were much  more  likely  to agree  to  the  gigantic  billboards in  their  front  yards: seventy-six  percent  of those  in  the  experimental  group versus  a  mere  seventeen  percent  in  the  control  group  agreed  to  do  so. "Because  they  had  innocently  complied  with  a  trivial  safe-driving  request  a couple  of weeks  before,  those  homeowners  became  remarkably  willing  to comply with another such  request  that was massive  in  size.

                    This site adds more information about the experiment:

                    Moreover, in a further variant, the residents were first asked to sign a “Keep California Beautiful” petition.  Two weeks later, they are asked about placement of the large billboard, and 50% agreed, even though the first request differed in subject (beauty) and action (signing)!  The researchers theorized that the first action actually changed way the participants viewed themselves, e.g., “public-spirited citizens” in a way that influenced them to act in accordance with that view in the future.

                    Key takeaway: small victories will lead to larger ones, and local elections are not anywhere near as heavy a lift as state or national elections.  

                    These victories can be on any number of issues, both substantive and symbolic (that is, publicity generating).  Policies and attitudes can be changed: town councils can pass resolutions condemning or praising national intitiatives; while these do not have the force of law, they have force in the court of public opinion.  Every reported resolution against war or bigotry lets other know that there are progressive constituencies to tap.

                    You can find local municipal elections by state and county easily enough through Google (I haven't found a comprehensive list yet, sorry.

                    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

                    by TheGrandWazoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:29:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Very good (7+ / 0-)

                      and incidentally proof that the professional pols are all wrong when they repeat the mantra: "yard signs and bumper stickers don't matter."

                      God, I would love to work for an effective organzation with a mission to promote progressive messaging.

                      And so many smart, highly qualified people are out of work now and would probably leap at the opportunity.

                      •  I agree we should all spend a lot more time on (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Fabian, boofdah, shaharazade, linkage, Clio2

                        the local stuff. I should make it a priority to get involved in neighborhood issues myself, although I think my neighbors are already pretty left-leaning...

                        ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                        by bicycle Hussein paladin on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:55:31 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  iiuc, the research addresses the (0+ / 0-)

                        issue of agreement to a small public gesture by a potential displayer of influencing agreement by that displayer to a larger public gesture.

                        This is potentially very significant but does not directly address the issue of the degree to which yard signs and bumper stickers change others' behavior.

                        Perhaps further analysis is warranted to determine how to best target non-progressives by requests for small (possibly obliquely related) requests of public gestures.

                        ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

                        by dorkenergy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:16:14 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  That sounds a lot like (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      highacidity

                      Which leads to the next point: those who become civic-minded stay civic minded.  The condo owner who votes for a recycling bin today supports county-wide energy savings tomorrow, votes for green state legislators next week, and supports progressive Congressional candidates down the line.  Maybe the voter becomes a candidate her/himself.

                      the way Howard Dean himself got started. IIRC, he got involved with a group advocating for a bike path along Lake Champlain, and was then drawn into local politics.

                      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                      by drewfromct on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:41:52 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Organization is a pre-requisite for exploitation. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    drewfromct

                    Think wolf herding sheep so one can be efficiently plucked from the fringe.

                    Organized hunting by predators is a prototype.  What makes humans peculiar is their propensity to prey on their own kind.  Which is why I'm referring to them as the Sons of Cain.

                    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

                    by hannah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:49:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Which is why organized agricultural societies (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Fabian

                      have fared so poorly compared to loosely-organized groups of hunter-gatherers.

                      ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                      by bicycle Hussein paladin on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:54:33 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  wolf herding sheep (0+ / 0-)

                      You have multiple things wrong.

                      Herding is an instinctive behavior practiced BY herding/flocking/schooling animals IN RESPONSE TO predators.

                      Wolves do not herd sheep, sheep herd themselves.  "Insufficient herding instinct" is a fatal trait for prey animals.  

                      Wolves do what is known as "testing" prey animals, advancing and even chasing prey animals to determine the weakest, easiest targets.  Most prey animals have significant defenses against predators: speed, endurance, horns, hooves.  If they didn't have these things, they would go extinct from predation.

                      We've managed to breed many defensive traits out of our domestic livestock, so we have to provide their defenses for them: livestock guardian dogs and fences.

                      Show me the POLICY!

                      by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:24:31 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Vtdblue

                that's a super idea and might be a great way to get the younger set involved, too. We really need to get high schoolers involved as well as college kids. Fun for them, and helpful too.  

            •  Counter-effort tools (15+ / 0-)

              Check out

              Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives, by George Lakoff. See also: Cognitive Policy Wonks and The Progressive Strategy Handbook Project

              The incomparable Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals .  This is a practical guide to how to take power away from those who have it.  The essential premise is that the Have’s advantage is a lot of money; their disadvantage is few people.  The Have=Not’s are in the opposite situations.  So Alinsky provides examples and guides on how to use the advantages of people over money.  Most are easy to do, many absolutely hysterical, and all effective.  See the O’Hare Airport Shit-In.  (yes, you read that right. No spoilers here though, you’ll have to read the book)

              Making the News: A Guide for Activists and Nonprofits, By Jason Salzman

              Crowdsourcing Investigative Journalism

              Global Investigative Journalism Network

              Frank Luntz: everything he’s written.  He's a conservative message master, and you have to know the enemy.    Remember the great scene in Patton, when the victorious general shouted: “Rommel! You magnificent son of a bitch!  I READ YOUR BOOK!”

              Making the News: A Guide for Activists and Nonprofits, By Jason Salzman

              The Campaign Manager: Running and Winning Local Elections, By Catherine Shaw

              How To Win A Local Election,by Lawrence Grey

              The Opposition Research Handbook: Guide to Political Investigations

              Guerrilla Marketing

              Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

              by TheGrandWazoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:24:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  How can they be doing this (0+ / 0-)

              without complicity on the part of the networks that produce the shows? I could be misinformed, but my understanding of how one gets tickets to a taping of one of these shows is that applicants are put on a waiting list and tickets are doled out more or less first-come, first-served, with no regard or relation to whom the guest is on that particular occasion. Has this changed? Are audience members now permitted by show producers to pick and choose which shows they wish to attend?

              The bottom line to remember here is that the corporate media is the Corporate Media. They have the means, motive, and plenty of opportunity to side with their friends and allies, and anyone who is a friend and ally of the corporate class is by definition no Progressive.

              Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

              by drewfromct on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:39:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Strangely, I was there that night (8+ / 0-)

          Completely by accident. I'm friends with the bandleader, and my mother in law was visiting from Canada. So, he got us tickets for that night before any of us even knew that GW was going to be on the show.

          You're right that the audience was pretty supportive of him, clapping loudly, etc. I don't think it was because Republicans purposefully packed the house though. As mentioned, I'm "in the know" as much as anyone, and I didn't know that he would be there. I'm sure the average "tourist from Topeka" who bought their tickets months ago didn't know either.

          I think fundamentally, for that vast majority of people who aren't super-involved in politics, they just respect that he dedicated eight years of his life to a very hard job in service to his country. And, as we all know, whatever his politics, GW has always been "the guy you want to have beer with", and that came across at the studio. He was self-deprecating, jovial, engaging with the audience. If you're not political, he's a hard guy not to "like".

          Another irony was that they did a little bit showing Bush backstage getting the full, TSA style pat down in order to get on the set. Meanwhile my Nigerian-born mother-in-law waltzed in with no ID and without going through any kind of search or metal detector whatsoever. (!!!???)

        •  Most of us believe that a lie is harder to (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Tom, mike101, shaharazade, linkage, Clio2

          hide than the truth because it's difficult to keep one's story straight.  That's actually not supported by fact.  Historically, myths have been maintained and transmitted much more successfully than the truth.
          How this applies to conservative messaging being a success lies in the fact that their message is a passel of lies.  The truth is that conservatives are anti-social antagonistic punitive authoritarians.  Admitting that would not generate many friends.  So, they lie.  And they keep repeating the same lie until all who hear it believe it because they've actually heard themselves say it.  And that's the essence of faith-based government.  People believe they are free when they are actually not and, believing that, they make no effort to revolt.  

          Shall we blame them for it?  How is hope different?  Is it not just a matter of time?  Faith credits the past and hope secures the future.  And charity tells you why it is good you were lied to.  Love is the answer.

          At least the man from Hope came from a real place.

          Selling hope is audacious.  Selling faith is conservative.

          The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

          by hannah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:42:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Old saying: (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, shaharazade, linkage

            "A lie can go three times around the world while the truth is still lacing up its boots."

          •  Pardon double post but (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, drewfromct, HiBob, shaharazade, linkage

            this also relatd to the point that liberals and progressives tend to believe the truth emits a shining light that eventually, most people will be able to distinguish by its special luster.

            After many years in the public infornation field, I can swear it's not so simple.

            It's more of like you need to dress especially nicely for that job interview, even though you really are the most qualified. You need to bring a large number of choice recommendations as well.

            That's the LEGITIMATE role of messaging and public relations, and liberals and progressives would do well to make use of it.

    •  More generally: technocrats suck. (6+ / 0-)

      And one of the reasons this President sucks is he's a technocrat.  I wish it were the only one....

      Tell your Congressperson and Senators: Vote NO on the Obama-McConnell-Boehner Tax Giveaways!

      by GreenSooner on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:13:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not really. (12+ / 0-)

      This is about framing and its importance, regardless of whether we are talking about the President, Democrats in Congress, or the Party as a whole.

      A needed reminder from the master of progressive framing.

      Speaking for myself, may I just say that all of you bomb throwers can go fuck yourselves. -- Bob Johnson, speaking for all of us

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:51:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The part that is missing (9+ / 0-)

        is the organization.

        We need more coordinated efforts; we need an organizational framework that will be robust enough to counter the organization of the right.

        So how can we do that from the grassroots?  We would need a "shop"; a place where we can daily or weekly analyze the framing Republicans are placing on issues. We would need massive numbers of people to respond by calling the talk shows, writing the LTE's etc.  And we need talking heads to be on board, who are prepared to go on TV to counter the language.

        The Democratic Party should be organizing this, but they aren't.  Can we ask the Progressives in the House and Senate to consider this?  Would Mr. Lakoff be willing to help with the analysis on a regular basis?

        Could we have a weekly feature on DKos that points us all in the right direction for the week and a cadre of volunteers who will make the calls, write the LTE's determine the talking heads schedules etc.?  

        Or is that just too much organization for this herd of cats?  

        •  That's the problem (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gustogirl, drewfromct, Vtdblue

          We're stuck with trying to put a complex progressive grassroots movement together without the DNC, without national leadership and funding.  I don't think that's happened by accident, either.  When he took office, Obama was quick to take control of the national party machinery, co-opting it with OFA.  In essence, Obama knew in advance that he wanted to control the national Dem agenda, including messaging.

          The problem with that is his principles are at odds with the rest of the Dem Party.  

          •  That's why Howard Dean was shouldered aside... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chipoliwog, Gustogirl

            Because he would have called them on their shit.  They hates the progressives for their activism and outside-the-Beltway "purity" and frames.  The DNC and this Party are, for the most part, our opponents, despite the existence of a handful (fewer after the last election) of allies within the Party.

            [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

            by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:13:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (4+ / 0-)

          Republicans have been doing this -- right in Grover Norquist's office -- for a decade or more.

          The only possible problem with doing it in the open on DKos is that you let the oppostion right into your strategy sessions. Not only do you lose the element of surprise, but you are vulnerable to moles. Still, this may be the way to go.

          BTW in my opinion, the Democratic Party is -- in addition to having a large number of corporatists in the ranks -- moled up to its kiester and is definitely not the right venue to organize progessive messaging and outreach.

          In addition, there is no way Democrats and like-minded opinion leaders will submit to docilely turn up once a week at a lobbyist's office across the from the Mayflower Hotel (or the like) and download Big Brother's daymessage as the Republicans have done.

          So progressives need a different approach.  

          •  A more complex approach. Because we do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gustogirl

            do nuance.
            More like a messaging job-shop: Opinion leaders tell them what they'd like to talk about and the shop comes up with a real good, progressive way to talk about the topic.

            -- We are just regular people informed on issues

            by mike101 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:11:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, more like 30-40 years, before Reagan (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gustogirl, highacidity

            was elected. That's how the "moral majority" and all the Caribou Barbies and witches eventually got to take over the GOP.  They've been playing the Southern Strategy and its spin-offs for two generations, and they've got one hell of a head start over the un-herded cats of the progressive movement.

            Republicans have been doing this -- right in Grover Norquist's office -- for a decade or more.

            [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

            by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:15:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  A small group of energetic, focused people can (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gustogirl

          do a lot of organizing.

          -- We are just regular people informed on issues

          by mike101 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:05:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)

      Your insubstantial "summation" lacks any resemblance to what Lakoff wrote.

      Not in the Constitution: free markets. In the Constitution: promote the general welfare.

      by psnyder on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:20:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dr. Lakoff is right.....BUT (5+ / 0-)

      The Dems will NEVER learn this.  Don't know why, but I think it's true.  Influence of big money, perhaps?  Wimp factor?  I've given up, sad to say.  Maybe someday we'll just move out of this country because right now, I feel like all is lost.  

      Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

      by lutznancy on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:51:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  8 mins to read and comprehend? (0+ / 0-)

      Nope just a moron trolling..

    •  STOP and (6+ / 0-)

      LISTEN TO LAKOFF..
      You are not even attempting to absorb the information.

      Think a bit.

      This is NOT a smart comment.

    •  Never ceases to amaze me... (8+ / 0-)

      ...how willfully people miss the point.  This diary was all about messaging, meathead.  Not the President.

      Change We Can Believe In.

      by TheOrchid on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:31:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dumb comment, but not even in the top 1000 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      dumb/offensive comments of the day.

      Certainly not HR'able.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:06:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  your message helps republicans. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, boofdah

      which is what the diary was trying to tell you.

      Any war requires forces that use their pen against the enemy, not in foolish tirades against their own leader, abetting the enemy. ~qua

      by mallyroyal on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:48:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not even CLOSE to what the diary was saying. (0+ / 0-)

        See above. Your president is a victim of the same BS frames. He's the one helping Republicans, not those of us pointing that out.

        [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

        by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:19:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  absolutely what the diary was saying (0+ / 0-)

          negative frames turn people off.  like the ones you use all the time.  

          Any war requires forces that use their pen against the enemy, not in foolish tirades against their own leader, abetting the enemy. ~qua

          by mallyroyal on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:54:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow, that's some serious distortion and cherry (0+ / 0-)

            picking. The diary is saying we have to change the framing, and suggesting ways the framing is wrong, and what we need to replace it with.  If by "negative frames" you mean the part about not saying "no" or negating their frames, then that's certainly part of it -- but only a small part.  

            My point is, your president has bought into the Repugs' frames, almost lock, stock, and barrel.

            [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

            by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:08:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Uprated to counter stupid HRs (0+ / 0-)

      [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

      by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:06:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The point is this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipoliwog

      Until we change how we communicate, this is as good a Democrat as you'll see in the White House.

  •  I really wonder whether emapathy would work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, geez53, angry marmot

    We've become a nation of narcissists and I'm beginning to think the only thing that will cure our ills will be the passing of several generations.  

    Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

    by xgy2 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:25:52 AM PST

    •  Republicans are being replaced. (12+ / 0-)

      We cannot wait for this issue to die off because it won't.

      Ignorant savages are having ignorant savages and homeschooling them to be ignorant savages. Ignorant savagery is a big value for republicans and they very effectively pass it on to their spawn.

      We need democratic leadership, competent, and dem leadership needs a tv network.

      Until then...we will limp along at best.

      America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
      Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:32:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "ignorant savages"? n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larry Bailey, k9disc, indres

        Show me the POLICY!

        by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:48:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans...ignorant savages...yes. (6+ / 0-)

          Do I have to write a dissertation?

          America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
          Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

          by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:49:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Historically (4+ / 0-)

            that phrase was used by colonial powers to excuse any number of abuses of power.  It's an ad hom for the sake of ad hom and generates a lot of heat but no light.

            Show me the POLICY!

            by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:52:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And....? (0+ / 0-)

              I assume you have a point.

              America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
              Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

              by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:53:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I thought of many replies (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Radiowalla

                to your comment.

                You apparently want to fight for the sake of fighting.  I don't.

                Adieu.

                Show me the POLICY!

                by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:59:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Adieu? (0+ / 0-)

                  Do you really mean it?

                  America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
                  Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

                  by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:01:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll take up that gauntlet... (5+ / 0-)

                    ...though I mght soon drop it myself. Here goes...

                    Everyone of us has the ability to understand the liberal or conservative mindset even if we don't agree. This means everyone of has a chance to change for the better.

                    But ad hominem attacks, such as you have made, prevent those people who hold a mixture of liberal and conservative political positions from calling themselves progressives because they don't feel welcome, they feel judged, they feel opposed.

                    There is a real opportunity to increase progressive and Democratic share in the marketplace of ideas and thus encourage more people to vote for them.

                    This opportunity can clearly illustrated by the 7.6% overlap of the two parties voters when they were asked to score their liberal-conservative thinking. Those voters are up for grabs, about half of them are on balance slightly conservative people who voted for Obama. That's up to 3.8% of the Republican vote.

                    That graph shows something else too. Almost all the non-voters who participated in that survey see themselves at worst at the same level of conservative thinking as those overlap voters who voted for Obama. More importantly, there is a big preference in non-voters towards liberal thought.

                    I think ad hominem attacks instead of a moral appeal turn off, or at least do not engage, liberal thinking non-voters.

                    I see two very clear, very big opportunities to bring it to the Republicans with a civil moral agenda that can't alienate to prospective "convert".

                    So please try to refrain from counterproductive, and no doubt gratifying, namecalling.

                    (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                    by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:39:02 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes, republicans don't really name call, they (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      drewfromct

                      just co-opt decent words into meaning crappy things.

                      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

                      by mike101 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:18:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Ignorant savages applies to their core, dude (0+ / 0-)

                      Not to "moderates" (many of whom are confused, if you ask me).  But the bottom line is the the core of the contemporary Republican Party is well-deserving of being called savages, and all the "reasonable liberal" rationalizations that we're all the same underneath are not going to change that.  

                      The Republican Party is the party of Barbarians, intent on destroying Western liberal democracy.

                      But other than that, they're "just like me."

                      [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

                      by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:24:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And everyone who might agree with them... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        highacidity

                        ...on any issue. It's uncivil and it turns people off. While agree with you in principle, indulging in such namecalling and baiting has inherent risks.

                        The moderates, centrists, independents, uninformed sometimes agree with them and when they do they may begin to identify with them ever so slightly. So when you insult the regressives you risk insulting the potential adherent which can push them away from you and all your other positions.

                        What is needed is for them to recognize they think like you which means the issue at hand needs to be framed progressively to draw them in.

                        Surely, there are as much as 5% of society that are sociopaths but there are far more biconceptuals than that. Heck, 10% of people are so low information they can't even keep straight who is the liberal and who is conservative or even what that means. Can you tell one from another, just by looking? Do you know who might have just drpped in to see what it was all about? I can't tell the difference bewteen a recalcitrant and someone I can influence, not online, not in everyday life. So it just safer to assume that there is always a chance...just in case.

                        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                        by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:01:25 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  re: "preference" (0+ / 0-)

                      there is a big preference in non-voters towards liberal thought.

                      Do you interpret that preference as more generally indicating a preference for hope, change, freedom (as in liber-al), or ??

                      ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

                      by dorkenergy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 07:52:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I think the point was: (4+ / 0-)

                you surely have a better way to describe other humans, even if you dislike the politics of those humans.

                Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at http://www.equalitymatters.org

                by Larry Bailey on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:01:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, if we weren't talking about the enemy (5+ / 0-)

                  i wouldn't be like this.

                  But we are talking about the biggest threat to us.

                  Republicans are trying to fuck us permanently and a lot of people on the Democratic side seem to be averse to seeing this, or even if they do, they still want to "be empathetic" or "stay principled" even when that means losing time and time again.

                  So yeah - enemy or ignorant savages.

                  People always have the option of just not replying to me, you know.

                  Just ignore me.

                  America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
                  Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

                  by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:08:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The Predator Class (8+ / 0-)

                  Soylent Green (money) is people. This nightmare is brought to us by the predator class. That would include most Republicans and many Democrats.  I have many similar kinds of names for these monsters, the authors of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism.  "Ape" is fairly mellow to me.

                  It's tiring to see the wealthy take credit for all the great innovations out there.

                  by jcrit on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:04:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I appreciate you civility effort, Larry. (0+ / 0-)

                  But apropos of Lakoff's points, if we frame the Republicans as "just like us," or "reasonable people with whom we disagree," we will lose this cultural and political war.

                  They are NOT just like us, especially their base, and the sooner we describe what they are doing in terms like "barbaric," "savage," "selfish" and "cruel," the better. We've let them get away with murder, literally, and you're arguing for being civil in our characterizations?

                  [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

                  by Vtdblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:27:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Would you agree that there is (0+ / 0-)

                    a difference, though, between

                    labeling the person

                    ignorant savages [per xxdr zombiexx]

                    and their behavior

                    in terms like "barbaric," "savage," "selfish" and "cruel"

                    A minor difference, perhaps, in our eyes, but one that might strike the audience more productively.

                    ambiguity is okay--if you know what I mean

                    by dorkenergy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 08:00:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  you read too much into zombie's use of the phrase (6+ / 0-)

              you're right that the phrase has been used a certain way historically but he meant it in a literal way without historical allusion.  you can argue that using that term might create confusion about whether or not he's making the colonial/historical connection but i think it's clear that he's not.  it also creates confusion you insist that his words "must" mean something other than what he intended ...

