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Berkeley, CA. February 24, 2009.

As President Obama prepares to address a joint session of Congress, what can we expect to hear?
The pundits will stress the nuts-and-bolts policy issues: the banking system, education, energy, health care. But beyond policy, there will be a vision of America—a moral vision and a view of unity that the pundits often miss.
What they miss is the Obama Code. For the sake of unity, the President tends to express his moral vision indirectly. Like other self-aware and highly articulate speakers, he connects with his audience using what cognitive scientists call the  “cognitive unconscious.” Speaking naturally, he lets his deepest ideas simply structure what he is saying. If you follow him, the deep ideas are communicated unconsciously and automatically. ” The Code is his most effective way to bring the country together around fundamental American values.
For supporters of the President, it is crucial to understand the Code in order to talk overtly about the old values our new president is communicating. It is necessary because tens of millions of Americans—both conservatives and progressives—don’t yet perceive the vital sea change that Obama is bringing about.

The word “code” can refer to a system of either communication or morality. President Obama has integrated the two. The Obama Code is both moral and linguistic at once.  The President is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral system. As he has said, budgets are moral documents. His economic program is tied to his moral system and is discussed in the Code, as are just about all of his other policies.
Behind the Obama Code are seven crucial intellectual moves that I believe are historically, practically, and cognitively appropriate, as well as politically astute. They are not all obvious, and jointly they may seem mysterious. That is why it is worth sorting them out one-by-one.

1. Values Over Programs

The first move is to distinguish programs from the value systems they represent. Every policy has a material aspect—the nuts and bolts of how it works— plus a typically implicit cognitive aspect that represents the values and ideas behind the nuts and bolts. The President knows the difference. He understands that those who see themselves as “progressive” or “conservative” all too often define those words in terms of programs rather than values. Even the programs championed by progressives may not fit what the President sees as the fundamental values of the country. He is seeking to align the programs of his administration with those values.
The potential pushback will come not just from conservatives who do not share his values, but just as much from progressives who make the mistake of thinking that programs are values and that progressivism is defined by a list of programs. When some of those programs are cut as economically secondary or as unessential, their defenders will inevitably see this as a conservative move rather than a move within an overall moral vision they share with the President.  
This separation between values and programs lies behind the president’s pledge to cut programs that don’t serve those values and support those that do — no matter whether they are proposed by Republicans or Democrats. The President’s idealistic question is, what policies serve what values? — not what political interests?

2. Progressive Values are American Values

President Obama’s second intellectual move concerns what the fundamental American values are. In Moral Politics, I described what I found to be the implicit, often unconscious, value systems behind progressive and conservative thought. Progressive thought rests, first, on the value of empathy—putting oneself in other people’s shoes, seeing the world through their eyes, and therefore caring about them.  The second principle is acting on that care, taking responsibility both for oneself and others, social as well as individual responsibility. The third is acting to make oneself, the country, and the world better—what Obama has called an “ethic of excellence” toward creating “a more perfect union” politically.
Historian Lynn Hunt, in Inventing Human Rights, has shown that those values, beginning with empathy, lie historically behind the human rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Obama, in various interviews and speeches, has provided the logical link. Empathy is not mere sympathy. Putting oneself in the shoes of others brings with it the responsibility to act on that empathy—to be “our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper”—and to act to improve ourselves, our country, and the world.  
The logic is simple: Empathy is why we have the values of freedom, fairness, and equality — for everyone, not just for certain individuals. If we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we will want them to be free and treated fairly. Empathy with all leads to equality: no one should be treated worse than anyone else. Empathy leads us to democracy: to avoid being subject indefinitely to the whims of an oppressive and unfair ruler, we need to be able to choose who governs us and we need a government of laws.
Obama has consistently maintained that what I, in my writings, have called “progressive” values are fundamental American values. From his perspective, he is not a progressive; he is just an American. That is a crucial intellectual move.
Those empathy-based moral values are the opposite of the conservative focus on individual responsibility without social responsibility. They make it intolerable to tolerate a president who is The Decider—who gets to decide without caring about or listening to anybody. Empathy-based values are opposed to the pure self-interest of a laissez-faire “free market,” which assumes that greed is good and that seeking self-interest will magically maximize everyone’s interests. They oppose a purely self-interested view of America in foreign policy. Obama’s foreign policy is empathy-based, concerned with people as well as states—with poverty, education, disease, water, the rights of women and children, ethnic cleansing, and so on around the world.
How are such values expressed? Take a look at the inaugural speech. Empathy: “the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child…” Responsibility to ourselves and others: “We have duties to ourselves, the nation, and the world.” The ethic of excellence: “there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of character, than giving our all to a difficult task.” They define our democracy: “This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed.”
The same values apply to foreign policy:  “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and make clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”  And to religion as well: By quoting language like “our brother’s keeper,” he is communicating that mere individual responsibility will not get you into Heaven, that social responsibility and making the world better is required.

