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Frame the Debate
Thursday, February 19, 2004
  Well there you have it. The Bushco, Inc. line regurgitated by a New York Times letter writer. The disconnect between the last two sentences is particularly striking.

To the Editor:

Re "Distorting the Intelligence" (editorial, Feb. 17):

We are missing the core of the issue around our involvement in Iraq. What weapons Saddam Hussein had or did not have at a moment in time is secondary to his intent.

A man who gassed his own people, launched a war on his neighbor and tried to develop a nuclear bomb should be viewed as a threat. We have all seen how a commercial jet can become a weapon of mass destruction.
PETER HALLERMAN
South Salem, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2004
 
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Saturday, February 07, 2004
  How do you spell tax relief?
If you're a progressive, you don't. You reframe it. George Lakoff tells you how in The American Prospect 9/01/03 issue.

Canadians to Bush: Hope you Lose, eh
"Shouldn't the leader of the free world know that "misunderestimate" isn't a word?" asks author Jonathon Gatehouse, introducing a poll indicating only 15 percent of Canadians would vote for Bush.

He adds, "There is a burgeoning cottage industry of writers and analysts exploring the underpinnings and fallout of (Bush's) new American 'imperialism'." Tell me about it. 
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Friday, February 06, 2004
  This TomDispatch is important as further proof of the bush-cheney administration's isolation from reality.-bh 
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Wednesday, February 04, 2004
  Response from Raulita:
bravo.

on framing the issues. YES YES YES. they will not listen. like my friend at the chamber here-she says being a repub is like a religion and she is right. given that --we have to start to speak to those who can be turned. some of them --WILL not turn. show them Jesus's corpse and they will still believe he resureected....ya know?(did you ever read Another Roadside Attraction by tom robbins?)

here is my question--why can the likes of lakeoff sit down with the dem leadership and nominee and start a serious I mean SERIOUS coordinated REFRAMING campaign. This reframing has to hammer hammer hammer just like the rethugs have done

frame frame frame
everybody everybody has to be on board
everyone on tv every pundit
get every pundit to repeat it

so for every
cutting taxes is good// propoganda speech
we have our own issues

end to crony capitalism
americans are tired of being lied to on false patriotism
americans are smart

dont like being lied to
taxes are patriotic
everyone pays their fair share

benedict arnold corps ---kerry has that one--we need about 100 of those issue framers
I dont know==I would have to think about it too

We cannot fight terrorism alone--
george bush wants go to it alone
have to build an international team
go it alone and we will FAIL just like Iraq
a quagmire

I am intrigued with the idea of working on some of these talking points and sending them on to the DLC and alterman and all the contacts we can find...........

on every issues
family values
taxes
health care
social security
environment

Is is worth contacting lakeoff?

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  George Lakoff, linguistics professor, UC Berkeley, and member of the progressive think tank, The Rockridge Institute:

"Within traditional liberalism you have a history of rational thought that
was born out of the Enlightenment: all meanings should be literal, and
everything should follow logically. So if you just tell people the facts,
that should be enough - the truth shall set you free. All people are fully
rational, so if you tell them the truth, they should reach the right
conclusions. That, of course, has been a disaster. For example, if you tell people that the tax cuts are overwhelmingly benefiting the richest 1 percent of Americans at the expense of a balanced
budget, liberals think people will naturally revolt against the measure.

"It never works. And liberals don't know why. They don't understand that
there's another frame involved."

TRANSLATION: THROWING FACTS AT PEOPLE DOESN'T CHANGE THEIR MINDS.

We must stop being so surprised, shocked and outraged at stuff like Bush being AWOL and the RNC (and media) successfully defending his record. Instead we must start thinking about how to respond to it, how to deal with it.

I apologize if I'm just sounding like a cranky old man, but I no longer
believe that finding and presentating facts is the way to engage in the
national discourse in any meaningful, issue-changing way. Don't get me
wrong. Facts are useful as accessories to the matter. We just can't pin our
arguments on them and expect to change anybody's mind.

I have become fixated instead on issue framing. Take the issue of Bush being
AWOL. First remember this: People don't just like Bush, they're big fans of
his. A Bush fan's "frame" is this: "Bush is a great president, protecting
America from terrorists, giving me relief from taxes," etc. Now tell this
fan that Bush was AWOL and he really just won't believe it. It doesn't fit
his frame of Bush as a hero, protector, etc. Show this person a fact to
prove the AWOL charge, like the record of Bush missing a medical exam, and
the response will be that you're just attacking the president because you're
a soft-on-terrorism liberal, etc. The RNC response that Bush made up for the
missed exam by taking it later becomes plausible because it fits the fan's
frame. In other words, the fan will not change his frame to fit the fact,
but vice versa: He will change the fact to fit his frame.

So then, it's better to change how the issue is framed. I haven't figured it
out completely yet, but one possibility is this: Make the issue that Bush
avoided Vietnam by using his Father's influence to gain entry into the
National Guard, which was a surefire way to avoid Vietnam.

But as Lakoff says in an article posted on www.rockridgeinstitute.org, it
will take every Democrat being on the same page of the framed issue to make
an impact. Conservatives have spent 30 years and tens of billions of dollars
to get to the point where they control the national debate, which is framed
almost exclusively in their terms.

Let's start doing this one person at a time. 
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  Day 1, post 1 of framing the debate to reclaim the dialog from the right wing. 
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"If you have been framed, the only response is to reframe. But you can't do it in a sound bite unless an appropriate progressive language has been built up in advance. Conservatives have worked for decades and spent billions on their think tanks to establish their frames."--George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

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