              ... and you did.

              he's not really making an ad hominem argument -- that would be something like:  "don't listen to Republicans and here's why:  they're ignorant savages."  he's doing something else.  he's saying "this is a problem with how Republicans are creating an insular sub-culture and we need to do something about it."

              now, that idea could be used in an ad hominem argument but it's not one that he's made here.

              adioux adieu hasta luego!

              •  Instead of saying "Republicans" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Radiowalla, indres

                which is a perfectly good word and the definition well understood and accepted, he instead chose "ignorant savages" which has several negative connotations and in addition, was unclear.

                He used a comment to do nothing more than ad hom Republicans...which tells me nothing other than the commenter has a poor opinion of Republicans.  Not much of a revelation.

                Show me the POLICY!

                by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:03:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sometimes is use the term Regressives... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...but personally I think they should stay Republican and Conservative because that's what they call themselves. What needs to be done is that those words need to be filled with negative connotations from a progressive morality.

                  (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                  by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:40:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Regressives (0+ / 0-)

                    is great because it's an apt and accurate description of people who want to take the country backwards in nearly every way. However, I can not disagree strongly enough with this:

                    I think they should stay Republican and Conservative because that's what they call themselves.

                    In case you didn't notice, what they like to call themselves is the "Right". Should we call them that, too? If so, why? What is it that they're "Right" about? Are they "Right" to want to take the country backwards? Of course they aren't. So why on Earth should we call them the "Right" when they are so consistently and demonstrably wrong about everything important?

                    Regressive is what they are, and Regressive the only accurate--without being unduly uncivil--word to use to describe or refer to them.

                    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                    by drewfromct on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:52:50 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Luntzian aikido (5+ / 0-)

            The attack made on your comment is based upon the following principle, in which Republican rhetoreticians have been trained to the point of overlearning:

            Do not engage the substantive point your opponent has made.

            Object to their manner of making the point: style, tone, or use of words.

            Extra credit if you are able to do so in the name of political correctness, thus turning the loberals against themselves. If this golder opportunity fails to present itself, complain of "hate." If all else fails, use "shrill," or "whine."

            DERAIL ACCOMPLISHED

            Fabian's political correctness attack doesn't quite work here, because Republicans are not overwhelmingly people of color, so calling them "ignorant savages" hardly seems racist. Fabian has to fall back on complaining about the mere use of the word being racist, which is dubious, but maybe it makes for an even more effective hijack if a lengthy discussion ensues on this point.

            At the same time, xxdr zombiexx, I must observe that any use of perjorative labels tends to weaken a good substantive statement more than help it. Although I certainly understand the desire to blow off steam and where better than DKos?

            RETURN TO MAIN SUBJECT OF MESSAGING ACCOMPLISHED

            Lakoffian aikido, perhaps?  

            Cheers and best regards to you.

    •  No. Being 'empathetic' with republicans (7+ / 0-)

      will. not. work.

      They have to learn to communicate with humans first.

      The only thing they understand is money, power, and force, and they don't respect force, and the Dems have no money and recurrent cede power to them so the issue is currently intractable.

      America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
      Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:53:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i think you're mis-reading the point. (28+ / 0-)

      lakoff's point about empathy isn't to be more empathetic--it's to activate that value by invoking it during talk about politics and policy.

      there are people who naturally respond to it and invoking it in politics evokes pro-Democratic behavior.  you have to invoke it relentlessly though--kind of like how walking over the same ground creates a trail or a rut that's easier for people to move in and harder to get out away from.

      we want liberal/progressive ruts, not the conservative ruts they've worked for decades to establish and exploit.

      •  Which assumes that the value (4+ / 0-)

        is there to be activated.  It would be an interesting experiment to try that strategy here and see how people respond.  

        Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

        by xgy2 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:32:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

        I am getting frustrated with how many people are not trying to absorb the critical information in this diary before spewing about the state of either party or the nation, or corporate control.

        My question Jeff is that if we can't get folks over here to buy into the need for framing, how can we get the larger Democratic party do to so. Lakoff has a whole institute devoted to this, and still....nobody is doing it.

        I cringed during election season every time I saw a Dem ad that was a mess. The only one around me who framed his message correctly was Andrew Cuomo, and he beat his Tea Party opponent by a landslide.

        •  lakoff alludes to this problem in the diary. (0+ / 0-)

          the philosophical roots of liberalism/socialism have an unrealistic view of human nature, emphasizing abstract notions of rationality over physiologically sound models of how the brain actually processes info.

          that blinds and deafens us to the part of reality that actually accounts for most of politics:  human behavior.

          conservatives have an accidental, built-in advantage in that they're essentially okay with authority, force, and habit -- all of which are inconsistent with liberal ideas about persuasion and choice.

    •  I don't think that empathy works, but I don't (8+ / 0-)

      think that it fails because we are a nation of narcissists.

      I think it fails because it is not active, concrete and it is too ethereal for most people.

      "Caring" is better - not great - but better because it is a more accessible concept.

      And I don't know what the "Common Good" is not on that list.  It is such a great all-arounder covering everything from National Security to Social Security.

      Americans are at a place in history where things are scary for them.  They feel that they need help.  This isn't the 90s when people were doing fine and didn't feel that they needed government or much of anything else.

      Right now they need and right now is the time to step up and talk about how this country these "United" States are united for a reason - we need each other - but more than that each one of us is better off for being in the company of one another - we are stronger together.  Our vehicle for acting as one is the US Government and that can be a really GOOD thing when the resource allocation is managed properly.

      •  We don't know whether or not empathy (2+ / 0-)

        really works because we haven't tried it out consistently.

        I think Obama's campaign, as Lakoff pointed out, used empathy effectively. Later, as President, he and the Dems dropped it, so we really can't say one way or another.

        I do think that Lakoff, as a linguist, is writing based on evidence though. So we just need a cite perhaps.

        •  It is a tactic not a "buzz word" that works. (2+ / 0-)

          Being empathetic is a good thing and Obama really needs to work on that - but saying the word "empathy" isn't catchy and it is a word used more by elites.  It is "high concept".  "Caring" is the same thing, but sounds much more like a down-to-earth vernacular term.  "I care." vs. "I empathize" definitely have a different feel to them.

    •  That's because THEIR message (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drewfromct, LNK, PinHole, linkage, Clio2

      has changed a lot of brains.

      Listen to Lakoff. We have to get off our asses and start reframing the message.

    •  Just needs a major reset of priorities. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drewfromct

      The Great Depression forced empathy by putting a lot of very different people in the same basic servival basket. Focus was shifted away from the superficial material to the real meat and potatoes of ..... meat and potatoes.

  •  A lot of what goes on with my particular (12+ / 0-)

    issue - cannabis law reform - is an untellable truth.

    Americans who have not already figured out which end is up in the propaganda of marijuana prohibition are quite unable to figure it out.

    You cannot explain it to them for their brains are full of false knowledge that they cling to emotionally.

    Much of that propaganda - if not all of it - is about fear. Scaring parents about their children. Trying to make people think if you smoke pot this morning you'll be dead from a heroin overdose by tonight.

    The other part of this issue and one that totally explains to me why Dems are in second place whether they are a numerical majority or not is their vast failure to deal with COMMUNICATING what ideas they do have.

    It's rather amusing at one level: The GOP OWNS the airwaves and can spread their messages with ease - too bad they have nothing but very  very shitty ideas about killing America and stealing its money. They have FOX news which is very very popular, but known to be completely full of shit. But this is America and America believe shit.

    The truth they have a very hard time with.

    Dems DO have ideas but good luck getting the people who need to hear them to hear them.

    Lakoff is right - framing and message are everything, but if you CANNOT broadcast that message effectively, you might as well be a gumball machine.

    America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
    Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:29:41 AM PST

    •  Waayyy, way downthread I posted a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx, geez53

      comment about a piece the GuardianUK site is featuring this morning about how a 2002 coup in Venezuela was attributed to a military-controlled media.

      I recommend the Guardian article -- it's extremely relevant to your comment.  I'd try to post a link to it but I'm a Luddite when it comes to that sort of talent for technology  :)

  •  *Sigh*... (12+ / 0-)

    Dear Doctor George, why on earth do you suppose we need to communicate better to the American people about what we want?  The polls already showed that they were against the tax cuts for the rich (by any other name) before our dear president decided to cave in.  The views of the American public and the framing that formed those views was ultimately irrelevant to the decision.  

    So this diary makes no sense in the present context.

    •  It isn't communication, (13+ / 0-)

      its what he wants.  He's a stealth Republican who thinks poorly of FDR and admires Reagan.  He hates America Democrats.

      OpenLeft

      Obama babbled, Reagan-like at his Dec. 6 press conferece:

      Most Americans, they're just trying to figure out how to go about their lives and how can we make sure that our elected officials are looking out for us. And that means because it's a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done, we're going to compromise. This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans. You did not qualify. And yet now it is something that really helps a lot of people. When Medicare was started, it was a small program. It grew.
      Under the criteria that you just set out, each of those were betrayals of some abstract ideal.

      Fact: (Dan Froomkin):

      The Social Security Act, as first signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, paid retirement benefits to the primary worker -- and not to their widows and orphans.

      1935 SS Act Old Age Provisions here.

      1935 SS Act Death Benefits here.

      "History (Social Security Numbers / Social Security Number Chronology):"

      1936-1937 | Approximately 30 million applications for SSNs were processed between November 1936 and June 30, 1937.

      Geez!  Obama sounds just like Hannity or Beck!  And what about the notion that this was some sort of hard-fought compromise?  Well, of course blacks were almost entirely excluded, due to how racist the country was.  But within those restrictions, the Democrats had a landslide majority, and even the small slice of Republicans in Congress didn't put up much of a fight.

      President Obama Declares His DLC Allegiance: Says "I Am A New Democrat"

      by dkmich on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:50:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are some good points... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, Larry Bailey, k9disc, Niniane

      Including the point that our so-called "leaders" are in truth more "followers" than anything.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:50:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  People like you are giving up the fight... (3+ / 0-)

      ...before you've won.  Hell, you don't even realize you're in a fight.

      Messaging on the Republican side helped get Republicans elected in the first place, capisce?  And the world doesn't begin and end with Obama.  Start to think more broadly.  Lakoff is dead-on with his analysis.

      Change We Can Believe In.

      by TheOrchid on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:35:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your refusal to take this seriously (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101

      is why the Democrats lost in the campaign- ignore framing and marketing to our own peril.

      People will say one thing, and then vote for the person who appeals to their value system, even if that person is a liar.

    •  bingo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uffdalib, Dumbo

      I'd be pleasantly surprised if you get a serious, thoughtful response to the obvious point - Americans support 'Democratic' policies. The problem is getting our leaders to advocate them.

      Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

      by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:59:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  maybe not... (0+ / 0-)

        the polling on issues gets answers to questions that frame the issues in a certain way. You can get different results on an issue with different questions, a commonplace observation about polls. Progressives tend to like and tout the polls that were framed to get support for the progressive issues.

        Problem is, voting is a response to campaigns, media messaging (and discussion with friends and family). If the Republicans out-perform Democrats in those areas when it comes to framing, the votes go their way because the progressive framing of the issues does not stick.

        •  right, why would Democratic-leaning (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo

          citizens bother voting for Democrats when those Democrats won't support the very principles and values which make people lean Democratic in the first place?

          The challenge isn't changing public values. It's changing politician values.

          Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

          by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:04:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree the problem is not public values. (0+ / 0-)

            That's not Lakoff's point either as I read it.

            The problem is that people have different responses to issues depending on how questions are asked, issues are described, or statements are made. For most people "values" are not conscious or consistent or readily applied to public policy issues in isolation. Thoughtful people who focus on policy and politics have well-thought-out systems, but that's not most of the electorate; they're simply too busy day-to-day.

            You are right in that people can feel betrayed by politicians who are not seen as helping when they get in office, but in the campaign itself even that can be overcome in most people (by either side) with excellent messaging.

            So polling results on issues do not track election results when viewed as a referendum on those same issues. If they did, politicians would follow the public lead more, in order to win next time. To make that happen, framing and messaging are key, and the lack of them explains many Democratic defeats.

            •  no argument here on the concept (0+ / 0-)

              I mean, I agree in general. I like Lakoff's approach, in general.

              I'm simply attacking the connection in this particular piece, as you describe:

              So polling results on issues do not track election results when viewed as a referendum on those same issues.

              Recent election results haven't been about issues.

              Lakoff claims policy-focus is in competition with framing. I'm asking for proof of that.

              The problem with our 'messaging' is the underlying product. The problem with financial reform isn't too much wonky blathering. The problem with financial reform is that it didn't reform the system.

              From a business perspective instead of a psych perspective, there's a very good (ie, cliched) framework for understanding this: the 'Four Ps' of marketing - product, price, place, promotion.

              The problem we're confronting is not ineffective promotional activities. The problem we're confronting is bad product. It's not that Americans are sick of hearing about policy-wonk details of taxation. Rather, it's that Americans are sick of rich people not paying their fair share in taxes.

              Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

              by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:39:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Hence, the need for a movement. n/t (0+ / 0-)

            -- We are just regular people informed on issues

            by mike101 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:42:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  What I would like to know is why (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, liberte

      if the polls show the majority of Americans are against retaining the Bush tax rates for the wealthy or favor repealing DADT, the Republicans still feel emboldened to oppose the majority of Americans on these and other issues?  Why aren't Republicans feeling the heat from the American majority?  Is there a firewall present protecting Republicans?  

  •  wow, a spectacularly thought provoking piece. (22+ / 0-)

    I'm going to have to reread it several times.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:49:30 AM PST

  •  "No Tax Cuts for the Rich" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Turn Left

    So, avoiding "tax cuts," and hitting on the theme of responsibility, would "No irresponsible giveaways to the wealthy" be a better way of expressing the theme?

    The "no" at the front is retained, but now it "activates" more progressive frames instead of conservative ones.

    The fact that it's a true and accurate representation of the problem is, of course, a pleasant bonus. :-)


    "I play a street-wise pimp" — Al Gore

    by Ray Radlein on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:51:17 AM PST

  •  George, you're right of course about the need... (29+ / 0-)

    ...for positive framing or language that expresses Progressive ideals in a positive manner. You've worked this area for a long time and certainly recognize the need.

    However, I'm not sure about that one example you focused on: "empathy". Having worked in marketing research for decades and observed how people react to language, I believe "empathy" would work well for a particular target (educated, thoughtful, open-minded people -- i.e., the echo chambers of Progressives), but I do not believe it is a word that one would use to the broader voting population. Why? Beyond our world here, "empathy" is not a word in common usage. The words in common usage among that broader target are based upon a couple of thousand years of religious language: words such as "grace", "charity", "love", "hope", etc.  IMHO, if there is one word that has served Democratic politicians better than all others in recent decades, it would be "hope". Certainly worked for Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

    As to language that would best serve Progressive tax policies, why not go back to that great standard that has served us so well in the past: "fairness" and ideas such as "to whom much is given, more is expected" (or something like that)?

    Regarding President Obama and language: he uses fine, educated language and a professorial tone (except when trying to be ordinary and drifting into language that, to put it bluntly, is a bit too "streety" for some), but he rarely articulates a central idea or vision. He seems to immerse in the mechanics of policy and then comes out talking the details. Remember Bill Clinton, often thought to be the all-time "policy wonk" living in the WH: he immersed himself in the mechanics of policy and then walked away, distilled it all, and began talking plainly about the larger idea -- and I think it is fair to say he was generally understood very quickly by a large mass of voters, or at least enough to get himself two terms.

    Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at http://www.equalitymatters.org

    by Larry Bailey on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:57:36 AM PST

    •  "Empathy" is indeed tricky... (9+ / 0-)

      not only for the reasons you cite, but also due to the absorption by many on the Right of the peculiar morality, the "ethical egoism," of Rand and her Objectivist disciples. Much of this is indirect and opaque to your everyday RWer, who likely haven't read Rand or, if they have, likely didn't evaluate those hateful ideas except as self-reinforcing. Yet they will have heard and read through RW media that empathy and altruism are weaknesses, that sacrifice is immoral, that supposedly rational self-interest and self-satisfaction is the highest moral purpose. Harmful and hateful ideas, and difficult to dislodge...

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:17:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deliving a little more into Lakoff (5+ / 0-)

        If you read "Don't Think of an Elephant" I think you would see that empathy is connected to 2 differing views of the nation as family

        Progressives use a model of the nurturant family, which takes care of its children, and needs responsible parents.

        Conservatives use a strict father model, in which children are to be trusted, and people who are rich got that way because they deserve it. So, if you're not rich, somehow you're not deserving. That's how they morally justify tax cuts for the rich.

        My last diary was about this, if you want to peek at it instead of waiting to get the book (which is really cheap over at half.com)

        •  Thanks for the link to the diary, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princesspat

          the book, I hope, will provide some productive reading for a long trip coming up. Most of what I know of Lakoff's work is second-hand, so your more nuanced presentation of Lakoff's theorization of "empathy" is helpful indeed.

          Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

          by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:01:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment overall & this statement is so true (5+ / 0-)

      He (Obama) seems to immerse in the mechanics of policy and then comes out talking the details.

      I have said on a number of occasions in the past, that President Obama focuses heavily on process.  In my own career working for local government, I noticed that process people tend to use it for cover also.

      The United States is not just losing its capacity to do great things. It's losing its soul.--Bob Herbert

      by gulfgal98 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:03:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The best word in the Obama campaign was "we." (6+ / 0-)

      It implied empathy, solidarity, unity of identity and purpose. "We" was positive and inspirational, immediate and unobtrusive. "Empathy" has not only, like so many other words, been tainted by the sneering sarcasm of conservatives, but it is simply not in the vocabulary of a lot of people. You're right.

      Obama is an intellectual who loves to explore the intricacies and details of ideas without prejudice. He also shows a lot of deference to people who can spin out detailed, cohesive intellectual structures, and he seems to regard the moral ramifications of those structures as secondary. That's how he can come out with lame pronouncements about "savvy businessmen" and the like. This may all be fine for a lover of knowledge, but it's not so good for a leader, especially not in a crucial historical moment like the present. And ironically it is certainly not empathetic.

      Not in the Constitution: free markets. In the Constitution: promote the general welfare.

      by psnyder on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:38:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting analysis (5+ / 0-)

      I wonder if Lakoff is advocating the use of that word specifically, or whether he's just getting us to promote empathy as a moral value. Just a question.

      I think you're totally right about Clinton - remember how masterfully he was at things like "I feel your pain?"

      In NY he went around campaigning for some of the Democratic candidates and I always found myself longing for his voice to be larger because he was usually the only one (aside from Andrew Cuomo, who was a good framer)who even tried to frame issues.

    •  The discussion here w/angry marmot... (4+ / 0-)

      ...betson08, gulfgal98, and psnyder are why I come to read at Daily Kos. Sure the rants are fun and the fights are fabulous, but the rich discussions here are far more satisfying.

      Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at http://www.equalitymatters.org

      by Larry Bailey on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:51:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just like good science writing- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey, princesspat

      he immersed himself in the mechanics of policy and then walked away, distilled it all, and began talking plainly about the larger idea -- and I think it is fair to say he was generally understood very quickly

      That's how to popularize any non-trivial topic.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:52:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Team Obama communicated just fine (15+ / 0-)

    in the run-up to the election, which was - in case anyone has forgotten - such a triumph of marketing that it won an award.

    If Team Obama isn't communicating so well after the election, it's reasonable to assume indifference or perhaps dishonesty.

    The language doesn't reframing.

    The entire organisation of the party, from the president down, does.

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:19:46 AM PST

    •  Or maybe he is responding to the needs of the job (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vicky, leu2500

      Being President Obama is a whole lot different than Candidate Obama, with different responsibilities and "codes" of conduct.

      I think Obama is trying to be President for all of us, not just those who voted for him. Which is admirable.
      Dangerously naive, but admirable.

      "As God is my witness, I thought wingnuts could fly."

      by Niniane on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:47:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think even Obama admitted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Mama

      he was too busy getting things done and forgot about the message, to paraphrase him. He should have farmed out the messaging though, because it has been much to the detriment of the Democratic party not to have one.

      Our local Congressman, Paul Tonko, even raised this point on a local radio program after the election.

      •  I suspect he couldn't farm out the messaging (0+ / 0-)

        because we are so lacking in that department. It takes a lot of vigilance to avoid the right-wing frames, because they are as persistent at this as the Coca-Cola company.

        In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

        by Lefty Mama on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:04:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats & communication (6+ / 0-)

    They will never learn. The Democratic Party has been told about this for years (decades probably).

    Witness how they learn: Public option. Stimulus package.

    ---

    I am often asked, "Is there a slogan I can use tomorrow that will turn things around?"

    I find that hard to believe. At least I don't believe a Democratic politician ever asks.

    The brilliant, liberal voice of Sam Seder is back! Free mp3 play, Free live stream, Free i-Tunes. M-F show. (Free for now.)

    by OLinda on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:36:29 AM PST

  •  how do you explain despite rightwing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    washunate, Betty Pinson

    campaign against the public option, the idea managed to maintain majority support?