3. Biconceptualism and the New Bipartisanship

The third crucial idea behind the Obama Code is biconceptualism, the knowledge that a great many people who identify themselves ideologically as conservatives, or politically as Republicans or Independents, share those fundamental American values—at least on certain issues. Most “conservatives” are not thoroughgoing movement conservatives, but are what I have called “partial progressives” sharing Obama’s American values on many issues. Where such folks agree with him on values, Obama tries, and will continue to try, to work with them on those issues if not others. And, he assumes, correctly believe, that the more they come to think in terms of those American values, the less they will think in terms of opposing conservative values.
Biconceptualism lay behind his invitation to Rick Warren to speak at the inaugural. Warren is a biconceptual, like many younger evangelicals. He shares Obama’s views of the environment, poverty, health, and social responsibility, though he is otherwise a conservative. Biconceptualism is behind his “courting” of Republican members of Congress. The idea is not to accept conservative moral views, but to find those issues where individual Republicans already share what he sees as fundamentally American values. He has “reached across the aisle” to Richard Luger on nuclear proliferation, but not on economics.
Biconceptualism is central to Obama’s attempts to achieve unity —a unity based on his understanding of American values.  The current economic failure gives him an opening to speak about the economy in terms of those ideals: caring about all, prosperity for all, responsibility for all by all, and good jobs for all who want to work.
I think Obama is correct about biconceptualism of this sort — at least where the overwhelming proportion of Americans is concerned. When the President spoke at the Lincoln Day dinner recently about sensible Midwestern Republicans, he meant biconceptual Republicans, who are progressive and/or pragmatic on many issues.  
But hardcore movement conservatives tend to be more ideological and less biconceptual than their constituents. In the recent stimulus vote, the hardcore movement conservatives kept party discipline (except for three Senate votes) by threatening to run opposition candidates against anyone who broke ranks. They were able to enforce this because the conservative message machine is strong in their districts and there is no nationwide progressive message machine operating in those districts. The effectiveness of the conservative message machine led to Obama making a rare mistake in communication, the mistake of saying out loud in Florida not to think of Rush Limbaugh, thus violating the first rule of framing and giving Rush Limbaugh even greater power.
Biconceptual, partly progressive, Republicans do exist in Congress, and the president is not going to give up on them. But as long as the conservative message machine can activate its values virtually unopposed in conservative districts, movement conservatives can continue to pressure biconceptual Republicans and keep them from voting their conscience on many issues. This is why a nationwide progressive message machine needs to be organized if the president is to achieve unity through biconceptualism.

4. Protection and Empowerment

The fourth idea behind the Obama Code is the President’s understanding of government—“not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.” This depends on what “works” means. The word sounds purely pragmatic, but it is moral in operation.
The idea is that government has twin moral missions: protection and empowerment. Protection includes not just military and police protection, but protections for the environment, consumers, workers, pensioners, disaster victims, and investors.
Empowerment is what his stimulus package is about: it includes education and other forms of infrastructure—roads, bridges, communications, energy supply, the banking system and stock market. The moral mission of government is simple: no one can earn a living in America or live an American life without protection and empowerment by the government. The stimulus package is basically an empowerment package. Taxes are what you pay for living in America, rather than in Congo or Bangladesh. And the more money you make from government protection and empowerment, the more you owe in return. Progressive taxation is a matter of moral accounting. Tax cuts for the middle class mean that the middle class hasn’t been getting as much as it has been contributing to the nation’s productivity for many years.
This view of government meshes with our national ideal of equality. There needs to be moral equality: equal protection and equal empowerment. We all deserve health care protection, retirement protection, worker protection, employment protection, protection of our civil liberties, and investment protection. Protection and empowerment. That’s what “works” means—“whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

