Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lakoff "Frames" it Perfectly

Let's start with this part here. A brief look at the thought process of Representative-elect Heath Schuler, a Democrat from North Carolina, and why he won his race this fall.

[Link to HuffPo] What makes you a Democrat, Block asked. Schuler replied that it was what his parents and grandparents taught him: "A Democrat helps people that cannot help themselves." What about fiscal responsibility? Earmarks like bridges to nowhere are irresponsible, Schuler replied; instead we should be spending money on education, social security, universal health care, preserving the environment, and renewable energy.

In short, what Schuler really cares about, what he was running on, and what he got elected on were progressive policies -- even though he happened to hold some conservative positions that inoculated him in his district against charges of being "too liberal."

Schuler's "progressive policies" are in beautiful alignment with those that made Bill Clinton a landslide victor in his re-election bid, despite his decidedly non-Conservative personal social, hhmmm, proclivities. I don't foresee Mr Schuler, former NFL jock though he is, ever getting caught with his pants down, as it were. (Who knows. I just don't see it...) I can see him supporting legislation which DNC chairman Howard Dean has endorsed as both rational and politically viable in regards to the health and welfare of our nation's general populace, including those least able, ready or even willing to thrive in our modern global economy.

In short, Values voters may certainly differ tremendously on what they consider to be socially acceptable behavior vis-a-vie their personal lives, but Progressive politics means such differences are of very little practical importance when it comes to the operation and maintenance of our modern civilization.

To repeat the only mantra Slick Willie ever needed, the one which centrist (whatever the hekk that might actuall mean,) James Carville pounded into the ever amenable mind of both candidate and President Clinton: It's the Economy Stupid!

To "frame" an issue means to put it in context, and the best frames are those which accentuate the actual and very real nature of that which they surround. "Spin" is certainly an element of the frame but it is by no means even one of the most important functions. A beautiful frame can not make a Sunday morning comic miraculously become a Picasso. Displaying the portrait, the issue, the purpose of the take is what framing does best.

So, to the Centrists and the Leftists, to the all of those who would hold office in these United States, I say, whatever your choice of Frames, it's the Economy stupid! Believe what you will and behave in private as your own conscience recommends.

Whilst in Office for which the People have elected you, please try to live up to the values which you espoused, those which you used to frame your candidacy when selling yourself to the electorate.

2 comments:

  1. Your definition of "frame" is accurate, but it doesn't work in the real world. Liberals get screwed again and again in politics because they expect voters to understand proper definitions and respond rationally. To take just one example from the Bush Administration, they framed their obscene tax cuts for rich people as "tax relief." Bush himself repeated the phrase 1.6 million times, thus framing the debate, and the left found itself arguing against "relief," thus looking elitist and detached. Meanwhile in the real world, the tax cuts that I got don't even come close to the extra money I have to spend on gas for my car, while the oil industry enjoys record profits.

    Rove Republicans have poisoned the well, and you can't win any more without spin and careful (often misleading) framining, to make cartoons look like Picasso's.

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  2. I believe the American people are in the first stages of awakening to the basic truth about the reign of El Shrubbo-as in, take anything El Shrubbo or his minions might say, flip it 180 degrees, and come up with the truth.

    While it is good that we are catching on to the game run on us by the Commander in Chimp and his helpers in the Chimpromised MSM, I fear that soon enough even the most honest of politicians will no longer be listened to.

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