  •  Is the weasel word in this big pile of (9+ / 0-)

    steaming bullshit "immediate"?

    He got more immediate money for the poor and middle class than he gave to the rich

    'cuz the super rich get alot immediately - plus (by owning the debt, which they do) - they get interest on it for decades to come if not forever.

    So they win twice - plus I didn't even go into their almost certain glee at taking a big step towards killing SS.  So how this can be in any way spun as a win for the poor and middle class is absolutely mindboggling to.

    So maybe where and improvement in the messaging should begin is "For fuck's sake Mr. President - stop with the blantant lies - I AM NOT *THAT* STUPID!!"

    •  Does anybody think that the country (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Quicksilver2723, Betty Pinson

      could spend a few hundred billion dollars more wisely than transferring it upwards like this?

      Net interest costs paid on the public debt declined from $242 billion in 2008 to $189 billion in 2009 because of lower interest rates.[44] Should these rates return to historical averages, the interest cost would increase dramatically.

      Yup, and it will increase dramatically even if rates stay low because the public debt is increasing so rapidly.

      Can anybody tell me how the poor benefit from a massive transfer of wealth to the rich like this - instead of, let's say spending the $$s on biomedical research??

    •  when he said extending the tax cuts would (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, drewfromct

      "create millions of jobs," I think I threw up a litle in my mouth.  WTF?  How can he say this with a straight face?  

      •  I suppose what he's counting on is that the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Malvern

        "business cycle" concept has not been permantly done away with (remember the Clinton Years when the meme was that there were no more cycles - instead there was just endless prosperity on the horizon?).

        Thus, at some point - due to factors that have nothing to do with these idiotic giveaways to the rich - the economy maybe just maybe *might* start creating millions of jobs.  If Obama gets lucky, that'll be in the next couple of years and he can take credit.

        Of course, the tax cut package makes that scenario just that much less plausible . . . (picture me holding my thumb & forefinger quite far apart).

  •  and yet (5+ / 0-)

    The conservative slogan activates the conservative view of taxes. But the progressive slogan “No tax cuts for millionaires” also activates the conservative view of taxes! The progressives are helping the conservatives.

    the majority are opposed to extending the tax cuts for the wealthy.

    how do you explain that? are you expecting a shift?

  •  Professor Lakoff, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Southside, malharden, Niniane

    Thank you for these thoughts. I fear, however, that your eminently well-reasoned and reasonable assessment--and, perhaps above all, suggestions for action--will not fare well amidst the dominant discursive community that is the post-midterm dKos, in which "reality-based community" is a hollow slogan...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:02:34 AM PST

  •  first, there is an assumption that dems want to (3+ / 0-)

    win the tax debate.

    obama and reid threw in the towel before the bell even rung.

  •  This is excellent. (8+ / 0-)

    This piece should be required reading for all progressives.

    While calling others Nazis, in so many ways, Fox is the Das Strummer of a new Nazi movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Stürmer

    by Forward is D not R on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:19:32 AM PST

  •  From a practical point of view your arguments are (10+ / 0-)

    interesting. My immediate thought is that if this is your specialty I would expect you to be able to "sell" this to the Democrats in charge. For years you keep giving advice which I happen to think is actually very good yet no one that matters seems to be buying. Sorry trying to be candid not disrespectful

  •  I think we already lost the "empathy" battle (7+ / 0-)

    Cons have already successfully cast that concept as unamerican and weak. If they had a victory in the Sotomayor nomination, their destruction of "empathy" as a positive word was it.

    •  "Empathy" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08, mike101

      just has to be dropped as a word. Re-imaging means giving the concept a new name, and showing a positive image of what we call by that name now. Do you have a suggestion how to reframe?

      •  Yes, I agree, we can have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mike101

        empathy as a value, and not use the word directly. We can frame issues using words that imply empathy. I will have to think about it a little more to come up with something.

      •  In a blind taste test... (0+ / 0-)

        people preferred the taste of happytimefunpuppy to empathy by two to one.

        Instead of running from a word why not just turn it around and correct those who would seek to discredit its meaning or buy into the false framing?

        I understand the desire for a clean slate with the language and concepts that have been demonized, but what really looks weak to me is this incessant call to “rebrand” or “reimagine” good language or ideas tarnished by disinformation campaigns. Where does that end? What happens when the next word becomes the target for derision? Empathy is not a brand or commercial product one can merely cast aside or run from because of a recall. It is a moral and intellectual understanding of others. It is also an idea worth standing up for.

        They (the media, conservatives or whatever boogieman you choose) can only rob you of your language if you let them.

      •  Sorry, I'm staying with Empathy ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Liberty of Meat

        In one on one with teabagers it is effective to open up new lines of communication. (Yes, I step outside my comfort zone and talk to them.)

        "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

        by linkage on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:45:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Virtue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liberte

        I really think the concept of one person helping another is a nonstarter as far as this country's culture is concerned, at least to the extent that such help is institutionalized by the state.

        The GOP has successfully won the argument, in the collective American consciousness, that helping anyone should be a matter of individual charity. It's a childish view of altruism, predicated on the idea that what's important is not actually the good of others, but being able to take credit for being charitable.

        Therefore, the frame needs to be one of common purpose, civic virtue, and shared interest. When soldiers have to get over a wall, they don't tell the struggling guy to go fuck himself because he should have worked harder in PT, and they also don't consider it an act of personal charity that they take the time to help that fellow soldier get over the wall. They are engaged in a common mission, and their lives and success depend on each other. They use the language of "brotherhood" and that's fine, but it amounts to making sure that all links in the chain are OK.

        This is the frame and the cultural narrative we need to adopt. Businesses need educated, happy workers. Workers need businesses that allow them to establish and fulfill a purpose. In that framework, helping the middle class is not a handout and helping businesses is not a giveaway - it's just making sure we can all get over the wall.

  •  Obama Does Not Share My Values (13+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry.

    And all the good messaging in the world will not fix that.

    I believe that people need each other and that every person clings to the other -- something called "society."  Life is senseless and incoherent without it.  Societies of people form even in the least hospital places, like prisons.

    Civilization is the act of cultivating a society toward higher ends.

    Government is inherent and inescapable in societies.  We must have a government that is good and strong.  In a Democracy, there is little to fear from a small government, because it is in the hands of the people.

    Government, society and civilization are all interconnected.

    I believe that our government should have access to the funding it needs to fulfill the mandate set out in the constitution, and to carry out the laws created by the people.

    I don't see how better messaging can help the White House.

    Obama says that he wants smaller, more limited government, with lower taxes and less spending.

    I don't care to help him out by suggesting means for better language to use to accomplish his goals.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:36:15 AM PST

    •  And he keeps asking for shared sacrifice (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink, drewfromct, Tam in CA, Joieau

      and yet I see no sacrifice coming from one segment of the population at all. And many statistics show it.

      Listen I'm one of those barely treading water middle class working stiffs that has many things in life I'm grateful for, but even I'm willing to forgo my "Bush era tax cut" so that others in society that are less fortunate and are even worse off than my family, can get assistance.

      Why is it that the segment of the population that this president continues to protect with many policies, and this segment that has made out like bandits for the past decade or even longer, isn't willing to sacrifice? Why is it that this same group still needs estate tax cuts that will benefit them to the tune of billions? Why do they need finanicial incentives to do the right thing (ie hire people or invest in our country)?? When is enough enough.

      And yet this President and our leaders cater to their wailing time and time again

      Where is their sacrifice? Where? Why are they so selfish when they've been fortunate and given so much?

      I mean, even I was willing to share and bail out the bankstahs, but only if there was some accountability and serious strings attached for those who brought them down in the first place...yet none of that happened? No instead they're called savvy and/or hired by our gov't to act as watchdogs of the industry.

      Whatever happened those basic morale tenets such as:

      -To whom much is given much is required.

      -Great gifts, greater responsibilities.

      -For everyone to whom much is given, from him much    will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask more.

      Yet all we get instead, is this type of selfish whiny mentality dictating our public discourse coming mostly from those (the villagers and the wealthy political ruling class).

      -I've got mine eff the rest of you.
      -You're just lazy, a parasite.
      -What's in it for me?
      -Me, Mine, my,...me, me, me $$$$$.
      -I want more. Hey if you're gonna give them something then where's mine?
      -Shared sacrifice is for the little people. Don't you know, I'm savvy and yes I need another tax cut and bonus for socializing my business's losses.

      Why has our party, our Democratic leaders, and our President let that mentality prevail and not use our sense of fairness and responsibility to others with a total lack empathy, go to waste!

      Where is our moral compass?

      It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child

      by emal on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:44:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Government is dangerous (0+ / 0-)

      when it's too big, merely useless when it's too small. There has to be a happy median in there somewhere.

      As for framing the opposition, I personally like the label "Authoritarians." It suggests the kind of small government for themselves with big government for everybody else that we actually have right now. Where the authoritarians get unlimited taxpayer bailouts and no regulation or even prosecution for their blatant crimes against the nation and its people, while the people get wage freezes, union-busting, massive job losses, limited unemployment, they're stealing our SS, and constant Big Brother spying on everything we do or say (under threat of God knows what - rendition, torture, summary assassination, etc.).

      That's not a democracy, nor is it reasonably to be considered a republic. It's a tyrannical dictatorship with revolving dictators. Authoritarians all.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:21:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a Bit of a Paradox Then (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, Malvern, Joieau

        Because as Robert Reich has pointed out, de-industrialization and globalization mean that the government has to take an ever-larger role in society, both in terms of claiming wealth through taxes and distributing it to people through public jobs.

        Do I think that it's a good thing for government to employ everybody?

        No.

        Is there an alternative, if we keep de-industrializing?

        Yes:

        It's called poverty, hunger, civil strife and civil wars.

        Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

        by bink on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:25:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the government went away (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage

          tomorrow, a lot of helpless people would probably roll over and die. But most others would look around for a way to survive, and soon realize that ways to survive exist and are (some of them) already out there. The bottom-up economy of local currencies, the so-called 'underground economy' of one-on-one exchanges and straight barter establish a realistic value system for goods and services. It exists and is growing by leaps and bounds because people with no income (those who have run out of UI and such, and there are millions) won't roll over and die. Those with particular and necessary skills can organize groups to produce necessary goods and provide necessary services. It ain't global and it doesn't make anybody filthy rich, but it can work and quickly grow regionally and across distances, at least until The Authoritarians get around to stealing whatever of value the people have managed to produce for themselves.

          I don't know what America can do now that we've a huge Big Brother government that cares nothing for what the people want or need. It exists solely to transfer wealth to the already wealthy and prevent the people from rebelling. The public overwhelmingly wanted the public option. The public overwhelmingly opposed extending tax cuts to the rich. The Authoritarians don't care. The Democratic party has abandoned its principles and its constituencies, there is only one class in DC, the rest is mere kabuki. Bad drama designed to distract attention with one hand while the other cleans out our pockets. We need to ditch 'em and start over.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:48:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Joieau - Thank you good comments - N/T (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

            by linkage on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:47:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks, linkage. (0+ / 0-)

              I can't seem to grok the kind of liberal/progressive mindset that assumes everybody's helpless and needs a government handout to survive day to day. Even though I'm so liberal/progressive I no doubt qualify as socialist. Government does have a responsibility to keep things going, and in times like this that does mean UI and food stamps and medical care for the indigent and uninsured, etc. Instead, we see government handouts to rich bankers and huge union-busting giga-corps and a "health plan" nobody in their right mind thinks even begins to address what keeps us down below Latvia in all measures of health and longevity.

              We who are decidedly not rich are not nearly so helpless. Why, if we all just stop paying taxes for a year or two The Authoritarians would HAVE to tax the rich! The underground economy is thriving out in the forgotten hinterlands where real people survive regardless of what happens in DC or on Wall Street. They'd love to make helpless infants of the lot of us, but where wealth is less important than quality of life and love there is still the remnant of what once made this a great nation. Fuck 'em. They have no nation without us.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:17:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  But whether or not he shares them (0+ / 0-)

      He's not really articulating ANY message! And then there's a larger issue of the Democratic Party not having a coherent message, which cost them the majority in the House.

      Pathetic lot.

    •  Little to Fear (0+ / 0-)

      I mean, from a big government.

      Government should be the size that is required by the current circumstances.  Right now, we need a lot of government.

      Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

      by bink on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:17:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We will always have some form of government (0+ / 0-)

      When the conservatives/Republicans say they want to shrink government, what they are really saying is that they want to eliminate those policies which stand in the way of their objectives, while strengthening the policies that benefit them.

      E.G.  shrink that part of government that regulates big business.

      Grow government that benefits the MIC, petroleum industries, big Ag, pharma etc.

      And of course, a theocracy (the bigger the better) would be a bonus for some.

  •  All true, of course. (7+ / 0-)

    The conservative message machine has so dominated political discourse that they have changed the meaning of words and made some truths untellable by political leaders in present discourse. It takes a major communication effort to change that.

    In that effort, we shouldn't ignore or underestimate what is accomplished by redundancy.

    In the corporate mass media, it presents a formidable challenge for us.

    •  That's why we need message unity (0+ / 0-)

      to have a fighting chance. If we keep just fighting over how much thing suck we continually give it all over to the Republican message machine.

      I don't know HOW to get Dems to get on board though, if the comments in the beginning of this thread are any indication of what's going on in the party in terms of acceptance of the importance of framing.

  •  Thank you for trying, George. (11+ / 0-)

    I rarely make lengthy comments here anymore because I've grown tired of trying to explain over and over the importance of emotional messaging.

    Progressives are so caught up in being CORRECT, having the perfect policy, and showing others how they have it wrong. This does not endear us to others, people.

    We need to master skills/create resources that make people FEEL good about our ideas. <</p>

    Until we do that, we'll continue to be that pedanticly annoying nerd at the party who nobody wants to hang with.

    Lisa

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:42:37 AM PST

    •  So true (2+ / 0-)

      I feel like a broken record myself. Too many people refuse to see the power of emotion in political behavior and attitudes, and, as Lakoff says, continue to hold tight to Enlightenment rationalism.

      I don't know how low we're going to have to sink before people start to accept this stuff, especially since the Republicans are such experts at framing that we're going to continue to get creamed.

  •  this framing pov has less and less traction w me, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy, boofdah

    and I expect with the people losing their homes, sleeping in their cars, and eating catfood. You can only come up with this rhetorical crapola from the comfort of a warm place.

    Fuck em, it's time to raise hell with the British kids.

    Let's let the pols do the selling out, you and I keep fighting for what's right.

    by Matthew Detroit on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:46:00 AM PST

    •  Time to raise hell with the British kids (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah, loree920

      is its own frame.  And the fact that you have lost so much and so have many other people is emotion and human will that drives political issues.

      The frame was never supposed to be created before the picture no matter what many dailykos personalities try to tell you tht and diary on and on about it until you need a nap.  First you experience your picture and understand what it is saying....then you create the frame that enhances that picture and shows it to the world.

    •  But the reason the policies are so bad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, boofdah, loree920

      is because of Republican expertise in framing the issues in order to get the huge transfers of wealth necessary for people to lose their homes, etc.

      The only way to come out of this is to beat them at their own game, so we can put proper policies into place.

  •  Awesome! Perhaps another untellable truth is (5+ / 0-)

    that Government, not Corporations, is the best shepherd of good economics.

    What does a healthy market need? Competition.

    What does business hate? Competition.

    The more control Corporations have, the more they'll stop out competition and savage our economic system, whose healthy function is required to distribute necessities, goods, and services.

  •  Great job, George. (4+ / 0-)

    I've been spreading your ideas as much as I can and have begun to see some results on a very small scale. I think I have your card still and will give you a call to chat over how we create a plan to make the changes necessary to own the national conversation around societal progress.

    We have access to the knowledge but the means remain elusive. Keep hammering on the need and how to change the conversation as the beginnings of the movement we thought Obama represented.

    Unapologetically pro-citizen. Not anti-corporation just very pro-citizen.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:53:10 AM PST

    •  Can we start a DKosframing group? (2+ / 0-)

      What else can be done on this end? We keep losing elections because of the Democratic Party's refusal to unite around an effectively-framed message, and then repeat it over and over again until we too change people's brain structures.

      It's very frustrating to see Republican expertise in framing allowing them to basically get away with murder while the Democrats just wring their hands at continued defeat.

      •  Start it and they will come. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08

        I've attempted it on my facebook page with limited success. I wanted to go there because of the potential for wider exposure.

        It seems to me that the timing is good for this. More of us recognize the importance.

        I've so involved in local governance as my attempt to influence my area but my heart is still in the national arena. This needs a champion of some stature to get it out of the mud where everyone is just spinning their wheels.

        Unapologetically pro-citizen. Not anti-corporation just very pro-citizen.

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:21:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "abstract political fights" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Tam in CA, Lady Libertine

    Obama loves denouncing "abstract political fights" and those who care about them.

    But as Lakoff suggests, if you don't fight and win these abstract political battles, you lose on the details.

    Tell your Congressperson and Senators: Vote NO on the Obama-McConnell-Boehner Tax Giveaways!

    by GreenSooner on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:55:38 AM PST

  •  Frank Luntz taught the Republican how to (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, betson08, indres, Oh Mary Oh, leftymama

    do this and they learned very well. The target of reframing is not Republicans, it is the American people. If Democrats don't learn how to reframe things, we will never get very much done.

  •  Best Rec List Diary in a long long time (8+ / 0-)

    "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:02:13 AM PST

  •  Death By Intellectual Envy (12+ / 0-)

    I've said it for years but too many on our side seem keen on proving how smart they are rather than convincing anyone that our ideas are right for this country. There is nothing wrong with being smart but if you have to walk around with your degree around your neck and only speak using big words and big concepts, then you have no understanding of politics as it relates to average people. I consider myself educated even though I have no degree -- I have just read a lot over the years and continue to read all the time. But I understand that if I want to appeal to the head, I have to get a foot in the door by appealing to the heart. The best and most influential speakers in history have appealed in an emotional way to get the attention of the listener, then once they have them, they can give them the real information. It seems to me that so many on the liberal side look down their noses at the emotional appeal because they see it as beneath them. For me, this is a road to losing.

    "You have nothing...nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength".

    by The Lone Apple on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:03:48 AM PST

    •  This says more about you (3+ / 0-)

      than it does about the subject at hand.There is enough anti intellectualism from the other side - lets not go down that road.

      Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

      by stevej on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:08:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who Said Anti-Intellectualism? (7+ / 0-)

        I didn't. I said appealing to someone emotionally is the road to the intellect because it gets their attention. The other side understands this better than we do. The fact is that their goal is one that is a disaster for this country but the system of messaging they use works.

        "You have nothing...nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength".

        by The Lone Apple on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:14:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Intellectually Psychologically speaking (4+ / 0-)

          emotion is the energy that we all run on.  Even those who work so hard to not be emotional, they are driven by their need to tamp those emotions down and keep them under wraps and control them.  Some of them think that makes them smarter than everyone else :)

          •  Moderation Is A Virtue (4+ / 0-)

            I'll throw a geeky pop culture reference out there. Vulcans on Star Trek are not presented as an ideal but as intrinsically flawed because they work so hard to tamp down their emotions for fear that they will lead to violence that they lack empathy, seeing everything in terms of pragmatism and logic. Unfettered emotion is no less a vice than the focus on seeing things totally in terms of the logical.

            "You have nothing...nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength".

            by The Lone Apple on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:22:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  No Steve, he's right (0+ / 0-)

        And you can even use anti-intellectualism here. The Republicans are appealing to people's emotions and values, even in an anti-intellectual way. But in order to do that, they had to have an intellectual understanding (or sometimes just an intuitive one) of the framing issue first.

      •  this is unintentional irony (0+ / 0-)

        my using the phrase "unintentional irony" is itself ironic, being an intellectual frame in its own right.

        Intellectual framing works well inside our progressive circle, but there's a lot of emotional invetment that we've built up for ourselves so that we respond to it.

        The right just says we are elitists and it sticks.

        In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

        by Lefty Mama on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:09:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you missed this part: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08, Oh Mary Oh, The Lone Apple

      Reason is physical, it does not fit the world directly but only through the brain and body, it uses frames and conceptual metaphors (which are neural circuits grounded in the body), it requires emotion, it serves empathic connections and moral values as well as self-interest, and language fits frames in the brain not the external world in any direct way.

      "Reason [...] requires emotion."

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:08:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In a nutshell (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, The Lone Apple

      An education is not meant to replace and cannot replace a lack of common sense :)

      •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        There's also no need for me to prove how smart I am the same way that I have no need to prove I met a particular sports star by obtaining his autograph. I don't have to prove to anyone that I met a particular person, I know I met him. The belief of another person is not required.

        I speak and write the way I do because I just do. I appeal to emotion because that's what works when I'm trying to convince a person to listen. You can call it "empathy" or whatever -- I just see it as easier for people to grasp than lofty ideas.

        "You have nothing...nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength".

        by The Lone Apple on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:19:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree with you on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lone Apple

      it's so frustrating to watch the Democrats get creamed over and over again because too many of them reject Lakoff's message, while the Republicans have perfected it.

  •  I disagree on the simplicity of "school failure" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, leu2500

    What is called "school failure" is actually a failure of citizens to pay for and do what is needed for excellent schools...