5. Morality and Economics Fit Together

Crises are times of opportunity. Budgets are moral statements. President Obama has put these ideas together. His economic program is a moral program and conversely. Why the quartet of leading economic issues—education, energy, health, banking? Because they are at the heart of government’s moral mission of protection and empowerment, and correspondingly, they are what is needed to act on empathy, social and personal responsibility, and making the future better. The economic crisis is also an opportunity. It requires him to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the right things to do.

6.  Systemic Causation and Systemic Risk

Conservatives tend to think in terms of direct causation. The overwhelming moral value of individual, not social, responsibility requires that causation be local and direct. For each individual to be entirely responsible for the consequences of his or her actions, those actions must be the direct causes of those consequences. If systemic causation is real, then the most fundamental of conservative moral—and economic—values is fallacious.
Global ecology and global economics are prime examples of systemic causation. Global warming is fundamentally a system phenomenon. That is why the very idea threatens conservative thinking. And the global economic collapse is also systemic in nature. That is at the heart of the death of the conservative principle of the laissez-faire free market, where individual short-term self-interest was supposed to be natural, moral, and the best for everybody. The reality of systemic causation has left conservatism without any real ideas to address global warming and the global economic crisis.
With systemic causation goes systemic risk. The old rational actor model taught in economics and political science ignored systemic risk. Risk was seen as local and governed by direct causation, that is, buy short-term individual decisions. The investment banks acted on their own short-term risk, based on short-term assumptions, for example, that housing prices would continue to rise or that bundles of mortgages once secure for the short term would continue to be “secure” and could be traded as “securities.”
The systemic nature of ecological and economic causation and risk have resulted in the twin disasters of global warming and global economic breakdown. Both must be dealt with on a systematic, global, long-term basis. Regulating risk is global and long-term, and so what are required are world-wide institutions that carry out that regulation in systematic way and that monitor causation and risk systemically, not just locally.
President Obama understands this, though much of the country does not. Part of his challenge will be to formulate policies that carry out these ideas and to communicate these ideas as well as possible to the public.

7. Contested Concepts and Patriotic Language

As President, Barack Obama must speak in patriotic language. But all patriot language in this country is “contested.” Every major patriotic term has a core meaning that we all understand the same way. But that common core meaning is very limited in its application. Most uses of patriotic language are extended from the core on the basis of either conservative or progressive values to produce meanings that are often opposite from each other.
I’ve written a whole book, Whose Freedom?, on the word “freedom” as used by conservatives and progressives. In his second inaugural, George W. Bush used “freedom,” “free,” and “liberty” over and over—first, with its common meaning, then shifting to its conservative meaning: defending “freedom” as including domestic spying, torture and rendition, denial of habeus corpus, invading a country that posed no threat to us, a “free market” based on greed and short-term profits for the wealthy, denying sex education and access to women’s health facilities, denying health care to the poor, and leading to the killing and maiming of innocent civilians in Iraq by the hundreds of thousands, all in the name of “freedom.” It was anything but a progressive’s view of freedom—and anything but the view intended in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.
For forty years, from the late 1960’s through 2008, conservatives managed, through their extensive message machine, to reframe much of our political discourse to fit their worldview. President Obama is reclaiming our patriotic language after decades of conservative dominance, to fit what he has correctly seen as the ideals behind the founding of our country.
“Freedom” will no longer mean what George W. Bush meant by it. Guantanamo will be closed, torture outlawed, the market regulated. Obama’s inaugural address was filled with framings of patriotic concepts to fit those ideals.  Not just the concept of freedom, but also equality, prosperity, unity, security, interests, challenges, courage, purpose, loyalty, patriotism, virtue, character, and grace.  Look at these words in his inaugural address and you will see how Obama has situated their meaning within his view of fundamental American values: empathy, social and well as personal responsibility, improving yourself and your country. We can expect further reclaiming of patriotic language throughout his administration.
All this is what “change” means. In his policy proposals the President is trying to align his administration’s policies with the fundamental values of the Framers of our Constitution. In seeking “bipartisan” support, he is looking beyond political affiliations to those who share those values on particular issues. In his economic policy, he is realigning our economy with the moral missions of government: protection and empowerment for all.  

