* also seen at Heartland Values
Sometime in early 2005, I found myself at a Borders bookstore, going through the
titles in the political section of their shelves, when I happened across a book
called “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.”
The book, released in September
2004, highlights how conservatives thinks and (supposedly) give the Democrats
and progressives the tools to re-frame the arguments to make them more appealing
to voters. The author, George Lakoff, has become an adviser to different members
to the Democrat Party, since the book release.
One might be inclined to
ask “What would possess someone to buy a book like that?” Well, as is done by
military leaders, it is wise to study the actions and ways of your
Democrats and progressives have come to the conclusion
that its not about what the issue is, but how you talk about it. They refer to
this concept as “framing”, and the book shows how to reframe Republican
I bring this up because you will see this “reframing” being
used extensively as the march to the 2006 mid-term elections proceeds. Lakoff
has held meetings with the Democrat leadership in 2005, and will probably do
more as the campaign season continues. If you look closely, you will see this
technique already being applied. Allow me to illustrate.
Abortion and Reproductive Rights League changed to being know to NARAL, and is
now referring to itself as Pro-Choice America. If an organization is completely
convinced that its mission is right, and that they are strong in their beliefs,
why change their name to one that is so wishy-washy? The answer: to soften their
image while at the same time diverting people’s attention away from what they
are truly advocating: abortion.
Another example, especially prevalent in
the last four years, as been to say that “I don’t support the Iraq war, but I
support the troops.” How does one make the separation? The troops are in Iraq
performing their duties at the behest of their Commander in Chief, President
What these Democrats and progressives are trying to show is that
they are not unpatriotic by saying “we support the troops.” What I call is
“smoke and mirrors.”
A third example would be what has come to be known
as “global warming.” But, the “global warming” angle is a little hard to sell to
people, especially when you have Central Park in New York sitting under at least
2 feet of snow at the moment.
So, the new slogan du jour is “global
climate change.” Ultimately, it means the same thing, but sounds less
apocalyptic and is presented as a term that is more easily acceptable. I am sure
there are more that I could mention (drawing a blank at the moment), but I’m
sure you get the general idea.
What the Democrats, liberals and
progressives(not mutually exclusive groups)fail to grasp is that the voters of
Florida and America want candidates to offer solutions, not some convoluted word
salad. Voters want candidates and elected officials to embrace ideas, not just
to play with words.
What Mr. Lakoff needs to be emphasizing to the
Democrats and his other progressive friends is to come up with a plan for
America, and worry less about how you talk about them.
Republicans will continue with our electoral victories.
In addition, I
will find better ways to spend the ten dollars that I wasted on this book. Its a
shame so many trees died to print this garbage.