    The other major component of "school failure" is actually parental failure.  The single largest determinant of a child's success is the role their parents play. There are social and economic forces at work in our society that doom many children to a cycle of poverty that can be broken for only some of them by attending excellent schools.

    This is one of the few politically conservative viewpoints that actually has come validity. BOTH issues need to be addressed.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:05:37 AM PST

    •  What about a family of 2+ full-time workers? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      How much time did the '90s and '00s give a mother and father to attend meetings, visit schools, communicate with teachers, supervise home time? Remember that Leave it to Beaver was modeled on the '50s.

    •  I agree. But how do we convince these parents (0+ / 0-)

      that education is important, it will lead to a better life for their chikldren & grandchildren?  

      The Republican motto: I've got mine. Screw you.

      by leu2500 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:32:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08, boofdah

        My sense is that on this site, the general culture of members leans to the following: Education is important to your success in achieving your goals in life and ensuring your freedom; children are best raised with as much parenting, providing information and guidance ('Look at the cow!' 'how many is that?') and "enriched" environments, with stable, calm support for children (as far as possible). I know that these are my own, so I'm very likely off. but that is what I would argue is good child rearing. The successful school experiments in the communities where children were not staying in school to graduate or they graduated without skills held programs from before children were born, to encourage parents to think they could influence their children to be successful, to provide them with positive models and to provide time and resources to do the job. All those have been under attack in the US, including the elimination of libraries, child care programs and free public education for adults. I would start with support for parents, framed as "You will be a successful parent and your child will be a success. May the community help?" with lots of community input just how to help, and what language to use.

    •  But the parents are the citizens too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      For me, it's a category that encompasses both.

      The book "School Smart and Motherwise" shows that different parent involvement is a class issue that is TAUGHT. Blue collar folks tend to leave all the teaching to the teacher and don't think it's proper to get involved with their students' learning. So, if you want to address this you have to teach the parents that it's proper and appropriate. It's a very lovely little and informative book.

      •  Dunno if I like that book's implied sexism here: (0+ / 0-)

        School Smart and Motherwise

        It is astonishing to me that even the most well-meaning publications follow the advertising/marketing model of the woman being the sole caregiver in raising a child, particularly in a family with a married couple raising the children (e.g. 4 out of 5 MOMS agree! KIX really IS a better breakfast cereal!). Not only is it sexist IMO, it is grossly inaccurate in this day and age. My husband and I share education duties for our kids when it comes to their homework, supplemental learning, etc.

        Like most American parents these days, my husband and I have full-time jobs that leave us both exhausted at the end of the day; it wouldn't be fair to either of us for one to have sole responsibility of nurturing and raising our children while the other sat on the La-Z-Boy watching the sports channel.

        Talk about a Leave It To Beaver model--so long gone in this day and age...the book should realistically be titled:

        School Smart and Parentwise

        Democracy for America, still the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

        by boofdah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:07:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  he did say citizens fail to DO as well as PAY... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      which I presume included what citizens who are also parents need to be doing.

      I think he made your point but in a subtle way.

  •  Nothing really new here (0+ / 0-)

    but a reminder is good.

    Would have been better without this sentence- leave the fake science to the other side.

    They are the crucial segment of the electorate to address. Each moral system is represented by a circuit in their brains. The more one circuit is activated and strengthened the more the other is weakened.

    Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

    by stevej on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:06:04 AM PST

    •  He is making an analogy re: psychology (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      with "circuits", not a neurological statement (I think...)

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:13:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do you see it as "fake" science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipoliwog, mahakali overdrive

      I find that offensive, especially when addressing a noted linguist.

      •  It's actually cognitive science (7+ / 0-)

        Cognitive Linguistics looks at how the brain responds to words, in terms of dendrite growth and so on (a.k.a. neural structures). If there's one thing that is a definite scientific fact, it's that the human mind is a physical composite of various neural structures and circuits, not dissimilar to how the heart is a pumping organ filled with electrical circuits. The brain is very "plastic," meaning that it responds readily to stimulus. More so than many, or any, other part of the human body. This plasticity causes neural growth in response to stimulus, including verbal stimulus, and the associations contained in verbal stimulus. Dr. Lakoff's assertion is not only correct, but is commonly understood as very standard Medical fact.

        "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

        by mahakali overdrive on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:51:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  New? No. Done by Democrats at all? NO! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoExistNow

      Who cares about fake science that are metaphors when NO ONE in the democratic party seems to understand this at all!  And even if they did (to which I see zero evidence), they can't act alone, especially if Obama (who certainly used it well in the campaign) has abandoned it.

      Don't mean to pick on you exactly.  You just typed the words that set me off. We need MORE than a reminder.  We need a movement.  

      ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

      by Back In Blue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:13:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes but Democrats seem programmed to resist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Enterik, RainyDay

        Because to do so seems to violate some moral code they have. It smacks of "manipulation" for which we demonize the Republicans.

        Democrats need to get off their high horse and recognize that effective communications IS manipulation in the raw sense. But we can temper this by having truth as our basis.  And it is not about negating Republican frames but displacing them with more positive frames.  

        An example of a powerful messaging frame that is displacing negative conservative frames.  It is the "It Gets Better" campaign by Dan Savage. The purpose of the campaign was ostensibly to stem the rash of teen suicides particularly by GLBT youth.  The testimonials powerfully get to the heart which is self esteem, perspective, courage, perseverance, and positive role models for them to observe.  This campaign has in addition to the effect it is having on the targeted youth also changed the debate among adults to recognize that GLBT youth exist, are a reality and that they must be care for and encourage to survive and be happy.  This is a huge sea change from just a few years ago and from the conservative frame that says they are defective, evil and must change or go away. (put out of their homes, beaten, tortured, killed).  

        So, with the advent of DKOS4 and the possibility of creating communities, I hope that a community of practice can evolve around message framing and that we start communicating with our politicians to practice this.  

        --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

        by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:58:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's stop talking about global warming (4+ / 0-)

    and instead start equating oil consumption with funding terrorists. Just an example of how to change the dynamic of an argument in your favor, and put the burden of justification on your opponent...

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:10:42 AM PST

  •  Conservatives have NO moral sense. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, CoExistNow

    Conservatives are basically anti-social, the Sons of Cain.  As such, they are extractors, extorters, exploiters, exploders and excuse makers.  There is no compromising with such people. They are the modern day vandals and need to be stopped.  Banksters in pin-stripes are no less ruthless than gangsters.  The only innovation is that much of the pillaging is being carried out under cover of law.  Legal crime.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:15:19 AM PST

    •  Conservatives are not amoral... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, uffdalib, CoExistNow

      but their morality founded in "ethical egoism" is certainly antithetical to empathy.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:26:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Conservatism IS amoral, at best (0+ / 0-)

      Immoral in many instances.

      Which is why conservatives cling so tightly to the outward appearance of morality, ie, they wear religion like a bulletptoof vest and wield the bible like a weapon.  They do it to fool themselves.

      AND...the only ones they are fooling are themselves.

      Thank you, Keith Olbermann

      by LivesInAShoe on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:33:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, just immoral in your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angry marmot

        moral system. That theirs conflicts with yours in fundamental ways does not mean they have none, or that they go against their own moral system. Lakoff wrote about this  in Moral Politics a much larger but far more complete exposition of the ideas summarized in Don't Think of an Elephant!

    •  That is simply untrue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal

      It's gross stereotyping to say that conservatives have no morals. I've never lived in any community in which loving, caring conservatives, liberals, progressives, etc. did not cooperate on behalf of the welfare of the community.

      "Statistics are people with the tears washed away." Sociologist Ruth Sidel

      by Vicky on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:04:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Psych: how to split opposition/recruit allies (7+ / 0-)

    Splitting the Opposition:

    Remember: never attack a movement's members, always attack its leaders.

    Why?

    Cognitive dissonance (the academic theory, not the common usage) suggests that attacking the supporters may actually increase their level of commitment.

    It works like this: Say someone has two contradictory  ideas: "I smoke" and "Smoking is bad for me".  This causes discomfort, which must be resolved.  Unfortunately, it is usually resolved in an ego- protecting way, so you wind up with something like: "Smoking isn't bad for me" instead of "I'm stupid to be smoking and should quit".

    If we make fun of a Tea Party  supporters, they hold the following ideas": I like my candidate's ideas" and "All these people say the ideas are crazy".  Well, no matter what the evidence for the lunacy, that's likely to resolve into "the ideas are right" instead of "I made a mistake".  This is particularly true if they see criticisms as hostile.

    On the other hand, if a supporter holds the following ideas "I like this candidate" and "this candidate just said that s/he is going to screw me personally ", the supporter is more likely to look question the candidate.

    For a great exploration of cognitive dissonance, see Tavris and Aronson's Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

    Recruiting Allies:

    Start small: those who become civic-minded stay civic minded. The condo owner who votes for a recycling bin today supports county-wide energy savings tomorrow, votes for green state legislators next week, and supports progressive Congressional candidates down the line. Maybe the voter becomes a candidate her/himself.

    Social psychology provides ample proof of this phenomenon. Persuasion psychology pioneer Robert Cialdini conducted a fascinating and much-cited study in which people ramped up their level of commitment for a cause after taking a small action:

    This paperdescribes part of the study (emphasis added by TGW):

    Consider, for example, the "drive carefully" study. Researchers randomly assigned homeowners in a residential neighborhood to either a control group or an experimental group. A researcher, posing as a "volunteer," asked the homeowners in both groups if they would allow the volunteer to post a gigantic "Drive Carefully" billboard in their front yards. Each homeowner viewed a photo of the billboard demonstrating it was so large it would almost completely obscure the view of the house from the street.

    The only difference between the two groups was that two weeks earlier another "volunteer" had asked the homeowners in the experimental group display a three inch by three inch sign that read "Be a Safe Driver." The subjects in the experimental group, who complied with this seemingly innocuous request, were much more likely to agree to the gigantic billboards in their front yards: seventy-six percent of those in the experimental group versus a mere seventeen percent in the control group agreed to do so."Because they had innocently complied with a trivial safe-driving request a couple of weeks before, those homeowners became remarkably willing to comply with another such request that was massive in size.

    This site adds more information about the experiment:

    Moreover, in a further variant, the residents were first asked to sign a "Keep California Beautiful" petition. Two weeks later, they are asked about placement of the large billboard, and 50% agreed, even though the first request differed in subject (beauty) and action (signing)! The researchers theorized that the first action actually changed way the participants viewed themselves, e.g., "public-spirited citizens" in a way that influenced them to act in accordance with that view in the future .

    Key takeaway: small victories will lead to larger ones, and local elections are not anywhere near as heavy a lift as state or national elections.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:16:38 AM PST

  •  I hope liberals listen to you (3+ / 0-)

    the republics have taken over the public discourse, aided by faux news. They really know how to frame speach.  They have an evil genius who tells them daily what to say... and they do it!

    •  we are so diverse and dispersed (0+ / 0-)

      it takes even more effort for us, because we must all individually learn how to frame our own thoughts, no matter what our race, income level, orientation, or educational level. If we could do this, then yes, we would decisively win elections. But it's hard enough for just a few people to understand.

      The right wingers were able to do it more easily because they have less variety within their party, and they tend to repeat things they've heard without "adding their own 2 cents".

      In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

      by Lefty Mama on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:18:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful piece! Thank you! I suppose that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Oh Mary Oh

    while I agree with most all the basics as you describe them, I do feel that there are a few very frightening aspects of the human experience that are so scary as to make it uncomfortable for people to think about them. The most important one I can think of has to do with the nature of population growth. It seems there is an inherent bias in favor of general and ongoing population increase. And I tend to believe that many people carry an innate sense that there is a carrying capacity for any environment, and also have a sense of danger whenever that natural limit on the land to support more people is approached.

    Another difficult idea for most people may have to do with the idea that what may happen to us in the afterlife is something we should try to have an effect over by things we do while we are actually alive. People don't like to think too much about death, which I happen to think is one powerful reason for why religion is so attractive to so many.

    I hope, though, to try hard to do as you suggest, that is to continue working on developing a method of communicating with mixed-up people, most of whom I do believe would prefer to be better citizens, but simply do not see easy ways of becoming such.

    Good day, and thank you again for this excellent work.

    "I got news for you, pal... They're gonna nail us no matter what we do, so we might as well have a good time." -Otter

    by The House on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:22:46 AM PST

  •  Excellent, exceptional diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, leftymama

    There's an article on the GuardianUK site this morning, about why wars aren't reported truthfully -- it's fascinating stuff and has to do with the introduction of propaganda into the media mix as far back as WWI.

    The diarist mentioned the role Pox Newz plays in RW successes and the Guardian piece references the 2002 overthrow of the democratic government in Venezuela by the military.  The generals who effected the coup acknowledged their secret weapon was control of the media.

    We have a similar coincidence occurring in the US with the Murdoch empire, imo.  Is it supposed to be a secret?

  •  An excellent diary,... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, DawnN

    In which you make a great many good points (unsurprisingly, very effectively!)

    Still, there remains the issue of how to put these good ideas into practice - how to make it happen rather than know that it should. On that, I'm not so sure of an answer.

    Whilst not being based in the States or for that matter being American at all, I'd be inclined to throw some frames out there though perhaps these would fall into some other framing trap that I'm not aware of. For example, what about a concerted effort to replace "government spending" on "services" or the like to something based on "providing X", not to mention, in some cases, stronger variants such as "fulfilling our responsibility to Y"/"not failing Y" or depending on the context, "caring for Z"/"looking after Z", along with descriptors of why we should do so or the idea of preventing the consequences of not doing so?

    However, even if they were good ideas, getting them put into practice beyond a few individuals or perhaps even a few dozen, hundred or even thousand individuals sporadically pushing them is... challenging, even in the long-term. How we go about getting a longer-term effort going to put structures in place to develop, push and then build on effective frames, I'm not sure, but it seems like something we should certainly be discussing.

  •  Education for the masses is the key. Education, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    without it bamboozlement occurs.  We are all in a court of law.  May the best lawyer's story win.  Get out of the courtroom and do some of your own thinking people.  Stop being led.

    God is good. If it isn't good. It isn't God.

    by publicv on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:37:50 AM PST

    •  yes, but Conservatives call it indoctrination (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      publicv

      into socialism.  

      When Glenn Beck says to the effect that any church that promotes charity is evil. You've got a problem.  

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:00:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Barbara Jordan circa 1992 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, pat bunny, zerelda

    1992 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

    I miss her.

    the American dream is not dead. It is not dead! It is gasping for breath, but it is not dead. We can applaud that statement and know that there is no time to waste because the American Dream is slipping away from too many people. It is slipping away from too many black and brown mothers and their children. The American Dream is slipping away from the homeless -- of every color of every sex. It's slipping away from those immigrants living in communities without water and sewage systems. The American Dream is slipping away from those persons who have jobs, job which no longer will pay the benefits which will enable them to live and thrive because America seems to be better at building war equipment to sit in warehouses and rot than in building decent housing. It's slipping away. It's slipping away.

    The American Dream is slipping away from those workers who are on indefinite layoffs while their chief executive officers are taking home bonuses which equal more than the worker will ever make in 10 or 20 or 30 years.

    Four out five sock puppets agree

    by se portland on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:39:00 AM PST

    •  me, too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec

      i miss fierce words. clarity. progress.
      but i see energized words. action.
      the balance scale, the good/bad list: i use them.
      what's bad will always be bad.
      what's good will always be good.
      there are many on both sides.
      and somehow, children always take the first hits.

      the image from the murrah building of a rescuer holding a child is how i see the american dream.

      The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

      by greenbird on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:59:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "empathy" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, geez53

    The word "empathy" doesn't appear to have as much currency in a competitive social model as it does in a cooperative model.

    I also think we should be identifying the bullies in our society posing as astute businessmen/women.  

    That pretty logo on the stock portfolio might be hiding a world of sinful behavior by companies generating profits at the expense of human beings.

    Oh, wait, Wall Street's icon is a bull.

    Nevermind.  

  •  To say one has empathy is one thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal

    But if one's actions and policies aren't empathetic, it is just more empty words.

    I wouldn't believe Obama now if he started talking about how empathetic he is--his actions and policies belie such a claim.

  •  Another Conservative Entrained Lie (9+ / 0-)

    Here's another lie that conservatives have been able to have many in this country take as gospel:

    The private sector can do anything better and cheaper than government can.

    They have entrained this into the brains of many Americans with little evidence to support their theory.  They float out some examples of poor government programs or in many cases make up examples (they lie) as proof of their theory, while making no mention of the vast array of government programs that have helped millions.

    The result of this private is better than public theme can be seen in a number of areas, including education and health insurance.  In education, it has resulted in the up spring of private charter schools and private school vouchers.  In health insurance, it is the reason for the defeat of the public option even in the face of one of the best run and most liked government health insurance programs, medicare.  Instead of Democrats debunking this obviously flawed theory of private is better and cheaper than public, they have succumb to it, as evidence by the above examples.

    We need to do a little "Mythbusting" and debunk this myth that the private sector can do it better and cheaper than government, through logic and repetition.

    Myth #1: The private sector does it better.  Whether its private or the government delivering the service, both are delivered by people.  Does a person working a private company do a better job than a person working for the government?  If a person is doing a great job working for a private company, does that mean he/she will automatically do a poor job when they go and work for the government (or vise versa)?  Pretty silly, when you break it down.  The reality is that there is no logical reason why the private sector does it better.  Myth #1 BUSTED!

    Myth #2: The private sector does it cheaper.
    This one is easy.  Both the private sector and the government have the same level of expenses involved in providing services, but the private sector demands a profit, so there is no way they can be cheaper and provide the same quality of service.  Myth #2 BUSTED!

         

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:52:51 AM PST

    •  Private is better and cheaper (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor Who, ybruti, mike101

      is the place to start. It is at the heart of the differences between conservatives and progressives(another term much better than liberal these days).

      I think HCR was a good place to point out Medicare Advantage  (private medicare) was taking more dollars to provide the same services.

      Same with private contractors in Iraq.

      Blackwater and Halliburton should be hung out to dry, on that message. Instead, they keep getting new contacts.

      I don't think alot of people have any idea how much money is going into private jails, tollways, medicare, and armies, with alot less oversight than if they were true govt employees.

      That meme needs to continue to be driven home in juxtapose to the meme that all govt programs are bad or inefficient.

      But when corporations are running things there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for pointing out their failures. ie. wall street fraud - which becomes another nail in the coffin of govt can't do anything-It's the SEC"S fault, DOJ doesn't go after wrongdoers.

      Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

      by Sherri in TX on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:37:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Private does it better for SOME. (0+ / 0-)

      That's the key.

      By making it private, I can get in on the exclusive deal or special offer.

      Membership has its privileges.  And who doesn't want to be privileged?

      Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

      by Benintn on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:07:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, "free market" ranks right up there... (0+ / 0-)

      their free market is Halliburton, Blackwater, subsidized health insurance companies, big ag, and so forth.

      Free market and private sector... both euphemisms and distortions.

  •  we can't frame an outhouse until we fix the radio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CoExistNow

    they'll frame over everything the left frames. if anything works the think tanks will see it and send out a new campaign to limbaugh and crew, to fix it.

    thanks again george. i think your framing is what we need but until the left pulls their fingers out of their ears when it comes to the radio they willl have the big advantage and we won't be able to frame an outhouse.

    job number one should be to discredit limbaugh so thoroughly and regularly, by pointing out his weekly lies in a national ad campaign, that some of that established framing is undone

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:59:07 AM PST

  •  Even here (0+ / 0-)

    where probably the best discussion among the more aware people is taking place, the general problem that our great public marketplace of ideas is horribly distorted.  

    I have come to believe that we aren't going to get anywhere until and unless we take on responsibility, as Lakoff has, for really creating the intellectual discipline to drill into the depths of all this and uncover the truth that is so hidden.

    Republicans are comfortable with whatever lies might work to manipulate the public through corporate PR tactics.  Truth is relative in that scheme.

    For progressives, the problem is actually telling the truth, since history can be so complex and take such a long time to fully understand.  The media is not telling the meta stories, and no one is going to sit us down and spell it all out for us.  

    The reason for doing this is that the truth is actually persuasive, but not unless it really is the actual, fully realized truth.  Half baked assumptions that sound like armchair speculation aren't persuasive.  It has to be based in real experience that other people can relate to.  Academic language won't work, because it tends to be too abstract.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:08:06 AM PST

  •  This is a great diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, DawnN

    I enjoy discussion around language and how to use it effectively.

    We see and hear examples of poor use of language every day coming out of DC.

    Early this am, I watched a replay of The Ed Show. Ed had on Representative Elijah Cummings. Hes a great guy and has been at the center of the civil rights discussion in this country for decades.

    When Rep. Cummings was given the opportunity to share his position on the current tax deal, Cummings did a very poor job of stating exactly what was wrong with the gop position. He failed to effectively describe his own position. Now, I like Rep Cummings. I use him as an example. Hundreds of other Dem Reps could be scrutinized similarly and fail by the same standards.

  •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, RenaRF, Driver 8
    In my opinion, Democrats need to be saying:

    "middle class tax relief"

    "return to the traditional tax structure of the 1950s and 1960s"

    "The wealthy, whose success this great nation has made possible, have a responsibility to give back." [and use the endorsements from wealthy individuals who agree]

  •  How would 'public looting' (0+ / 0-)

    work as a frame for corporate privatizing and contracting of government necessities?