It’s Us, Not Just Him

The president is the best political communicator of our age. He has the bully pulpit. He gets media attention from the press. His website is running a permanent campaign, Organizing for Obama, run by his campaign manager David Plouffe. It seeks issue-by-issue support from his huge mailing list. There are plenty of progressive blogs. MoveOn.org now has over five million members.  And yet that is nowhere near enough.
The conservative message machine is huge and still going. There are dozens of conservative think tanks, many with very large communications budgets. The conservative leadership institutes are continuing to turn out thousands of trained conservative spokespeople every year. The conservative apparatus for language creation is still functioning. Conservative talking points are still going out to their network of spokespeople, who still being booked on tv and radio around the country. About 80% of the talking heads on tv are conservatives. Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are as strong as ever.  There are now progressive voices on MSNBC, Comedy Central, and Air America, but they are still overwhelmed by Right’s enormous megaphone.  Republicans in Congress can count on overwhelming message support in their home districts and homes states. That is one reason why they were able to stonewall on the President’s stimulus package. They had no serious media competition at home pounding out the Obama vision day after day.
Such national, day-by-day media competition is necessary. Democrats need to build it. Democratic think tanks are strong on policy and programs, but weak on values and vision.  Without the moral arguments based on the Obama values and vision, the policymakers most likely be unable to regularly address both independent voters and the Limbaugh-FoxNews audiences in conservative Republican strongholds.
The president and his administration cannot build such a communication system, nor can the Democrats in Congress. The DNC does not have the resources. It will be up to supporters of the Obama values, not just supporters on the issues, to put such a system in place.  Despite all the organizing strength of Obama supporters, no such organizing effort is now going on. If none is put together, the movement conservatives will face few challenges of fundamental values in their home constituencies and will be able to go on stonewalling with impunity.  That will make the president’s vision that much harder to carry out.
Summary
The Obama Code is based on seven deep, insightful, and subtle intellectual moves. What President Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the Framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country. In seeking “bipartisan” support, he is looking beyond political affiliations to those who share those values on particular issues. In his economic plan, he is attempting to realign our economy with the moral missions of government: protection and empowerment for all.
The president hasn’t fooled the radical ideological conservatives in Congress. They know progressive values when they see them — and they see them in their own colleagues and constituents too often for comfort. The radical conservatives are aware that this economic crisis threatens not only their political support, but the very underpinnings of conservative ideology itself. Nonetheless, their brains have not been changed by facts. Movement conservatives are not fading away. They think their conservative values are the real American values. They still have their message machine and they are going to make the most of it. The ratings for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are rising. Without a countervailing communications system on the Democratic side, they can create a lot of trouble, not just for the president, not just for the nation, but on a global scale, for the environmental and economic future of the world.