  •  Excellent and provocative thoughts. This will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, RadioGirl

    be my piece for the day. So just to start my own thought processes working my immediate reaction is to think that there are two elements at play here. The first is expectations and the second communication all passing through the prism of interpretation.

    It depends very much on one's personal template. As a dual British/American citizen I am frequently torn between two shores. The American shore is enticing and has the built in entitlement of 'the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness' an expectation that is doomed from the start as one man's happiness is another mans tragedy. The British on the other hand is 'life's a bitch and then you die' mindset, so whatever you get is more than you either expect or deserve.d

    The third is the character, heritage and nature of the President. Just because he is black and American that does not make him an African American.  he is in fact an extremely interesting   combination of from this white motther's side, obviously a woman who welcomed challenge and willingness to change herself to achieve it, and from his African tribal father and Indonesian businessman step-fate hr his influences were collective decision making and compromise, plus being brought up in Hawaii is NOT like being brought up in Kansas.  Asians in general are expected to follow the rules for the good of the whole rather than the individuals.

    So factor all those realities into your own interpretative of what kind of person Obama is and whether he has any right to expect understanding from the diverse American people.

    Fascinating. It is Venus and Mars all over again, except this time it is not gender based.

    The same phenomena exists in the blogs where the compint is often if you had just said whatever it is you said in a way I could agree with you all would be well.

  •  You know... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RenaRF, Back In Blue, angry marmot

    ...all of this is great, and it's great that this is on the rec list.  But two days from now, everyone on this site will fall back into the same bad habits.  No one will start to create the kind of messaging machine that will start to generate progressive/Democratic frames for mass consumption.  No one will organize around these principles.  And we'll still ned up failing.

    What I'm taking away from the last year or two is that most Democrats and progressives who visit this site would rather sit at their computers and vainly bang out their frustrations on their keyboards than do any actual work.  Look at the Recent list - most diaries that include action items or suggest things we can do get few visits, fewer recs, and slide silently into oblivion after a half hour or so.

    Moreover, there seems to be a real resistance on this site to concisely articulating our ideas into something that's marketable - that is, selling ideas.  They rely on logic instead, and refuse to believe that few people rely on logic to make decisions.  As a result, they make logical arguments (that are right) which fall on deaf ears.  Logical thinking is a demon that Democrats and progressives must slay if they are to convince majorities of Americans to follow them.  Do you want to be logical?  Or do you want to win?

    Change We Can Believe In.

    by TheOrchid on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:28:42 AM PST

    •  Rec'ed for the first two paragraphs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal, TheOrchid, RadioGirl

      and the first sentence of the third... Not sure I agree that logic thinking is the "demon" we must slay. A concisely constructed logical argument need not be devoid of salesmanship; isn't that after all what rhetoric--and I use this in a non-pejorative sense--can accomplish?

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:50:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nexus of logic and messaging (0+ / 0-)

      I think that's what has to be the goal.  Logic is subjective.  It's logical to a homeless person who is starving to steal some food if the opportunity presents itself.  Not true for the employed person with disposable income to buy food.  It's logical for him or her to pay for what they want.

      By ensuring that

      a) you own the language in a way that activates the most people;
      b) you use that language to cast specificinitiatives in a broader, simpler context that is most likely to appeal to virtually anyone's logic; and
      c) you have effectively communicated those broader, simpler themes;

      you are more likely to gain support of more people and thereby achieve your own goals.

      •  Subjective or contextual? n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RenaRF
        •  Kind of has to be both. (0+ / 0-)

          Hate to say it - but the messaging, then, needs to contain a logical "dumbing down".  Think about the simple Republican tenet of "We're for freedom".  SO much springs from that - freedom to have countless handguns of countless destructiveness, freedom to keep money (i.e., avoid taxation), etc.  It's difficult to find even the broadest logical (subjective or contextual) argument against freedom.  I guess that's what I meant - though I'll admit - I've had a busy day!  :)

    •  Emotions are running high and have taken over. (0+ / 0-)

      Most of what is posted here is purely emotion so it's not surprising that the emotional response diaries get a lot of traffic.

      I remember back in '04 feeling like I really had to make sure that even my comments were up to snuff and not just emotional responses.  There used to be a lot of community blowback for non-substantive or opinion-only diaries.  Not anymore.

      What we have is unfocused emotion.  What we need is focused emotion. Directed emotion with a strategy.  Just like Lentz gave to FOX to use when discussing the public option recommending instead to use Government Option.  

      Where is our Lentz?

      ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

      by Back In Blue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:30:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama validating Republican principles (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uffdalib, ybruti, Back In Blue, washunate

    The problem is having the President (nominally a democrat) validate the core premise of the republican party: the highest objective of politics is to negotiate the best package of tax breaks for your supporters.

    If we accept that its all about every group jockeying to not pay for government, then you cannot win any substantive policy debate.

    By making it about "Look at the great tax breaks I got'cha!" Obama is positioning the democratic party to lose every future debate about the value of investing in something (green energy, social security, etc.).

    Far, far better to take the pain of letting it all expire and start with a fresh sheet of paper next year. Let republicans vote against everything. If we can't beat them after they do that, then we don't deserve to govern.

    "Its hard to play chicken when your leaders ARE chicken" - Aravir

    by Kcox on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:33:28 AM PST

  •  Why Conserv. message machine is superior... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CoExistNow

    IMHO, there's a basic underlying reason that the conservative message machine has drowned out the progressive messengers--a reason aside from the fact that the conservatives own the majority of media outlets where they can distribute their message.

    That basic reason is:  The conservatives don't have any scruples as far as ensuring that their message contains a modicum of truth.  If they want to distribute a completely false message, they can and will use the best resources of Wall St. PR ad agencies to do so--and far too often it is a very successful strategy.  OTOH--progressives are constrained to make sure that their messages convey truthful statements.  Unfortunately, the truth usually can't be told well in 30 second soundbites, it requires a bit of explanation. However, longer messages often fail for a couple of reasons:  Ad time is costly, and longer messages cost more.  Secondly, longer, more complicated messages quickly lose their audience, which--an audience that has been conditioned to quit listening after a short time.

    •  conservatives own Disney, GE... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipoliwog, kurious

      Viacom, Time Warner? We need to stop blaming the refs, in this case the refs are the media, and start playing the game right. We lose because we are not manipulative enough. We want to rely on truth and the truth setting us free and that is not the case and never will be the case. We need to hire media experts who produce campaigns that manipulate the masses into believing our way is the right way and we need to write policy and have it had delivered to congress by our paid lobbyists the same way the corporate folks do. We can accomplish this by pooling our resources.

      Hey, Rich People: They aren't taxes. They're Freedom Payments.

      by jbou on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:54:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most important diary of the week (7+ / 0-)

    Demand Filibuster Reform call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 -AND KEEP CALLING

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:47:52 AM PST

  •  Great diary. Book to add to reading list (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, betson08

    "PR! A Social History of Spin"

    Google search terms: "friendly giants" "silver chains" will get you to Google Books, "PR!: A Social History of Spin" By Stuart Ewen

    Book Review: Stuart Ewen's PR! A Social History of Spin:
    http://www.prwatch.org/...

    Stuart Ewen. PR! A Social History of Spin:
    http://home.bway.net/...

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:50:05 AM PST

  •  More about Framing. . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, betson08, fhcec

    Even before doing the framing, the first 'Frame' is how to 'Frame' the 'Framer'!

    Note how Republicans have refined the art of having the right spokesperson, as if from Central Casting.

    Serious-looking businessmen in suits.
    Joe the Plumber.
    Experts in White Coats.
    Nascar Dads.
    Soccer Moms.

    Framing isn't just an intellectual exercise with words--it's the whole package.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:53:27 AM PST

  •  What do we stand for? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, RainyDay, spacejam

    It's about time we decided.  And, it's about time we started messaging.  This diary is fantastic!  Bravo, Mr. Lakoff!

  •  do you have any data on that? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    Democrats of all stripes have been so focused on details of policy that they have surrendered public political discourse to conservatives, and with it the key to the nation’s future.

    I generally like your perspective, but I have no clue what you're arguing here. Core Democratic principles, from social insurance to civil liberties to investment in the public commons to environmental protection to worker rights to opposition to media consolidation are broadly popular. For goodness sakes, even on taxes, most Americans think the rich don't pay enough!

    The issue isn't public opinion, generally speaking. It's getting our leaders to respect public opinion over the wishes of more minority constituents.

    Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

    by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:55:37 AM PST

    •  Then how do you explain (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uffdalib, RenaRF, mike101, DB55

      the disparity between the polls and who people voted for in the last election?

      It was the framing. The Republicans engaged people's emotions and values and were able to pass off a crock of shit and a pile of shit heads got elected to Congress as a result.

      And we keep thinking if we just explain our policies well enough people will just vote for us. This is what Lakoff is saying, and I have observed this too.

      •  Here's the part I found really telling: (3+ / 0-)

        When democratic political leaders go to college they tend to study things like political science, economics, law, and public policy. These fields tend to use a scientifically false theory of human reason — Enlightenment reason. It posits that reason is conscious, that it can fit the world directly, that it is logical (in the sense of mathematical logic), that emotion gets in the way of reason, that reason is there to serve self-interest, and that language is neutral and applies directly to the world.

        The brain and cognitive sciences have shown that every part of this is false. Reason is physical, it does not fit the world directly but only through the brain and body, it uses frames and conceptual metaphors (which are neural circuits grounded in the body), it requires emotion, it serves empathic connections and moral values as well as self-interest, and language fits frames in the brain not the external world in any direct way.

        Conservatives who are savvy about marketing their ideas are closer to the way people really think than Democrats are, because people who teach marketing tend to be up on how the brain and language work. And over the past three decades they have not just built an effective message machine, but they repeated messages that have changed the brains of a great many Americans.

        My emphasis added.  What I really read in that was a pretty clear description of what I think most of us generally know - that the broader voting American public is not all that logical and that they tend to be low-information types who vote based on how they feel during a discrete period of time running up to any given election.  We shouldn't assume that simply because what we're saying makes sense or has - you know - facts and stuff to back it up, that it will be successfully embraced by a majority sufficient to turn ideal into policy.

      •  I want data about Lakoff's claim (0+ / 0-)

        the disparity between the polls and who people voted for in the last election?

        That's a separate topic. The majority of Americans did not vote for Republicans last month. I wholeheartedly agree with Lakoff that when it comes to campaigning, Democrats would be better served by engaging

        people's emotions and values

        My interest is the claim that we've 'surrendered' the public discourse, and that that surrender is the 'key to the nation's future'.

        I argue the main obstacle we face is getting our leaders to do what's popular, not in convincing our fellow Americans to take our viewpoint. We've won essentially all the major battles in public discourse.

        The issue is what happens inside the Beltway.

        Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

        by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:52:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  but if the votes were there, the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CoExistNow

          leaders would lead that direction. The votes aren't there because people aren't voting "issues" in the voting booth, they are voting what they learned during campaigns and from the media... where Republicans successfully frame issues to activate conservative frames and help their candidates get votes. Issue polls with different framing will get different results from the election itself. What we see all the time.

          •  that's a fair point, but it's more formulaic (0+ / 0-)

            than I would observe.

            You make it sound like our party leaders are simply automatons that mindlessly calculate where the votes are and then go there.

            In practice, on many issues, the reverse is happening. Leaders have an active agenda that is contrary to what majority opinion wants. You can see this quite clearly in all the obfuscation and secrecy and lack of accountability.

            Are you honestly asking me to believe that on taxes, for example, President Obama went from Bush tax cuts are bad to Bush tax cuts are an acceptable compromise due to pressure from the electorate? Are you claiming that millions of people who voted for Democrats in 2006 voted for Republicans in 2010?

            Lakoff's claim is that we're too policy-wonky, and that that is causing us to lose the public discourse and the future of our country. I would like data to back that up. I'd offer a competing explanation: we're advocating the wrong policies. We have a massive demographic advantage. What's screwing up that future is failing to advocate good policies.

            Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

            by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:54:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Just my opinion here... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uffdalib

      but in the part you excerpt (especially when taken in context of the entire diary), I hear him arguing that when we focus on any particular single issue (i.e., tax cuts, DADT, DREAM, START - specific policy initiatives) without casing those single items in the broader picture of effectively framed values (Empathy, Responsibility, and Excellence) AND then also speaking about them in a way that begins the long road of undoing three decades of successful Republican framing of Democratic principles, we are literally working against ourselves and playing directly into Republican frames.

      •  who is 'we'? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean, this is becoming so esoteric as to be irrelevant.

        I want specific data from Lakoff or others supporting that enormous claim he's making as the lede to the diary.

        The problem is not how Americans view taxation or any other issue. The problem is what politicians are doing about tax policy and other issues.

        I agree with Lakoff about the importance of framing, in general. Where I demand evidence is any sort of claim saying that our discourse has failed amongst the public. Our challenge, in other words, isn't changing public opinion. It's changing politician opinion.

        Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

        by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:01:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no the challenge is winning in the voting booth. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chipoliwog

          That requires better framing in campaigns, and in media appearances in between campaigns, because repeated frame activation is cumulative. That's a big factor in Republicans getting the votes of people who don't share issue positions with the Republicans they vote for.

          •  um, we won (0+ / 0-)

            That's why we control the House, the Senate, and the White House.

            The problem isn't that we focused on policies to the exclusion of frames. The problem is we aren't advocating good policies.

            Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

            by washunate on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:09:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  we won but we've been losing (0+ / 0-)

              The Republican party was as good as dead in 2008.  Look at them now.  By relentless screaming of their messages on hate radio, on TV on Fox etc. they've cowed the public in to believing Democrats are un-american evil devils with horns.  

              --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

              by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:05:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  you've got to be kidding (0+ / 0-)

                Americans hate the GOP precisely because they blather nonsensically.

                That's why Democrats were elected in 2006 and 2008. To do things differently than the GOP.

                Complain about

                messages on hate radio, on TV on Fox etc

                all you want. What Americans are looking for is a Democratic party that actually advocates principled policies.

                Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

                by washunate on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:15:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you're partly correct (0+ / 0-)

                  But they were also cowed and scared into either staying home or voting for Republicans.

                  As for Democrats, a lot of them stayed home because they were disenchanted or plain disgusted with how the party has conducted itself.

                  --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

                  by chipoliwog on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 09:47:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Very informative diary. Thanks. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog, spacejam
  •  How to make Daily Kos learn? (5+ / 0-)

    Question for all:  How to make Daily Kos not only LEARN from Lakoff but put the learning to use?

    How to put aside mean-spirited, self-indulgent, unhelpful rhetoric here?

    How to be effective in winning over  public opinion and elections?

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:57:44 AM PST

  •  OMG, What a fabulous article. Spot on! (3+ / 0-)
  •  thanks as always Dr. Lakoff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, spacejam

    Sorry the most important diary at DK will not lead to the very necessary discussion it was designed to invoke.

    •  Why not? You could step up and be the leader of a (0+ / 0-)

      new Kos group to work on this messaging.

      It wouldn't be the first time, and it won't be the last, but it does need to get some traction.

      I wonder how many would be interested in this as a project?

      •  one reason is mentioned in the diary (0+ / 0-)

        ...tend to study things like political science, economics, law, and public policy...

        Like so many of us, I recognize the problems.  Doesn't mean I have the solutions.  That's the cop out reason.  There are others.  I'm an asshole, I'm lazy, I have low self esteem, need to do more with my life, etc etc etc.

  •  Thank you--this exactly needed to be said... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    ...here is a comment I posted to another diary from a few days ago that I would like to repeat here, to further echo George Lakoff:

    I recommended this diary because... (1+ / 0-)
    ...it is a good argument to have in the debate. However, I have the same problem with the framing of this diary as I do with an ongoing rhetorical practice of Obama and Obama's team: to describe people's objections in a way that is disingenuous, that makes it seem like people are being petty or narrow.

    Take the public option: most people's objection, as I remember it, was not that we ended up with a deal without the public option, but the process by which we got there was distasteful. The President privately took it off the table early, never really intended to fight for it--something he campaigned on, something that had not only a large symbolism but also something that would have been a small step towards introducing competition into a rigged and unfair marketplace. The President tries to represent people who have a problem with that as being unreasonable, narrow idealists. That's not a fair representation, and I think the President knows it. Yet he and his team use this rhetorical tool to characterize the left all the time.

    What Democrats want is a President who is leading with the strongest positions, fighting for them, and compromising from a position of negotiating strength, one that appears to recognize that the people on the other side are much of the time not well intentioned patriots who can be taken at their word. What has become clear now is that the "long term" fight that the President is fighting is different than the long term fight that many on the left would like him to fight. But that does not make these people on the left narrow idealists.

  •  Speaking: take out the umms and uhhhs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, mike101, FrankSpoke

    Note how Republicans are well trained at spitting out their Talking Points clearly.

    Democrats stammer like amateurs, with ummmms and uhhhs....and they could put you to sleep.

    They/We Need
    PUBLIC SPEAKING TRAINING

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:00:34 AM PST

  •  I hear you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Taylor

    I do not like to see conservative policy validated by the Democrats, but we really could have avoided all of this nonsense of back in January of 09.  If the President and the Democrats had said the economy is bad and we are going to need to pump money into it so we can make sure the American people can get through the tough times and then they proceeded to ask for more, a lot more, than what was asked for, and that money would have been used to bring down the unemployment rate and used to prop up state budgets so we wouldn't have the mess we have now.

    The dirty truth of politics is that all of the messaging and other stuff is kind of irrelevant. people believe what they believe and no amount of messaging will change that. It comes down to jobs and gas prices on election day.

    Hey, Rich People: They aren't taxes. They're Freedom Payments.

    by jbou on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:02:37 AM PST

    •  This is where we kill ourselves (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, mallyroyal

      people believe what they believe and no amount of messaging will change that.

      What is Lakoff saying? People believe what they believe BECAUSE of the messaging, not in spite of it.

      Thinking you can't change this will guarantee that the Democrats continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

      •  yup (0+ / 0-)

        Lakoff is of the belief that it was messaging that killed Gore in 2000, and Kerry in 04, but it was the fact that the economy was okay and Bush was more appealing then Gore, and in 04 the economy was not good, but 9/11 and Iraq trumped everything that year, but in 06 we were far enough removed form 9/11 and  the bad economy was moving people to vote Democratic, and in 08 the rotten ass economy gave Democrats a huge victory and now that the economy has not turned around we are seeing Democrats pay. Messaging does not matter much.

        Hey, Rich People: They aren't taxes. They're Freedom Payments.

        by jbou on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:00:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

    I still don't see how talking about  “activating X in the brains of listeners” adds squat to the discussion, but all of the points are still good.

  •  no solutions, as usual. (0+ / 0-)

    And I use the word "no" in front of "solutions" to activate the word "solutions" and get you to think about it.

    Think about it, Dr. Lakoff.  Then do better.

    This diary sucks.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:06:02 AM PST

    •  Jeez - harsh reply, Benintn. (3+ / 0-)

      I didn't read the diary as proposing solutions in the first place. Rather, what I read in the diary is that to even get people to be on your side so that you can even craft a solution, you have to speak to them in a way that makes them disposed favorably to what it is you want to accomplish.

    •  You didn't even try to absorb the information did (0+ / 0-)

      you?

      Just reject it out of hand, continue to vent here, continue to see Democrats defeated.

      Not a solution.

      The Republicans are expert framers, that's how they win elections with lies.

      Rejecting Lakoff and continuing to see Democrats being defeated is not a solution either.

      •  Dems programmed to resist this information (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RainyDay

        As I said in a comment above, many Dems and progressives can't grok this information because it is counter to a core value of truth is self evident.  

        Well, you would think after 40+ years of Republicans totally tying up this country that the Dem's would get a clue as to what is going on .  Prof Lakoff is precisely correct in his observations and we as progressives need to get a clue and begin to think and act differently.  As it has been said, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity.

        --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

        by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:13:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why so rude? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Driver 8

      Where are your solutions?  

      It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:49:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um, thanks George, but you're clueless. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chase, Benintn

    Sorry, the majority of Americans oppose "tax cuts for millionaires" exactly as it's currently phrased.

    What really harms Democrats is 1) so many "framing and messaging consultants" who have no fucking clue about public opinion - sort of like, you know, the Democratic establishment; and 2) corporatist Democrats like ... like ... like ...

    Barack Obama.

    •  You didn't read the whole thing did you? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, Driver 8

      You didn't notice the Republican expertise at framing and how it got a pack of liars elected did you

      You didn't notice that we have NO message did you?

      You didn't notice how many members of Congress complained about the lack of direction and messaging form the White House did you?

      All this site's hang wringing and venting is getting us nowhere.

      This is where we can start, and at least half the people around here reject it.

      •  Actually yeah I read the whole thing, and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chase, cardinal, washunate

        I've been working in marketing and political communications for 20 years, and if you go out in the country - you know, where "real" Americans live - they love almost all of the progressive agenda, exactly as it's been marketed.

        But Barack Obama is not a progressive; oh yeah, and having George "don't think of an elephant" come on here and write a bible's worth of messaging advice, post-facto, sure seems to me like a lot of useless "hand-wringing and venting." I mean, who's listening?

        I wholeheartedly reject the notion that Republicans' expertise in framing is what got them elected. What got them elected was progressives staying home. Who do we vote for, if our Congress - OUR Congress - can't do something as simple as hold a fucking vote on tax cuts for millionaires before the election?