George Lakoff is 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 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:01 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the diary, George (227+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louise, JekyllnHyde, coral, Odysseus, CalifSherry, lobbygow, billlaurelMD, meg, jrod, Midwest Meg, x, ZAPatty, dpc, Delilah, SoCalJayhawk, highacidity, chuckvw, Geonomist, mkfarkus, chester, Ignacio Magaloni, skwimmer, poe, thingamabob, high uintas, CocoaLove, delphil, Eddie C, jdmorg, oldjohnbrown, madame defarge, cosette, On The Bus, never forget 2000, KayCeSF, NapaJulie, Alta Price, ganymeade, ebbinflo, ExStr8, historys mysteries, wmc418, blueyedace2, ChemBob, dj angst, EJP in Maine, LindaR, JoieDe, aaraujo, mozlover, sunbro, PinHole, The Raven, Data Monster, Rogneid, gazingoffsouthward, jct, kkjohnson, zozie, ThatBritGuy, Sister Havana, Mother Mags, Nance, 417els, Naranjadia, Gorette, buhdydharma, jpw, Wary, dennisl, cc in nm, Libby Shaw, Iranaqamuk, max stirner, Potus2020, Dinclusin, llbear, txdemfem, foxsmartchicago, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, means are the ends, NYPopulist, jjellin, Granny Doc, AllanTBG, tegrat, RagingGurrl, Dave the Rave, fabucat, dotsright, Loudoun County Dem, desertguy, moodyinsavannah, leema, linkage, yoduuuh do or do not, LillithMc, Duccio, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, suejazz, brjzn, walkingdeer, Seneca Doane, stratocasterman, jamesia, gatordem, Killer of Sacred Cows, Librarianmom, Rumarhazzit, keikekaze, trueblueliberal, TomP, fayeforcure, alkalinesky, ynp junkie, dotster, mobiusein, brklyngrl, rontun, debatablepolitics, elwior, Rick Winrod, Akonitum, jakebob, beltane, Happy Days, Lujane, pamelabrown, evora, Snarky McAngus, Jeff Y, mommaK, Hawkjt, nzanne, CeeusBeeus, Abe Frohman, mary13L, msdrown, palantir, wishbone, princess k, multilee, Stephen Daugherty, Fonsia, WSComn, ARS, Imavehmontah, RandomActsOfReason, pvlb, mrchumchum, mkor7, Mro, gchap33, another cascadian, mississippi boatrat, sillycilla, batgirl71, DClark4129, MooseHB, andrecole, stevenwag, notksanymore, Houston Gardener, sherijr, fernan47, EmmaKY, Bene Gesserit1, Leftcandid, susan in sc, Colorado Billy, Larsstephens, lompe, Lazar, Fairy Tale, ladygreenslippers, parse this, smileycreek, oohdoiloveyou, kcandm, Vacationland, robertacker13, publicv, Yumn, susanb2010, Indie Tarheel, karmacat, Ronald Singleterry, Melissa J, jennyL, elsibiades, ctlrick, Lady Libertine, Benintn, Anne933, DrFitz, aggregatescience, nickrud, addisnana, Otteray Scribe, Floande, USHomeopath, alexa100, anaxiamander, flymic, no way lack of brain, kktlaw, the dogs sockpuppet, atoilune, SkylarkingTomFoolery, cranquette, Jazzenterprises, nicethugbert, MaryinHammondsport, LousyDeemo, Coilette, ncarolinagirl, CoExistNow, Ebby, padeius, lovespaper, Wolf10, sjr1, dakinishir, MuskokaGord, Agnosticrat, psilocynic aka Nick Zouroudis

    Good stuff.

    :-)

    •  Excellent presentation, and well worth the (121+ / 0-)

      investment of time it took to read.

      I've long struggled with the challenge of countering the conservatives' domination of the media without identifying any "business model" that seems workable.

      One of the major obstacles is that progressives do not own media outlets. This, of course, has greatly constrained the growth of liberal talk radio, and certainly impacts the amount of face time liberals can gain either from "earned media" of the expectation of a "balanced media".

      For the past several weeks I've been engaging in conversations with a number of associates about the possibility of acquiring a number of AM radio stations across the country to create a "liberal network".  Yet even though a large number of stations are currently on the market, and prices are much lower than they were a couple of years ago, it still would require an enormous investment.

      And given the absence of available venture capital from progressive sources, along with the expectations of return on investment by venture capitalists, such an approach is daunting.

      I'd love to hear others ideas.

      "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

      by rontun on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:05:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  another idea (38+ / 0-)

        would just be to present some reality instead of stooping to the level of managed news.  The "progressive" personality doesn't really want "managed" news and dialogues the way conturdatives do.  I don't mean MSM "bipartisanship" either, just some honest reality.  If our ideas aren't that good a lot of us are willing to let them fail.  We're really about facing the future with creativity instead of fear. appeal to that.  We don't need an echo chamber like "they" have, we have to make the world a better place and we'll do that by facing reality insted of trying to control or spin it.

        •  I'm in your camp and probably a lot more. (55+ / 0-)

          If I have 6 mos. left to live, I want to know it in plain English.  

          I don't know who Obama is, what he means or what he will do, and I don't think Lakoff knows either.  Life (Obama) is a big Rorschach inkblot test, and I'm not playing.  

          My biggest concern about Obama is Geithner/Summers and his willingness to compromise with corporatists, insiders, and ignorant Republicans.  Where are we?

          Nowhere do I see, hear or read about justice for the people that got totally screwed in the orgy of the past 40 years.  What I hear is "forget it (move forward) and do your share".    Well, not me.

          Until Obama puts the crooks in DC and on WS in jail like everybody else would be, I don't want to hear about "my" sacrifices or compromises because I don't intend to make any.  When the double standards in this country get fixed, then come talk to be about equal, fair, and share.  Until then, it is all a lot of smoke, mirrors and spin for the great unwashed and business as usual for the corrupt power structure that rules this country.

          I want justice in America, imagine that.

          They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

          by dkmich on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:25:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Smoke and mirrors vs. justice (44+ / 0-)

            "Freedom" will no longer mean what George W. Bush meant by it. Guantanamo will be closed, torture outlawed, the market regulated. Obama’s inaugural address was filled with framings of patriotic concepts to fit those ideals.  Not just the concept of freedom, but also equality, prosperity, unity, security, interests, challenges, courage, purpose, loyalty, patriotism, virtue, character, and grace.  Look at these words in his inaugural address and you will see how Obama has situated their meaning within his view of fundamental American values: empathy, social and well as personal responsibility, improving yourself and your country. We can expect further reclaiming of patriotic language throughout his administration.

            Framing and reclaiming patriotic language and "subtle intellectual moves" alone will not, "align his administration’s policies with the fundamental values of the Framers of our Constitution."

            For that we need to reclaim the rule of law in this country.  Just moving forward with a new sense of personal and social responsibility isn't going to accomplish that.  

            We need the new administration to take their responsibility to defend our Constitution.  They need to take action with courage and purpose.  Until America clearly demonstrates that the crimes of the Bush Administration will not stand the acceptance of these crimes is the new truth that no amount of framing can hide or make right.

            We need investigation, prosecution, and incarceration for war-criminals.  Moving forward with better spin isn't going to fix anything.

            "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

            by Edgewater on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:48:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you been following the cuts to SS (38+ / 0-)

              on OpenLeft?

              Bush steals, tortures, and kills and gets a pension.  WS steals and gets million dollar bonuses and a salary cap of 500K.  Americans created and paid into SS for their parents, themselves, and children, and we get funding cuts?   Americans who sacrificed and saved for their old age get ripped off, and they get too bad so sad? How is that justice?  

              Smoke and mirrors and bull shit. Fuck them.

              They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

              by dkmich on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:18:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  once more into the breach, my chumps! The ONLY (9+ / 0-)

                effort I can deign to put forth is to get rid of the fucking political incompetents and fucking sell outs who claim to be on my side.

                I'll run into the breach for leaders who will give the speech outside the gates of harfluer, NOT for fucking sell outs.

                rmm.

                (p.s. I obviously do NOT support the literal threats from king harry - I support his concept of bipartisan-SHIT)

                Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
                Take pity of your town and of your people,
                Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
                Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
                O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
                Of heady murder, spoil and villany.
                If not, why, in a moment look to see
                The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
                Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
                Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
                And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls,
                Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
                Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
                Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
                At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
                What say you? will you yield, and this avoid,
                Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?

                Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

                by seabos84 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:19:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The "grand bargain", accepting a "grand bargain" (9+ / 0-)

                ...notion, this is and should be terrifying. Obama can be the world's best orator of all time and it doesn't matter because the go/no-go task is not a speech but a vote.

                He's allowed the man eating great white sharks into the tank with labor, nurses, and Sierra Club hikers into the pretense of breakout teams on CSPAN to kickstart commissions.

                If these are the breakout teams, the commissions will probably include starving, salivating lions and chubby  virgins in a stadium.  

                HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

                by kck on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:14:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  "Cuts to SS" is a big leap to take from that. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sebastianguy99, Larsstephens

                There may be other reasons to say Smoke and mirrors and bull shit. Fuck them.

                or it's OK to say it to those who want to cut it. (We also heard someone say it has to be raised for those at the lower earnings end of it at that meeting)

                But it is way too soon to be saying it if "them" is the administration.