        Sorry, but marketing can not solve a problem when your  product (DINOs) sucks ass.

  •  Here is a good example... (9+ / 0-)

    of what Mr. Lakoff is talking about re framing, leaked from Fox News in yesterday's news:

    From: Sammon, Bill
    Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
    To: 054 FNSunday; 169 SPECIAL REPORT; 069 Politics; 030 Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050

    -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
    Subject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"

    1.      Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible.
    1.      When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."
    1.      Here's another way to phrase it: "The public option, which is the government-run plan."
    1.      When newsmakers and sources use the term "public option" in our stories, there's not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

    Progressives have a long way to go to compete with these masters of the game.

    "L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." - Le Petit Prince

    by littlezen on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:08:01 AM PST

  •  Just a couple points. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog

    I didn't read your entire thread but what I did read was filled with well stated and logical points.  However, I do want to touch on a couple of things.  If you already mentioned them and I didn't read that far, then I apologize in advance.

    First of all is the issue of the public not understanding policy.  I will agree.  However, people understand when politicians have lied or screwed them over.  At best, the majority of voters are highly apathetic of politics because they don't see how their lives ever change based on policies that are passed.  Can you blame them?  Most policies seem to be only very small pats on the head for the average person but large hugs and hand outs to the rich and corporations.  

    At worst, voters are furious because no matter who they vote for, the outcomes are always the same.  And when they dare to trust a politician may actually be telling the truth about hope and change and "yes we can", and that trust is betrayed, they are justifiably angry.

    I think the nuance you talk about is not good.  It is actually part of the problem and the apathy and public anger.  The country has veered severely off track and people need a lot of help now.  That help needs to be systemic and long term to get the country back on track.  And tiny, nuanced changes simply are not good enough any more.  Those are policy changes that are better suited to when things are going well and the system only needs small tweaks.  When things are going horribly wrong, making tiny nuanced policy decisions simply isn't good enough.

    So I disagree that the public doesn't get the policy aspect.  I just don't think they care anymore.  They need major changes that have a major, long term impact.  Something needs to be done that makes them stand up and take notice that their problems are fuly understood and things are going to be different from this point on.

    Obama has failed miserably.  So has the Democratic party, but the fact is that the sweeping wave of positivity in 2008 was solely about Obama.  He convinced people that he would bring the massive changes they wanted and NEEDED to make life better for everyone.  He convinced them that he understood that Bush/Republican policies were doing major damage to the country, and damages that would have a lasting impact on the state of the Country.  Obama convinced them that he believed in and supported the so-called "liberal" ideals that in poll after poll after poll, are supported by the vast majority of American citizens.  And most importantly he convinces the public that he represented a change to washington and an end to business as usual.

    He made them believe in hope and change that would put the country back on track.   But the second he got into office, suddenly he seemed disinterested in addressing the problems of the past.  He continued many of the previous policies he used to speak against.  And when it came to some of his biggest policy platform ideas (ie. a public option), he quit before he ever even started.  What message does that send to those people?  It tells them that Obama IS business as usual.  And if he needs to side with Republicans time after time after time to continue that business, he will.

    Does he honestly think his 2008 popularity will just stick around while he stabs them in the back?  Is he truly surprised that the majority of his "base" from 2008 just stayed home in 2010 and will most likely do the same in 2012?  

    Why should they bother coming out again?  They put themselves out there previously and they justifiably feel betrayed.  Their worst fears and ideas of politics were proven true.  If Obama with all his positivity and support couldn't help them, and couldn't make the change the country needs then how is it ever going to happen?

    Anyway, this was longer than I thought but I think this isn't about the public not "getting it".  I think they get it exactly right.  Sure, giving a starving homeless person some spare change is great.  Please do!  But to expect that after that, they should suddenly jump for joy and thank you for saving their life from their terrible situation is not only unrealistic...it is dangerously ignorant.  Because at the end of the day giving that person money for a coffee and sandwich isn't giving them future security or safety and assurance that things will be better tomorrow.

  •  My favorite part of this diary: (0+ / 0-)

    For a detailed background, take a look at my book, The Political Mind.

    Embedded messages saying, "I'm the expert because I have studied this."

    It's bullshit.

    You have yet to produce a single sticky idea that can turn the tide.  We don't need more researchers or professors.  We need more dittoheads and songwriters.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:12:46 AM PST

    •  Read "Don't THink of an Elephant" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, mahakali overdrive

      It has a whole list of things to do.

      OR else you can just watch Republican expertise on framing continue to beat the crap out of use, and allow a bunch of lies to continue to permeate the mass consciousness, while people around here just vent anger.

      Take this seriously. It works. See the January Republican House majority for an example.

    •  My friend knows Prof. Lakoff (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, boofdah, soothsayer99

      very well! Obviously I cannot detail this, but we were just discussing his other Linguistic work last not. His ideas are very well-respected, and his understanding of how language works to effect the brain is smart.

      What could turn the tide might be to find a way to articulate our desires more clearly, and in a more unified way. That could be then distributed through dittoheads, songwriters, and so forth. The DK has TONS of talking points, actually, they just aren't good ones for advancing dominant political discourse from the underdog position, IMHO.

      "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

      by mahakali overdrive on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:41:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He's a theoretician (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, boofdah

      not a song writer.  It's teamwork that is required.  We need everyone on board.

      It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:51:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stickiness is not the be all end all... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and it requires focus groups and opinion leaders of the target demographic (in the terms used by Gladwell). You know the kind of stuff Luntz is known for.

      Having said this, many of the memes promoted by regressives aren't necessarily all that sticky. They persist by dint of repitition as much as anything else.

      So I ask you, how is an academic research professor supposed to afford and organize focus groups and identify opinion leaders for the purposes of partisan politics?

      He is merely telling you that the spoon exists.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:30:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's not up to him to do that. (0+ / 0-)

      It is up to us both individually and collectively.  

      You want a magic wand that will blow our opponents away. That ain't gonna happen. No ponies here.

      We have to do the work to build messaging frames, and deliver them consistently over long periods of time.  When you're ready to do that, they you can go look at ponies.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:20:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  meh, sort of, but (0+ / 0-)

    would even larger majorities favoring liberal policies get them enacted? no. we don't have 'elections' for policies and their respective framing, we have elections for individuals, and if we're talking about how those people make their case, there are so many factors involved that it's close to incoherent to attempt to draw one out and isolate it.

    I really think this stuff is much simpler than people make it out to be. if things are bad, people want whatever seems bad to be fixed. if you "fix" (claim to fix it without doing so) and nobody feels the effects, those people will lose. if you don't even try, you will lose. if you get lucky and things get better despite what you've done, you will win. and if you try things and those things make life better, you will win. Dems were swept into office in 2006 & 2008 to fix the myriad wrongs that are dragging the country down. they talked a lot about their solutions, sort of implemented a few of them, argued amongst themselves, and people watched as things got worse instead of better. so they lost. they could have used the worst framing ever, and if unemployment had gone down to 6% after a spike over 9%, more Dems would have won. it stayed high, no one felt the effects of the "fixes", so they lost. pretty simple.

  •  extreme right wing conservatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog

    aren't really interested in policy ( they are good at parroting GOP/Libertarian/Tea generated bulletin points)

    they are interested in DOMINANCE.... do as they say

    period end of story

    The billionaires are on the warpath. They want more, more, more. ~ Senator Bernie Sanders

    by anyname on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:20:31 AM PST

    •  and (0+ / 0-)

      if you won't be dominated or you won't do as/what they say.... then they go into annihilation mode

      which is predatory politics - -  predation

      as I see it all extreme(ism) right wing politics is about 'predation' which is expressed by various degrees of predatory behavior/economic/politics depending on the times they live in, and what they identify as their ensuing SUPERIOR and entitled materialistic needs

      The billionaires are on the warpath. They want more, more, more. ~ Senator Bernie Sanders

      by anyname on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:37:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well establish a meme based on fear (0+ / 0-)

        to frame these people as scary, untrustworthy, don't have the country's best interest at heart.  

        Your post brings up a valid concern in that we are in real danger of losing our Republic.  And what would be left is a tribal warfare not unlike Hutu's and Tutsi's.  

        --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

        by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:23:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is no "other side" (0+ / 0-)

    And "tax" has been a bad word for a long time
    Re: "Serfs."

    And it isn't the taxes that are bad. It's the application of same and the injustices they represent that are the issue.

    It isn't that Democrats suck at communicating. They (or at least most of them) are saying exactly what they set out to say, and do.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:20:40 AM PST

    •  And how does that work for us? (0+ / 0-)

      You expect the average person to grok your values to understand all the nuances of the problem and instead they are swayed by the fear, uncertainty and doubt sown by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, the hundreds of thousands of preachers each Sunday morning and on TV/Radio.  

      You probably think them somehow deficient for failing to hear your message. Well, no, the problem is your refusal to recognize that your communication is IN-effective. Until you do, Dems will continue to lose political elections and by consequence power.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:27:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democratic Party moral compass (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, spacejam

    1)Empathy.(2)Responsibility.(3)The ethic of excellence. Most people share these values. Most people will agree when you repeat these values in any form. Not new, not in need of long explanation: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Like this:

    I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper.

    1. Empathy — Americans care about each other. (2) Responsibility, both personal and social. We have to act on that care. (3) The ethic of excellence. We have to make ourselves better so we can make our families, our communities, our country and the world better.

    "Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK."

    by mrobinson on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:26:03 AM PST

  •  thank you (6+ / 0-)

    Too many among the liberal political professionals use conservative frames and terms.  These are the folks who are conducting the polling and crafting the "messages" that we are then expected to parrot. It is a top down machine that has internalized conservative frames.

    And then we wonder what went wrong.

  •  we get lousy messaging 'cause D party is corrupt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, mrpinchy

    and unfocused.

    if they wanted they could frame things well, as George Lakoff has pointed out innumerable times.

    the reason for not doing so is not incompetence, at least not in large measure.

    Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

    by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:28:43 AM PST

    •  I agree, and how do we get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      them to change that? It mystifies and frustrates me, especially during the last elections.

    •  You're engaging in lousy messaging yourself... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uffdalib

      ...you know the conservatarians have a robust network of message generation that is not owned by the party, but sponsored independent and usually merchantile entities. So there is a very real deficit in capacity.

      However, there is also a deficit in coherence. Every Democratic legislator has their own way of describing their core beliefs with almost no effort to emphasize the shared progressive superstructure that supports them. They are not as mutually reinforcing as they might be and all too often unknowingly adopt conservative talking points.

      I would go so far as to say that every Democratic legislator/candidate needs a personal framer to filter their prepared statements. By repitition this will perfuse their extemporaneous speaking as well and free us from GOP framing.

      We know progressive ideas are more scientifically supportable and appeal to our better angels of morality. I believe this is an inherent advantage that regressives have had to work long and hard even partially overcome. So I suspect, just a wee bit of centralized effort will quickly turn the tide.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:02:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  following that thought .... (0+ / 0-)

        you say:

        We know progressive ideas are more scientifically supportable and appeal to our better angels of morality. I believe this is an inherent advantage that regressives have had to work long and hard even partially overcome. So I suspect, just a wee bit of centralized effort will quickly turn the tide.

        We know liberal ideas are better.

        Yet for years RW ideas have won, like tax cuts, free trade, Stop over-regulation, ignore global warming, you name it. Part of the problem is failure to message right by our Democratic leaders. Instead, they mimic GOP points, such as "tax cuts are stimulative."

        Can anything be concluded from these  phenomena?

        How do you see your solution ("So I suspect, just a wee bit of centralized effort will quickly turn the tide") being actualized?

        How long will it take for this to happen?

        Oh, and, it's disingenuous to conflate debate here with "messaging" in the wider world. My audience here consists of people that are up to speed and committed Democrats, and mostly liberals.

        The wider world is another story. This is not that.

        Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

        by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:11:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  have you read about the Koch brothers' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Enterik

          decades long campaign to fund RW discourse, research, and the rest?

          In fact, given your comments, I wonder if you read this diary?

          No wonder Rs fight equity and higher taxes so effectively. The Koch brothers have been funding R think tanks and messaging units to crush progressive values for decades, and no doubt getting tax cuts for it. You know, of course, that it goes back to the John Birch Society... At least 50 years ago when I was in college, the Koch Brothers' father was involved in starting the JBS.

          Blaming Democrats for the lousy state of communication is like blaming teachers for the lousy state of public schools. See what was said in the diary about messaging about public schools.

          This is a not an overnight effort and it requires changing the cultural frame of mind as well as language.

          For background reading look for the New Yorker profile on the Koch brothers that was published last summer. It was comprehensive, excellent, and scary. Not to be surprised, they've even bought, either directly or indirectly, some members of the Supreme Court.

          •  Dem leaders' messaging controlled by the Kochs? (0+ / 0-)

            Not supposed to be.

            Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

            by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:24:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  RW = right wing... (0+ / 0-)

              Koch bros fund RW messaging.

              Dems absorb it because the Koch bros have been so effective in infiltrating the entire media landscape with their RW messaging.

              Surely that was clear from the comment.

              There were several comments inserted between your comments and the one this one pertained to - so the thread was diverted.

              But the Koch bros article is a must read to understand the R's messaging dynamics.

        •  Progressive solutions scientifically supported... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that's how I know they are intrinsically better. I understand regressive ideas, I've read their wellspring literature...The Prince, Wealth of Nation, Public Opinion, The Fountainhead...all very tempting, frequently misinterpreted to rationize unbridle brutality and selfishness, some even plausible strategies...but in the end not scientifically supported as benefitting the long term health of society.

          I am not sanguine about the prospects of a turn around in the near term. Perhaps, I should have been more precise in laying down the circumstances. But I still believe in the inherent value and appeal of progressive solutions, but that is only a firepower modifier not a magic bullet. I think it will take years to redress the current imbalance. Having said all that, I will quote the Tao De Ching...

          "If you want to change the world, get your own life in order"

          ...you may draw the distinction between what occurs in this very public(ly available) fourm and the wider world, but I disagree. The skills, memes and messaging developed here go out into the real world with the participants. If time is spent indulging in flame wars and internecine tail biting, what product is one bringing to the world?

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:52:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  whatever (0+ / 0-)

            you have a fun day.

            Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

            by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:25:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  so why are you not sanguine? (0+ / 0-)

            why does Dem messaging stink, in your view? Or do you think it's OK?

            I said what I thought, but you have not, really.

            Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

            by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:26:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think such messaging will help... (0+ / 0-)

              ...that relative to regressive messaging efforts it will help quickly but even so it will take years because of the media imbalance that the regressive noise machines enjoys in their favor, the decades of inculcation the regressive noise machine has engaged in, the well heeled sources of support and patronage regressives have been afforded.

              There is no quick fix or easy solution, it will take time, less time than it took to get here, but time none the less. To do nothing is on this front is a crime.

              (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

              by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:47:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  do you think our elected Dems are doing good (0+ / 0-)

                messaging now?

                starting with the president - his proxies, and of course other elected officials.

                I don't, for the most part. So many of them seem to have internalized GOP talking points ("government is bad, private enterprise is the ultimate, etc.").

                what do you think?

                Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

                by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:00:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  They could do much better... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mightymouse, fhcec

                  ...Obama finds hinself in the unenviable position of putting lipstick on a pig. I reasonably believe it may have been a pig or a dead pig choice in the negotiations. I think that problem was foisted on him by Congressional dithering due to Republican obstruction and Democratic fearfulness, both of which are substantially impacted by the regressive messaging machine. I also think the executive branch could have done more to champion everything piled up to the last minute but were relatively inexperienced at doing so. There's plenty of blame to go around and plenty of room for improvement.

                  I like what my Rep. van Hollen has been saying lately but it seems like a day late and a dollar short. Still even if this gambits risks are realized, I am prepared to find the silver lining in the form of increased revenues as the enhanced fraying of our social safety net is ended.

                  (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                  by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:10:52 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well this is reasonable (0+ / 0-)

                    tho I still don't get the last sentence.

                    Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

                    by mightymouse on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:38:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The Bush tax cuts will expire... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...as you see, I too have no magic bullet reframe for the tax issue.

                      Personally, I'm okay with paying my fair share for the common good, things like infrastructure, basic human necessities for the poor.

                      I also think the rich should pay more because truthfully they can afford it more and because they benefit more.

                      It is the very nature of our capitalist system that ensures there always be 4 to 5% of the people who are unemployed and even more who are at or below the poverty level. Given that this is a predictable result of our economic system it is only humane and prudent that we have a social safety net sufficient to avoid the negative consequences associated with poverty.

                      The government will have more money for necessities of society if the tax cuts are allowed to expire. I also note that Obama is threatening the parts of the tax code that Lakoff cites as egregious theft by the filthy rich and corporate.

                      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:00:25 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  well, we could change that relegation (0+ / 0-)

                        of poor to purgatory here on earth if we so desired.

                        Our "system" is not set in stone. It has evolved over time, with the push and pull of contervailing power.

                        Now it needs to have more push from the vast majority - the 90% of us - against the top, top 10%, so they don't siphon all our resources down the drain into their bank accounts.

                        It wil continue to evolve. It's up to the majority of us to ensure that it evolves toward justice for all, not toward the kleptocracy's greed.

                        And we have the majority. We can make the changes if we focus and organize.

                        •  While I am a socialist at heart... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...and concur with your notion of change, I also think it is easy to make an intellectual, moral, ethical and even selfish case for a social safety net within a capitalist system such as ours. Such is one path to the change we seek.

                          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                          by Enterik on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 05:35:35 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Professor Lakoff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, McGahee220

    This is excellent advice that every person who cares about this Nation should hear. Glad to see this on the top of the rec list.

    I was just reading "Conceptual Metaphors in Everyday Life" and without knowing that you were interested in politics, kept thinking of how it could apply to our political framing. Perhaps because argument is more like conversation (or dancing) to me.

    My sense is that the tone we use to express ourselves is always open to improvement, and that we all want more political "lungs" so-to-speak. Through your research, we can easily make ours louder.

    Blessed immigrants is exactly right!

    "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

    by mahakali overdrive on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:38:07 AM PST

  •  Has anyone ever pied Mr. Lakoff? (0+ / 0-)

    Because the man is need a good pieing. Seriously.

    It's funny how if you decide the problem is all about communication and framing -- and not that both major parties are corrupt corporate puppets and our electoral system is rigged so that corrupt corporate puppets will almost always certainly win -- then the obvious solution is we should all spend more time and money hiring George Lakoff as a political consultant.  

    •  Lakoff is describing a hammer... (6+ / 0-)

      ...whether you choose to use it for building or destroying is up to you.

      Or you can go on using neolithic technology.

      Currently, the Republicans are using the very tools he describes to great effect.

      Personally, I think they can only improve the lot Democrats and progressives if employed to rectify the political funnels you so ably described.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:05:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just communication (0+ / 0-)

      it's how we frame the issue in our thought processes as well. We need to express and envision the affirmative values we have that are not solely reactions to conservative ideas.

      Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

      by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:18:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer Krugman's analysis: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah
    going down this road means we keep going down this road and can't go back.

    Same problem with bailing out banks (reinflating a fake bubble representing a kind of economy that is sure to collapse again), continuing wars in Afghanistan, etc.

    This isn't just about how we think about things, its about the real world and how it does and should operate.  It's about policy decisions, not policy framing.

    Denial is complicity.

    by Publius2008 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:42:46 AM PST

  •  Make It a Moral Issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, Dave925, Parthenia

    Then it gets really simple.

    Listen to Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor now.

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:46:58 AM PST

  •  Most excellent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, McGahee220, JTinDC

    Thank you, George. Well done. And sadly, the following thread clearly points out how difficult it is for people to get established themes out of their heads in order to learn something different. The programmed emotion response to failing strategies seems always to be, "It's not working! Do it harder!!"

    •  This is called (0+ / 0-)

      Risk-seeking dissonance. Risk-seeking is amplified by perceived losses or failures. An example is when race track gamblers are willing to bet more on long shots as the day increases, after having accrued losses earlier in the day. This increases the intensity of the 'gamble' (i.e. do it harder!)

  •  yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog

    Those of us outside of government have to organize that unified movement, and not be limited by specific issue areas.

    It is long past time for a movement that is not connected to any political party or even to conventional politics.

    Gaia is heartbroken.

    by BlueDragon on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:53:40 AM PST

  •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, boofdah

    If conservatives succeed in cutting government by the people for the public good, our lives will still be governed, but now by corporations. We will have government by corporations for corporate profit. It will not be a kind government. It will be a cruel government, a government of foreclosures, outsourcing, union busting, outrageous payments for every little thing, and pension eliminations.

    Sorry, but... aren't we already there???

    Nothing in the world, however base nor however good, nor however theoretically admirable, can justify murder as an act of policy. - James Cameron (journalist)

    by Jimbo47 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:55:02 AM PST

  •  One-hit wonder George (0+ / 0-)

    When I read a Lakoff post, I feel like I'm at one of those sad concerts by some band that had a big hit 20 years ago and is still milking it.  

    Keep on cranking out, "Don't Think of an Elephant," George.  That's what the people paid to hear.