                •  You may be right, but... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rhfactor

                  it is being reported discussed in the WS and by the AP and others.  OpenLeft has been following the discussion such as it is.  They say he cut a deal on SS for his stimulus.   It could be wrong, probably is, but after Bill Clinton, who knows.  HE did sell and sign NAFTA.

                  They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

                  by dkmich on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 02:44:36 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I agree Edgewater. So does Bill Moyers. See VIDEO (36+ / 0-)

              America's Policy on Bombing / Obama's Escalation in Afghanistan
              Fri, Jan 30, 2009 7:00 AM
              On the heels of the American drone attacks on suspected terrorist compounds in Pakistan, Bill Moyers Journal takes a closer look at America's history of and current policy on bombing, explores the ethics behind these assaults when civilians become the victims and asks: Does bombing work?  Bill Moyers sits down with historian Marilyn Young, author of the forthcoming Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth Century History and former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey, who developed military planes and helped found the military reform movement.  
              http://www-tc.pbs.org/...

              These standout programs Moyers runs weekly sail over the heads of citizens and academics alike. It is very hard to be optimistic about Obama when numerous experts believe his whole gameplan for change will be severely undermined by a coming quagmire in Pakistan... and a true potential unleashing of nuclear war from Pakistan.

              Why this stuff doesn't penentrate maintream is beyond me... but I wish Professor Lakoff would be more tuned in to these kinds of experts, and not just structural linguistics.

              We all hope for great things from Obama. But the criticism in these pieces says that because he has surrounded himself from people from the past, his advice in foreign policy has been deathly wrong, and could yank down his entire presidency. Worth at least a vew or listen.

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              by rhfactor on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:54:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't say it enough (25+ / 0-)

                Bill Moyers is a national treasure.

                As for Obama, I know (like so many of you do) that we elected the right candidate. No other candidate could have bested him thus far, or even meant to.

                But Obama needs to be very careful about making mistakes. Unfortunately, he inherited a country to lead that is in such dire straights that we just can't afford for him to falter in any significant way.

                It isn't just a linguistic instinct for Obama to split the difference, it's his basic temperament. And there are going to be times when that instinct could lead him to make the very worst decisions.

                If regarded as a strength and not a weakness, now that he's elected, Obama's instinct to split the difference will be responsible for allowing mission creep to broaden America's war into full aggression in Pakistan. It will countenance the preservation of Bush policies on detention, torture and secrecy.  It will keep America's constitutional balance out of alignment, and maintain a direct affront to democracy at home and abroad. And it may even lead to the preservation of dominant, corrupted capital market and finance sector over real economy concerns.

                However inadvertently these things may come to pass, it makes them no less damaging to us - and him.

                What is hope but expectation? 53% of American voters stood with Obama on election day and said, "Yes, we can do better."

                Embrace the rule of law, because without that principle notional America dies.

                Embrace the extremely judicious use of America's military, because its overuse directly threatens liberty and democracy at home.

                And embrace the economic welfare of the other 99% of Americans, because we need more than the hearts of free men and women to hold steady for the country we share - we need living wages and the opportunity to make good on our ingenuity too.

                I still think Obama could be a great president. And while his political opponents and the mainstream media rally around the urge to blame Obama's administration for everything that's gone wrong over the last ten to twenty years, maybe longer, I'm rooting for him to pull away and leave them in the dust. But I know that his greatness depends on his ability to embrace policies that do not shock the conscience and make the politics work - rather than the other way around.

                •  beautifully said (0+ / 0-)

                  ... Kimberley, that was so well articulated. Sorry I wasn't here in "real time" to say so. It's such a hard flow of emotions to freeze-frame and describe, but I DO hope he harnesses all that is great in his temperament, then temper it with much more diverse wisdom found outside of his "placate-the-right" coterie of advisors, and I hope, for everyone's sake, he grows with his Presidency.... and to do that will take some grace... Great men & women rise to roles of leadership, but a common characteristic amongst those who succeed at getting to the top wrung is some degree of narcissism. That's just a statement of fact nobody really can challenge. My biggest fear about Obama is that his degree if narcissism is quite high, perhaps a bit too high, which manifests as "I can succeed where others have failed before, by invoking a spirit of post-partisanship" and somehow this will enable a great coming-together, a lessening of destructive partisan politics, etc. It hasn't happened. There's an element of mythology to it, if not downright hubris. But be clear that what I am saying is these are the qualities that help one to defeat the foes who may be lesser-leaders, and rise to that position where he CAN govern using his philosophy. The issue at hand for me is -- will he learn QUICKLY when he sees that SOME of his desires of "post-partisanship" are just mirages, a result of thinking that to some extent he is just a tad bit smarter than all the others before him, and that HE really CAN bridge the cavernous divide and lead an effort of new collaboration...