  •  Excellent work. VERY good stuff. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    McGahee220, JTinDC, Driver 8
  •  Like finding out I was a Human Resource (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, MrJersey, McGahee220

    This diary sums up much of my frustration as a Democrat.  Why is it that Republicans have been able to convince voters that what is bad for them is good for them?  It's because they have controlled the use of language as a weapon.  I recall when the old "Personnel" sign came down and the "Human Resources" sign went up and I asked just what the purpose of this could be.  I was told that this made me a much more important "asset".
    Well I always wanted to be an asset to my employer through my contributions but I didn't get warm and fuzzies about being an asset in the same sense as the machinery we used to convert our natural resources to finished goods using human resources.  I felt completely de-personalized.  Some of my co-workers felt the same way and others not so much but in the end when it came time to "rightsize", those in charge of human resources were able to look at the stacks of "headcount" and "separate" the excess.
    I got to hate this type of corporate bullshit babble but was always somewhat awed by those who who were using it not in a good way but in a disgusted way.  They and their ilk went on to become the Republican Party of today.  They have understood the power of messaging and because they aren't constrained by empathy or respect for people outside their wealth driven circles there is no limit to how dishonest these messages may be.  

  •  Mr Lakoff Give some suggestions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chase, betson08

    Mr. Lakoff,

    It may be complicated, but it would be great if you could suggest some counter slogans that would help push progressive values.

    •  It's not about slogans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      And it is not for him to do this work. It is for US to do this work.  

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:30:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's easy to spot mistakes (0+ / 0-)

        It's easy for a published author and PHD to post a diary on what is going wrong. Crafting a message that works is the hard part.

        •  It is a methodology, not simply a message (0+ / 0-)

          It is not simply saying a magic word and voila! things change.

          It is taking to heart the necessary ingredients for change:

          1. have an objective of where you want to end up
          1. what incremental concepts need to change to allow the public to move in that direction
          1. craft concepts and meme's for that objective
          1. enlist resources to spread these concepts and meme's
          1. train these resources and assign them specific responsibilities
          1. assess the effectivenes of these memes and concepts and re-adjust
          1. be relentless and be in it for the long haul (months and years and decades)
          1. everyone on the team must repeat these memes at every opportunity
          1. Supplant opponents memes rather than negate them.

          To do all this you will need effective communications strategist in the WH and in the DNC and in grassroots organizations.  

          Lastly, the politicians must support the base and put forward an agenda consistent with progressive values because authenticity and integrity will be absolute necessities to the success of this endeavor.

          --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

          by chipoliwog on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 09:41:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  unfortunately... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Magnifico, MrJersey, JTinDC

    the hardest time to convince politicians that effective communication is the key to successful leadership--is when they are in charge.

    Democrats view communication as window dressing because they are convinced that in politics there is only one truth that exists.  Hence, they believe there is no real possibility that once people hear the facts, they will gravitate to any other place than that one truth.

    Trying to convince Democrats who are in power that there are in fact many truths in politics and that people must be persuaded of the truth you want them to move towards--is like trying to convince a waffle iron that it is bicycle.  

    That's why the only real time the Democrats ever listened to advice about framing was the last time the party truly had one foot in the grave:  right after Bush beat Kerry.  

    Good times.

    •  What is truth? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      Science pretty well demonstrates the inherent value of progressive solutions, thus I have little doubt in the generally inherent superiority of progressive means and ends.

      Still Science also demonstrates the pecularities of perceived and received reality at the individual level. Unfortunately only regressives have been using these observations systematically.

      After the glow of the New Deal faded into normalcy progressives became lulled by and inattentive of the status quo. The self-evident truth no longer was, replaced with a variety of tempting imposters. Therein lies the progressive challenge, to reinstate the natural primacy of progressive idealogy without offending the bewildered herd.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:22:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have any theories (0+ / 0-)

      on why Republicans believe in framing and Democrats don't. It astounds me how hard this stuff is to get people to believe, and then implement. Some of the comments in this thread illustrate this.

  •  It's A Loan to the Rich, and You're Paying for It (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, fhcec, MrJersey, Sunspots

    It's a loan. The American people are still on the hook for the "tax cuts." It's also an unfair loan.

    The richest 1% get almost 52% of the benefit of the Bush tax cuts ( Bush Tax Cut Benefit for Richest 1% ) , and yet they pay only about 29% of U.S. taxes ( Effective Marginal Tax Rate for Top 1% ) -and that is the best deal in town. No wonder they richest among us spend so much money getting the government to loan them money that other people (i.e. the rest of the taxpayers have to pay back!  

  •  The most effective republican messaging strategy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog, Dave925, fhcec

    has been to use messages that put their voters’ afterlives in jeopardy with stuff like abortion, gay marriage etc... Their "message" is a terroristic threat. It goes something like "You will go straight to hell if you vote for one of those democrat baby-killing perverts. The Democratic party has never really called them out for mixing religious beliefs with politics (which leads to mixing belief with law, then to mixing Church and State).
    Mixing belief with law is the most effective political brainwashing tactic ever devised. It has worked effectively for thousands of years. That’s why Jefferson tried to get the actual words "Complete separation of church and state" written into the constitution. Too bad that didn’t happen.

  •  More educational entertainment, please (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, fhcec, revgerry, McGahee220, Sunspots

    Best diary I've read all year. My only beef is Lakoff writes

    a culture of learning in place a culture of entertainment,

    The cool, highly entertaining, liberal-lefty books I read such as MASH, Johnny Got his Gun, My Life and Times in the Liberation News Service, Huck Finn...had a much bigger impact on my teen soul than all the ranting and raving in the 60' which turned me off to politics until a few years ago.

    At the present, the TV show Glee reaches into more teen hearts and minds about gay issues in a way a gender/sexual orientation lecture, documentary, or book cannot.

    More of this, please.

    I'm writing a teen novel with lots of politics woven throughout. I know I need to make it highly entertaining or no one will want to read it. I'm here to tell you, entertaining is hard work. Yes, yes, I know educating is hard work too. (My family is loaded with educators.)But we diss the entertainment factor at our own peril.

    Fox News has no compunctions about placing entertainment over logical thinking. What's that about not bringing a knife to a gunfight?

    On our side, Colbert and Stewart have been some of our most potent and educational weapons against the corpocracy.

    Let's use entertainment to our advantage.

    •  Let us use liberal advantage in entertainment... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots

      ...I ask, just what made the FOX network the powerhouse it is today?

      The Simpsons.

      Ah, remember when FOX news was just there to replace unfilled commercial airtime?

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:17:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rachel needs to interview George Lakoff. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Dave925, McGahee220, Sunspots

    I tried to find a way to email Rachel or her show, but was unable to (to send a link to this diary).

    If anyone feels the same, and knows how to send a lind of this to her, I hope you will.

    I used to have hope. Now I just see most conservative Dem's audacity in maintaining the corporate status quo.

    by davekro on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:31:36 AM PST

  •  the diary I've been waiting for. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, boofdah, soothsayer99

    very well done.

    Any war requires forces that use their pen against the enemy, not in foolish tirades against their own leader, abetting the enemy. ~qua

    by mallyroyal on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:35:18 AM PST

  •  Wow that was one of the most convoluted (0+ / 0-)

    apologies for the President I've heard yet.  Do you even listen to yourself?

    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

    by oscarsmom on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:40:08 AM PST

    •  Do you even listen to yourself? (5+ / 0-)

      Are you serious? I think you need to refocus.

      Not everything is about Obama, even if the author happens to mention him in passing. This diary is about a hammer and how to swing it and what happens when you do.

      This is not some internecine screed. Anyone can use the tool being described.

      Lakoff has been researching the nature of human metaphorical thought and saying these very same things well before there was ever a candidate Obama.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:10:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot

      I'm not sure you read the same diary I did. I don't see how this can be interpreted as an apology for the President, or alternatively as dumping on the President.

      Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

      by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:14:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is also problem with the process (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, Mike Taylor

    As UnaSpenser argued in this diary from last night:

    No matter the situation, I have been taught and have learned that quality problem resolution only comes when you get all stakeholders to the table. When the stakeholders meet face to face, they are each allowed to voice their needs, concerns and ideas and all listen to each other before trying to come up with solutions, people are generally more able to accept solutions which may not be their personal ideal. As a manager, if I have to impose something on my staff, it is received and accepted better if I hear them out and acknowledge them and then explain why I must impose this thing before actually imposing it. Next, I might ask for ideas of something in my power, which doesn't serve me, that I could do for them that might help them to know that I care about them and don't enjoy having to impose things upon them. At a minimum they feel respected and have some understanding of why I'm taking that particular action.

    Which leads me to some process questions about our Democratic Leadership:

    If our leaders know that a big legislative negotiation is coming up on, say, the expiration of tax cuts and the extension of unemployment benefits, why don't they reach out to their stakeholders beforehand for political support and say, "Folks, we need to get our needs, concerns and ideas out there now! Help us build momentum for our agenda! Call your Reps and Senators! Write those letters to the editors! Urge your advocacy organization to do some ads! Ask for everything, so we have a good starting point for negotiating!"? Did I miss this step? Why do the negotiations always seem to start with our most important agenda items already off the table? Shouldn't it at least be removed with significant concessions on the part of whomever demands it be removed?

    And why aren't multiple stakeholders in the room for the negotiations? These things aren't about Republicans and Democrats, they're about people. People losing jobs/careers and homes. Losing the ability to feed their families. It's winter. People are going to start freezing. We're talking about tax cuts to the rich when people can't eat or heat their homes? Someone in that rooms needs to keep injecting that context. Look these people in the eyes and say, "How many people are you willing to make suffer for this?"

    Strong, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. -core value of Julian Assange

    by geomoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:45:05 AM PST

    •  Progressive abdication of messaging... (0+ / 0-)

      ...damaged that process decades before it that process even started.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:14:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Abdication is not an accurate description (0+ / 0-)

        of the ruthless, secret, and anti-democratic process which stole the messaging.  I mentioned The Republican Noise Machine upthread.  That describes what actually happened.

        Strong, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. -core value of Julian Assange

        by geomoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:25:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It seems fitting to mention Lakoff's mentor here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geomoo

          As he has co-written a very good treatise on the the corperate media through which most Americans receive their news.

          Manufacturing Consent by Herman & Chomsky (the mentor) detail the regressive lensing effect upon received reality due to the structural reality of media the bewildered herd incorrectly deems a neutral benefit...

          Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation
          The Advertising License to Do Business
          Sourcing Mass Media News
          Flak and the Enforcers
          Anti-Communism/Terror

          One point on the abdication is that I was using in a sense relative to what the party and individuals could themselves make efforts to actualize.

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:43:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the link. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Enterik, fhcec

            I applaud the goal, think different "framing" would stand a better chance.  There is an unfortunate habit of scorning people who are influenced by highly sophisticated propaganda.  One may as well scorn the human limbic system.  I suggest blaming people for having been screwed is not the most positive way to start the program.

            Very interesting comment.  I'll follow up on the link.

            Strong, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. -core value of Julian Assange

            by geomoo on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:57:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  As a neurobiologist (6+ / 0-)

    who has also studied the language 'marketing' (read: framing, and the framing effect as studied by Kahneman and Tversky) in politics that affect our perception and thereby our reality, I believe Lakoff has outlined a clarion call for what we are to do if we are to achieve progress.

  •  Lakoff, Not Luntz (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, McGahee220

    Its a shame that the Progressive message of Lakoff cannot gain traction with more common people to compete with the Faux News Message of Luntz, Beck, Limbaugh, et al!

    The failure is in our education.  Our people think of Palin as a political philosopher.  That, folks, symbolizes, not a civilization in decline, but a country that fails to qualify as civilized, and certainly cannot be called educated.

  •  It's short-term vs. long-term thinking, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    For instance, the payroll "tax holiday" unlocks the Social Security figurative lockbox. For 75 years Social Security has been defensible because pension payments are funded out of contributions made specifically for that purpose.

    If this goes through, they'll be putting in some general fund money, and the right wing will call it a kind of welfare.  We know that welfare is what gets cut.

    Give people a tax cut, but not out of Social Security funding.  The right wing is thrilled that Obama handed them that on a platter.  They weren't expecting it.

    This is called eating your seed grain.  Give us bread and circuses now - don't mention that we'll starve tomorrow.

    It could also be considered a variation of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Throw us a few crumbs now and don't mention the terrible consequences that will follow.

  •  Let's pretend for a moment that the WH (0+ / 0-)

    knows all about how our brains works and chose to frame issues for the purpose of defeating us.

    Just a pretend.

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:33:38 AM PST

    •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

      Why would anyone good or bad want to destroy their own power?  Whould you?  You really think there are little green monsters lurking around every corner of the government?  You've bought the Republican meme too?

      •  well, entertain this idea (0+ / 0-)

        Obama is beholden to powerful interests that want effective control over the political agenda regardless of party.  The Plutocrats have decided that the United States is over and that it's people must be brought down to the level of the rest of the world.  The institutions that were put in place to create and enhance the middle class of this country are to be dismantled.  Social Security, Medicare, infrastructure, pensions, worker safety, collective bargaining are all to be destroyed.  

        If you find that idea plausible then if you want to return our country back to the ideal of our Republic then ideas common in the turn of the 20th Century could be powerful.  Robber barons, reward work, etc.  It will take a movement no less than revolution with the recognition that the enemy of the people is this class of people and their political pawns.  Are you willing to commit to what it would take to take the power back from them?  Are you ready and willing to engage in what will literally be warfare because they will not go quietly into the night? They are already killing us both on the battlefield of foreign lands and by spreadsheet through our broken health care system, banking system and educational system.

        --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

        by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:45:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  David Broder's head just exploded... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, boofdah, CupofTea

    if he read this...

    There is no ideology of the center, just combinations of progressive and conservative views.

  •  New terminology time? "Federal Income Assessment" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    People can complain about FIAs, instead of something that "taxes" their souls. Tax  was probably a bad word all along. Tariff or assessment would be more appropriate and more neutral.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:55:55 AM PST

  •  I agree with a lot of this, and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    play jurist

    I am most appreciative of your tireless effort to bring awareness to progressive communities of the power of framing.  However. . .

    When democratic political leaders go to college they tend to study things like political science, economics, law, and public policy. These fields tend to use a scientifically false theory of human reason — Enlightenment reason. It posits that reason is conscious, that it can fit the world directly, that it is logical (in the sense of mathematical logic), that emotion gets in the way of reason, that reason is there to serve self-interest, and that language is neutral and applies directly to the world.

    You clearly don't have the faintest clue as to the state of contemporary poli sci research.  If you're going to take a broad swipe at my discipline like that, how about at least picking up a book or journal from after 1975?  

    In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

    by cardinal on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:57:45 AM PST

  •  My son has a signed letter from Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog

    talking about empathy. It used to hold a cherished place in our home. We kept it in a mylar sleeve, away from the light, dry and safe. Now if my son spilled tomato juice on it, I really wouldn't care.

    Obama understands how to USE the idea of empathy to manipulate people, but he doesn't actually understand it.

    He used his dead mother to sell me on the public option. He did. Who does that? I don't think I even heard a mention of his mother as he turned and mocked those of us who HEARD HIM PROMISE it. He laughed and said he never did.

    These are red flags that show me a lot. He has a degree of disconnection with real human emotion that I fear. Even those with no working conscience who have spent their lives mimicking those of us with real empathy are able to fake it for a while.

    Eventually their real self shows through.

    Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

    by the girl on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:01:06 AM PST

  •  It's time to MOVE THE CENTER, NOT TO THE CENTER! (5+ / 0-)

    Can't agree enough.  But let's start by framing the movement.  We need to move the center to the left, not the left to the center!

    ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

    by Back In Blue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:16:56 AM PST

  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

    and we should use working class instead of the deceptive, wealth protecting concept of the" middle class." it is designed to dangle the carrot of wealth production toward people who may never achieve that goal, yet they consistently protect wealth or vote against their own interest. We need to shift our focus toward the real producers of the economy.

  •  Agreed, and well said, but ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aigeanta, Pris from LA

    I would add one thing, whilst what you outline is true, the macro trend, of the very magnitude of discourse, across the widest possible spectrum, stimulates a far great "movement" ... a movement Obama called: THE AWAKENED ELECTORATE. Forget about your "independents" or "undecideds" or whatever ... Those merely represent a statistical "correlation" not a determinant "causation" .... remember the basic rule of statistics:
    CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION

    The Awakened Electorate plays a causative role in driving votes to the Democratic ticket. In other words, the more voters become "awakened" "informed" "inquisitive" "engaged" ... the more they will vote Democratic. Yes, of course, one might contest this, suggesting that Republican voters are "Awakened Electorate" too, but if that were true, the Republicans wouldn't need to play such "media programming" framing games.

    My point then is this: the discourse, in progressive circles, across all spectrums, from all vantage points, is key. This stimulates thought, which fosters The Awakened Electorate: who then, in turn, influence the rest: because they are informed, engaged, passionate ::: and passion is infectious. ENTHUSIASM. 

    And enthusiasm, at the end of the day, is what drives GOTV efforts.

    Strange/ You caution against relying on Framing, yet curiously, you, in part, actually advocate for it, and in part, use it, yet also, interestingly, you do so using the tools of detailed discourse, ie: that which fosters THE AWAKENED ELECTORATE: you inform.  

    Me ... I advocate for discourse: plain and simple.

    Challenging the president on his actions is doing nothing more than engaging in discourse. His actions are not a "pragmatic incrementalist" approach, that frame you are promoting belies the reality, which is simply the broad spectrum of strategy

    1. When one challenges him, one is challenging his strategy: Can he deliver?
    1. When one questions him, one is questioning his intent: Does he want to deliver? 

    The two are eternally in play: intent and the ability to deliver. The intent drives the strategy. We can study his actions over time to determine strategy, and we can observe results to determine intent. And, public rigorous vigorous discourse/ ie, debate, facilitates both of these. Just like in school, the discussion is what fosters education: same thing is occurring today on the net. You are suggesting that Republicans understand communication better, but that is only true if framing is your goal, not fostering an Awakened Electorate. The Awakened Electorate is what won Obama his seminal victory because honest discourse trumps framing in the new media paradigm. In reality, today's media world is unlike any previous media, the net is a classroom, a massive unruly classroom, wherein the discourse itself, is the message. As they say in advertising: 
    THE MEDIA IS THE MESSAGE
    ... and this could not be more true than with the blogging netroots world.
     
    In closing, I get that your intent was to frame Obama, yet again, as a "Pragmatist" changing it slightly, adding this "incrementalist" MEME, but sorry, that doesn't serve to foster discourse ... and since you recommended against such, I find that curious. 
    Again:

    1. Intent
    1. Strategy

    Everything else is noise.         

    And btw, these two are not "frames" as you mean them, they are "frameworks" for discourse. They are open-ended in nature. They do not define, they illicit.

    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:55:38 AM PST

    •  Well thought out. (0+ / 0-)

      But, and herein lies the pie fight war, your uses of the words "challenge" and "question."  I strongly agree in the choice of the words and the strategy behind it when engaging any public official.

      The problem is that, on the whole, that is not what is taking place through the discourse of the internet.

      I was at a site this morning, where comment after comment were of the low-level unaware sort of random invectives designed to foster anger (some of the anger was violent), and snowballs into rage and venom.

      I'm not sure how this helps the country and I don't believe that this either challenging or questinoing someone to look for an answer.

      •  And therein lies the ... (0+ / 0-)

        rub: Who are you to judge? 

        The problem is that, on the whole, that is not what is taking place through the discourse of the internet.

        And this: "on the whole" ... hmm, hard to make that statement with any definitive accuracy, and what discrete objective metrics are you using to make that judgment, and would I agree your metric? Remember that all we are really dealing with here is freedom of speech, nothing more, nothing less, and as such, who are you to even pass judgment? What makes your perception more valid then those who are voicing their ire? It is a slippery slope when you presume such. Now, I am not talking about things like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater or sites that advocate violence, and there are laws against such, as well there should be, but expressing "dissent, frustration, or dissatisfaction" are the founding ideals of this nation, lest we forget: 
        "NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION"
        This is the very bastion of our American tradition at its best. Yes, there will be ire expressed, hyperbole, vitriol, but behind that, underneath that, there will be real valid grievances, and the mark of a good site, is the openness for opposing viewpoints, wherein discernment is forged by virtue of the dialectic. You say that you were on a "site" today that expressed anger, did you respond? Did you engage in discourse? Did you challenge their statements? Were your opposing viewpoints welcomed and respected? This is what makes dailykos great, or rather, the extent to which dkos adheres to these ideals is what makes it great. Now, is there room for improvement, of course, and to that end, it falls to each of us to moderate with fairness and an even hand, and this means, most importantly,

        1. Not applying abusive HR,
        1. Applying HR when someone is abusive, even when you happen to agree with that person.

        Civility and respect are paramount. Hypocricy will derail our effort here. All sites must strive for the most honorable and respectful debates, but the debates must be respected. Those sites that censor based upon personal bias are worthless in fostering an Awakened Electorate, Obama's primary most inluential constituency.

        ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

        by ArthurPoet on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:18:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)
    It seems like every diary Lakoff writes includes an empirical attack on norms of rationality.  Maybe he got a B in logic as an undergrad.  Certainly, he would get an F in philosophy today.  The criticism is that misguided. "People commit fallacies; therefor, committing fallacies equals reasoning."  Not a good argument.  This commits the psychologistic fallacy, which logicians and philosophers have long discussed.  It's not news that humans don't actually conform to rational norms.  Frege and Russell NEVER thought they were describing how people think when he developed mathematical logic.  Quite to the contrary, they explicitly denied it.  One of the fundamental goals of mathematical logic was to show how to fill out the gaps in proofs where mathematicians have been guided by leaps of intuition.

    This is actually really, really important.  The point is that rationality is a prescriptive ideal, not a descriptive account of human psychology.  And rational ideals, just as much as our moral ideals, are what guides a society's course.  Lakoff's psychologistic fallacy leads him to pit empirical science against rational ideals.  Reasoning well ought to be the goal of thinking, but Lakoff's account would have us say that however we think, that is reasoning.  So there can be no normative component.

    Here's why it is important.  If we simply acquiesce in our innate fallacies and biases politics no longer becomes a process of bringing society closer and closer to an ideal of justice.  It becomes a war of competing interests with competing "frames".  Argument yields to mere influence.  In my opinion, when this happens society is pushed very close to an edge where a clever manipulator can gain power through demagoguery.

    I may put my objection in Lakoff's own terms.  The normative ideal of Reason is itself a cornerstone frame of liberal democracy. There is a great deal written about this in the political and social philosophy literature (largely ignored by cog sci types) in seeking to understand what ideal of "public reasons" best guides a just society.  But, even if vaguely and undefined, the idea that public policy ought to be based on public reasons is an important social ideal that has guided liberal progress ever since (at least) the enlightenment that Lakoff derides.

    Ironically enough, Lakoff asks us to abandon that frame.  It is very, very, very important that we do not do so.  That's not to say that I don't agree that we need better communications strategies, just that Lakoff's hobbyhorse about "Reason" is dangerously misguided.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:01:28 PM PST

    •  be that as it may (0+ / 0-)

      you still don't get it.

      You can talk talk talk till the cows come home and you will be no more successful in gaining political power and being able to act on your political values.

      Lakoff has empirical evidence of how the brain works, how messaging works and why Republicans have been so successful at it and Democrats HAVE NOT. And the result is, Progressives got nothing done and you're all frustrated.  At some point you're going to have to consider that maybe there might be something to his ideas.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:01:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't even comment on all of his ideas... (0+ / 0-)

        let alone imply that there's nothing to any of them. He's got some good ideas and has done some nice research.  Having said that, I'm not so sure that Lakoff has the magic neuro-code to unlock the inner progressive in middle Americans.  That's a separate discussion though.  I was just trying to make one small critical point here.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:05:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with that (0+ / 0-)

          That for all of the power behind Lakoff's ideas he has yet to effectively influence progressives.  But I conclude that Dems are inoculated against these ideas by their own values.

          --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

          by chipoliwog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:27:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunster
    It seems like every diary Lakoff writes includes an empirical attack on norms of rationality.  Maybe he got a B in logic as an undergrad.  Certainly, he would get an F in philosophy today.  The criticism is that misguided. "People commit fallacies; therefor, committing fallacies equals reasoning."  Not a good argument.  This commits the psychologistic fallacy, which logicians and philosophers have long discussed.  It's not news that humans don't actually conform to rational norms.  Frege and Russell NEVER thought they were describing how people think when he developed mathematical logic.  Quite to the contrary, they explicitly denied it.  One of the fundamental goals of mathematical logic was to show how to fill out the gaps in proofs where mathematicians have been guided by leaps of intuition.

    This is actually really, really important.  The point is that rationality is a prescriptive ideal, not a descriptive account of human psychology.  And rational ideals, just as much as our moral ideals, are what guides a society's course.  Lakoff's psychologistic fallacy leads him to pit empirical science against rational ideals.  Reasoning well ought to be the goal of thinking, but Lakoff's account would have us say that however we think, that is reasoning.  So there can be no normative component.

    Here's why it is important.  If we simply acquiesce in our innate fallacies and biases politics no longer becomes a process of bringing society closer and closer to an ideal of justice.  It becomes a war of competing interests with competing "frames".  Argument yields to mere influence.  In my opinion, when this happens society is pushed very close to an edge where a clever manipulator can gain power through demagoguery.

    I may put my objection in Lakoff's own terms.  The normative ideal of Reason is itself a cornerstone frame of liberal democracy. There is a great deal written about this in the political and social philosophy literature (largely ignored by cog sci types) in seeking to understand what ideal of "public reasons" best guides a just society.  But, even if vaguely and undefined, the idea that public policy ought to be based on public reasons is an important social ideal that has guided liberal progress ever since (at least) the enlightenment that Lakoff derides.

    Ironically enough, Lakoff asks us to abandon that frame.  It is very, very, very important that we do not do so.  That's not to say that I don't agree that we need better communications strategies, just that Lakoff's hobbyhorse about "Reason" is dangerously misguided.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:01:46 PM PST

    •  You've missed his point- realistically, most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08

      people are NOT swayed by reason so you have to get their attention with an emotional, morality-based argument. Once you've gotten them listening to you sympathetically, THEN you can go all Harvard Professor on them. But not until.

      And by the way, if you think politics presently is "a process of bringing society closer and closer to an ideal of justice" you are in for a rude surprise. The "war of competing frames" is already upon us and the right, with their willingness to say whatever is to their short-term advantage, is winning.

      Lakoff is right to say that we must develop superior, easily conveyed moral arguments and flog them ceaselessly. The idea that public policy should be based on reason is one of the underpinnings of a moral society. But you cannot assume that reason will grab and hold the attention of a people who have been brainwashed by lies and fear. Lakoff has not abandoned a love of reason, but he is telling us to use moral messages when we make our arguments.

      •  Well. I think you've missed my point. (0+ / 0-)

        Oh well.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:45:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He doesn't attack NORMS of rationality. (0+ / 0-)

          He recognizes a truth that many of us are slow to admit (since we, hopefully, value rationality), which is that a rational APPROACH to people flies under their radar- "mere facts" are so often ignored when a more "catchy" emotional approach works.

          Yes, use facts and have a rational basis for your arguments- but start your argument with EMOTION or you have lost from the get-go. Base the emotion on MORAL VALUES and use different language than your opponent so that you OWN the language and dominate the ground of discourse.

          Lakoff does not deride enlightenment (you should talk to him some time!), but he recognizes that a good portion of what passes for "thinking" in most peoples' brains is in fact emotionally based and if you want to convince them, you first have to get their attention with an emotional appeal that appeals to their values. The GOP already uses this strategy very successfully but as Lakoff says, using framing for purely propagandistic purposes is wrong and he strongly advises against it. Look for the paragraph with these words: "Learn the difference between framing and spin/propaganda".

          (CAPS for emphasis)

          •  I don't disagree with this part: (0+ / 0-)

            "...a good portion of what passes for "thinking" in most peoples' brains is in fact emotionally based and if you want to convince them, you first have to get their attention with an emotional appeal that appeals to their values..."

            I'm pretty sympathetic to a lot of his ideas.  But I do think he's sloppy about the psychologictic fallacy and that that's ironic.

            Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

            by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:57:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The adulation of education and reason... (0+ / 0-)

        ...seem to be an essential element when most envision contemporary progressive utopias.

        And I don't see Lakoff suggesting we discard that element.

        What I see in a misguided academic turf war of little practical consequence.

        What precisely are you counseling? That we speak of logicians and philosophers having long discussions as the solution to what ails the bewildered herd?

        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

        by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:00:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Enterik

          I was just suggesting that Lakoff not conflate how people do think with how they ought to think.  Maybe I could have put that more succinctly.  I would certainly agree that we don't need academic turf wars.  That was hardly my point.  I really do think that normative ideals of reason are a fundamental frame for progressive political thought and that it's deeply ironic that Lakoff takes potshots at that frame.

          JMHO of course.

          Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

          by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:53:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Necessary but not sufficient... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            play jurist

            ...for the task at hand is the sense I took from Lakoff's potshot, which I suspect is calculated to jar those who believe the path to progressive success requires only an appeal to reason.

            It would seem we are in general agreement.

            (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

            by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:05:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're being too sensitive on this point (0+ / 0-)

      I would be surprised if anyone here thinks that Lakoff is suggesting we discard reason altogether, after all it is reason that has lead us to our progressive aims in the first place. It is reason that makes Lakoff's observations possible. I say logic and science, even cognitive science are on the side of reason and progressive intention. They are both tools we can use to build a better society just as ably as the regressives use them to tear it down.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:49:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think I am. (0+ / 0-)

        He pretty clearly conflates logic and psychology.  They are answering different questions, yet he plainly implies that the former is giving a false answer to the questions of psychology.  He repeatedly commits this fallacy.

        I don't disagree with anything you said.  If Lakoff had said what you did wouldn't have posted what I did.  

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:44:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You are falling right into Enlightenment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RainyDay

      rationality, thinking if we just explain the details well enough people will change their minds.

      Doesn't work.

      Ignoring Lakoff's framing argument is exactly what has led to big Democratic defeats. You can make your rejection as complicated-seeming as you want, but you miss a major point about the way people think. Republicans get it and are experts at it, which is why they can lie their heads off and still win elections

      •  I'm not "falling into" anything... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm quite confident that I'm sure of foot on these matters, thank you, and stepping exactly where I want to step.  You've completely misconstrued my reply.  Reread the last part of what I said.  In fact, reread all of what I said because I wasn't saying, at all, that the kind of work Lakoff does is unimportant.  I was making a specific criticism of a fallacy he plainly commits and commenting on the irony that by committing that very fallacy he forfeits one of the most important frames we have.  I'm sorry that seems complicated to you.  I'm not sure how else to put it.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:48:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why do you say that reasoning (0+ / 0-)

      "well ought to be the goal of thinking"? I tend to think reason is a tool, a way of thinking that is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

      Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

      by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:30:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How come their "no" works and ours doesn't? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CupofTea

    From your quote here (snipped for brevity; bolding is mine):

    Let’s start with an example, the slogan "No tax cuts for millionaires." First, "no." As I have repeatedly pointed out, negating a frame activates the frame in the brains of listeners, as when Christine O’Donnell said "I am not a witch" or Nixon said "I am not a crook." Putting "no" first activates the idea "Tax cuts for millionaires."

    ...snip...

    But the conservative message machine, over the past 30 years, has come to own the word "tax." They have changed its meaning to most Americans. They have been able to make "tax" mean "money the government takes out of the pockets of people who have earned it in order to give it to people who haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it." Thus, "tax relief" assumes that taxation is an affliction to be cured, and a "tax cut" is a good thing in general. Hence, conservatives make the argument, "No one should have their taxes raised."

    Democracy for America, still the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

    by boofdah on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:10:11 PM PST

    •  It does seem counterintuitive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      If "No tax cuts for millionaires" really triggers

      Tax cuts for millionaires

      Then "No one should have their taxes raised" should trigger

      One should have their taxes raised

      Perhaps what he's trying to say is that, for most people, "tax cuts" are good.  Who wouldn't want more money in each paycheck?  And "millionaire" means a successful person with lots of money, something many people aspire to as a goal.  

      Hence, "Tax cuts for millionaires" is a positive because it is composed of what is, for most people hearing it, positive messaging. In a sense, the positive nature of what follows "no" makes the sentence work against itself.

      Contrast that with "One should have their taxes raised."

      Who wants less money in their paycheck?  That's a negative for most people because greed is a basic human emotion that people feel viscerally (it's probably programmed into our so-called "lizard brain" as a survival mechanism).  Many people don't take the time to reflect on the harm that cutting taxes does to the needy or the government services/infrastructure.

      Hence, "One should have their taxes raised" is a negative because it is composed of what is, for most people hearing it, negative messaging. The negative message of what follows "no" reinforces the statement, rather than working against it as in "No tax cuts for millionaires."  

      In other words, both work for the Republican messaging and against the Democratic messaging.

      ...at least I think that's the point he was trying to make.

      •  Noone is a single word... (0+ / 0-)

        ...at least in the minds of this reader. In addition, it doesn't always works for them as in the O'Donnell and Nixon examples.

        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

        by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:32:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's another example or two (0+ / 0-)

        First, the name of his book "Don't Think of an Elephant" - it's impossible NOT to think of an elephant when someone says this.

        Try it out on kids. Next time you see little boys running around like little maniacs, yell "don't run" and see how many keep on going. THEN next time, say "freeze," and see what the compliance is.

        I had a hilarious time for myself trying this out.

    •  But it didn't work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      Christine O'Donnell says "I'm not a witch" and the witch meme keeps on going. Nixon says "I'm not a crook" and all hell breaks loose and he has to resign. It does work.

      Noone is one word, and the tax part of the meme is what is important.

      Try this: next time you see little kids running around like nuts, say "don't run" and see how many pay attention. Many won't. Next time say, "freeze!". I had so much fun trying this out. Kids will freeze. "Don't run" not so much.

  •  You are always a MUST READ. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, JTinDC

    Whether I agree with you or not, you are very well reasoned and provide food for thought.  

    Thank you.

  •  Very useful diary. The White House needs to sign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, JTinDC

    you up.  Their "communications" of projects, goals, and "victories" is sorely lacking.  

    We only hear of their successes when they're backed in a corner, defending their latest capitulation to the GOP.  

    Really, they ought to hire you, now!

    Next time I tell you someone from Texas should NOT be president of the United States, please pay attention. In Memory of Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

    by truebeliever on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:20:56 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this, Professor Lakeoff. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    You point out what is so obvious to so many yet so ignored by those who should most be paying attention. Please repost this on a daily basis.  

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:58:02 PM PST

  •  normally, i'm all for the frames you champion (0+ / 0-)

    but this is a class war situation, and not all polarization and division is contrary to left thinking, frames, what have you.

    the rich are robbing from us, period. that's the frame. it's not a nice liberal frame, but a harder left one, but that's what's happening, and saying it straight is the only way to bring the point across. the old robin hood prince john narrative, they steal from the poor to give to the rich, we're all poor now, and the poor need a champion.

    the problem with obama isn't that he doesn't understand the frames, it's that he sees the world in conservative ways, esp. on economics. he's batting for the other team on this.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:02:00 PM PST

  •  I believe what's more important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunster

    is to dispel a lot of the myths about capitalism; that it distributes incomes adequately, that people "earn" what they "make" (true only in part).  There is no question that income taxes redistribute wealth downward, that taxation is taking money away from some to fund programs for others.  So anyone with half a brain is going to laugh at the idea that tax breaks are "public theft."  What you have to somehow get people to understand is that capitalism is fundamentally flawed in certain ways, and point to what an utter nightmare it was before redistributive mechanisms (labor unions, minimum wages, progressive taxation, renters' rights) existed.  It was such a disaster that the vast majority of people who had to live under "free market" capitalism wanted to abolish it altogether.

    But of course Republicans are busy pushing the bizarre notion that there was a "race" between capitalism and socialism from the same starting point, and that "socialism" lost.  When the actual truth is that socialisms were invented precisely to try and alleviate all the horrible things that naked capitalism was doing to people.  Europeans and the Chinese know this better than we do because it's in their history books and their collective memories.

    Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest... Gibbon

    by Dinclusin on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:51:37 PM PST

    •  Most public figures seem economically illiterate (0+ / 0-)

      especially on the history of economic nostrums or they true extent of our native socialism. Sometimes peoples eyes bug out when I tell them the military is the largest socialist institution we have and the wars are this depressions WPA.

      The trick to educating the public is to do in a way that avoids the hypersensitivity reaction to communism/socialism.

      You might be surprised to find out that the wealthy/coprorate(sic) benefit at least three times as much from the function of government as do the entire middle class and below.

      Yes, the tax structure is nominally progressive but only when one doesn't consider the complex deduction code or capital gains.

      To have an enduring social safety net we need to have social security and minimum wage indexed to inflation.

      As we pump more money through the government and employers back into the workforce demand will increase on a dollar for dollar basis.

      We need strong government programs to ensure access to the necessities the market does not deliver reliably so that the suffering and costs of deprivation no longer weigh down our society.

      And guess what? when we do it will all trickle up to the source and when combined with labor, artifice and inspiration will enrich the nation as a whole.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:28:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Short version: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog, betson08

    Talk like Howard Dean.

    Hit the progressive points hard and clear and go on the offensive.

    It's not that difficult. That so few Democrats do it makes me doubt their commitment.

  •  Bring back “empathy” Did U Know? > (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, greengemini

    FACTOID
    I read recent studies of the current 20something's now - that they are the least "empathetic" by far of anyone (any generation) ever known. Now this is a real pleasant (snark) (ah scary) fact.

    2010 > Elect Rebecca Kaplan - Mayor of Oakland ------ Jerry Brown - CA Governor

    by AustinSF on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:03:10 PM PST

  •  KISS. Let's get behind ONE STRUCTURAL IDEA. (0+ / 0-)

    Read my diary (linked below) and tell me what you think.

  •  thanks so much again, George! please... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    keep it up! too many forget that there is intense linguistic alchemy behind all of these debates and that so much of the spectrum of publicly expressed political thought in the media is constructed to tug the debate in one or another direction of that spectrum. (i don't think dick armey believes half of what his support for the tea party winds up expressing...)

    "...and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring..."

    by another cascadian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:49:51 PM PST

  •  Thanks, George! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    One Nation, One Health Plan. Doctor and Nurse Recommended Single Payer Health Care for All! www.nurseconscience.blogspot.com

    by ludlow on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:59:51 PM PST

  •  Hi George, I agree, Fox News, News Corp has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    built an amazing communication machine which pushes all the wrong messages - ie it is your fundamental duty to be selfish.

    So this is what we are doing to try and get out a better message :
    A Progressive News service

    "You Still drilling for oil? Well good luck, I mean it. Idiot. Shine, Baby, Shine." JR Ewing

    by Unenergy on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:13:48 PM PST

  •  wealth restitution instead of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Enterik, FrankSpoke

    wealth redistribution.

    After all, all wealth is created on the backs of people, or stolen from them in the form of natural resource exploitation.  Conservatives seem to think that the wealth fairies simply visit their bank accounts and deposit manna from heaven, they never think of where their wealth is actually sourced and why it is critical to take good care of that source.

  •  Fascinating diary - thank you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    I'll be more conscious of framing from now on.

  •  Democrats' poor messaging (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    They aren't capable of a simple, clear message like:

    First we have to get people back to work.  Once everyone who needs a job has one, then we can start paying off the Reagan/Bush debt.

    Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity. -- Alvy Ray Smith

    by John Q on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:38:40 PM PST

  •  It ain't untellable, been telling it for 10yrs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RAST, chipoliwog, RainyDay, greengemini

    If conservatives succeed in cutting government by the people for the public good, our lives will still be governed, but now by corporations.

    That is why I'm no longer a Libertarian. I was, for decades. Then I quickly realized that, if we abolish that evil nasty big bad old government, then we'll be ruled by evil, nasty, big, bad old corporations. At least government has a moral resonsibility to us, and is supposed to be RUN by us-- it's our government: one person, one vote. Corporations and business are fundamentally amoral, dictatorial, anti-democratic organizations: one dollar, one vote. Not fair. Unamerican. I became a Democrat as soon as this became abundantly clear.

    Corporations have taken over our planet. They are the single biggest threat to humanity.

  •  Wage earners not wage burners (0+ / 0-)
  •  IF your ATTACK ain't Destroying Them, THEN your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    "attack" sucks and should be shitcanned.

    Kind of like how they sell stuff to us - keep working the memes until the memes work.

    funny how we all need doctorates to figure that out.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:34:38 PM PST

  •  I'll take issue with this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beijingbetty

    "

    Progressives differ on the reasons for the president’s behavior. Either he has no backbone to stand up for what he believes in, or his actions define his beliefs and he is more conservative than those who voted for him thought.

    "

    There is another plausible explanation.  His actions reflect a realistic assessment of where he stands with regard to  what he can get done given the tools and support he has available to him; both now and 4 weeks from now.  That may well be different than what he believes or would prefer.

    Democrats in Congress, especially the Senate have shown no capacity to go much further.  And its not just in Congress.

    That's not much fun but its true.

  •  not every argument is material... (0+ / 0-)

    to illustrate, tonight's Notebook entry from yours truly.

    Which also serves up some examples of some leading democrats who have gone over to the other side.

    2012: Holding fire . . .

    by papicek on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:22:41 PM PST

  •  was FDR a framing jedi knight? (0+ / 0-)

    i have no doubt he spoke the truth, but really, why did a nation back the programs put in place by FDR?  In my opinion, it wasn't framing, it was an event, and the event was the great depression.

    i do believe there is some utility in all this, but not much.   events shape history.  not framing strategies.

  •  In defense of Social Education Areas (0+ / 0-)

    In your review of Language and the Brain you came to the conclusion you wanted and built the text around it. Tsk Tsk Tsk,
    Being a Physicist I often look on political science, economics, law, and public policy with dismay. But, it is not that political science, economics, law, and public policy use a flawed logic or a dream of human enlightenment. The general problem is that the logic which is often based on statistics does not go far enough and does not consider systemic effects.

    Let us take the business of outsourcing work. The MBA recommends to his masters that outsourcing work to another country with lower wages will be good for the bottom line of the company. It clearly is but the calculation does not take into account all of the variables. It was shallow. Because the assumption was made and not included that the workers are a commodity which can be traded off for a bottom line. But when every company does this the workers have no jobs and cannot by the goods that the company makes so the end result for the company bottom line is bad. The calculation simply did not go far enough.

  •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Freedom doesn't mean avoiding your responsibility to your community.

    by NCJim on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 07:50:12 AM PST

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