                  I honor that thought, I even honor those efforts. But what I do not honor, and will never honor, is a continuance of policy pursuits born of a slight overextended reach to go beyond where man has gone before.

                  The ASPIRATION is great. But damnit LEARN quickly when, as it has sure as hell shown, that all that theatre to bring Lieberman with us, and honor McCain, and call upon the Republican chamber, and take them to Super Bowl Parties, and all that effort -- results in being slapped in the face by these very same people... then it's time for a strategy change, and, more important, some very SERIOUS INTROSPECTION that dares to ask: "Was I a little blinded by my own sense of certainty that I could bridge that gap?"

                  I'd like to think he has that wisdom inside him to come to terms with his own elements of hubris. AND IF HE DOES, and if he adjusts, while still aspiring to a post-partisan world, then not only will he earn my respect in these areas, but also and more importantly he may just navigate us through some of the most difficult waters our country has encountered.

                  /rhfactor

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                  by rhfactor on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 05:37:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Why doesn't empathy apply (7+ / 0-)

                equally to the prisoners in Gitmo and the thousands more in Bagram? I just can't fathom Obama's logic on this. I support his presidency, and I voted for him, but he's got a huge hole in his human rights thinking, and as a constitutional lawyer, he seems to be missing a big chunk of empathy on civil rights as well. Do you have any linguistic answers on this, Mr. Lakoff? I used to teach your stuff before I retired. Please show me you are not an apologist for splitting hairs.

                "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

                by martyc35 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:21:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Bernake vs "Chance the Gardner"... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rhfactor, Larsstephens, cgirard

                as Bernake whispers "Everythings gonna be allright" into the ears of the greedy bastards of Wall Street, the market rallied! Rallied, I tell you!

                Up from 71 to 7350! Gasp!

                Gimmie "Chance" any day.

            •  exactly. Thank you! ... (0+ / 0-)

              to Urizen, dkmich and Edgewater, I say, "Bravo!"

               Here's what I wrote elsewhere about this article by Professor Lakoff:

               

              "Having now read the entire piece you recommended, I find it reconfirms all my prior impressions of Lakoff's value as a theorician.

                "I'd propose his essay to any and all interested readers as constituting a very useful test of one's critical faculties.  If, in reading the essay, you don't find at practically every turn conceptual confusions, faulty & untenable analogies and erroneously posed premises and conclusions which don't follow them, then you should be very alarmed about the state of your critical faculties; for not spotting the faults described above is what amounts to sound evidence that those critical faculties are simply not in good working order."

               

                That's the polite version of my view of it.  In plainer everyday language, addressed to "Mr. or Mrs. Everyman", I'd have said that this article bespeaks of a hack's reasoning, a gibberish-filled piece of junk reasoning of the sort I now associate with still very commonly-found descendants of "New Age" California-Think--a version of that sort of prententious but devoid of valid substance reasoning--- what some better social critics of earlier generations (such as H.L. Mencken) would have described as "bunkum".

                Prof. Lakoff is a talented packager and purveyor of what ought to be glaringly apparent as nonsense.  He is the illusion of "all sparkle" and no "sparkle".

              "All life is problem-solving." (book title) --Karl Popper

              by proximity1 on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 07:36:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  you're making the sacrifice, dkmich. (14+ / 0-)

            i'm assuming you put in time, self, and maybe money for progressive causes ... right?

            you could've dedicated your whole life to exploiting that "orgy of the last 40 years" to extract wealth from others and hoard it for yourself ... but you didn't, right?

            ****

            but i guess your dissatisfaction with words and too much compromise, your drive for "justice in America," is part of your sacrifice.

            ****

            yours is not the only way, carrots and sticks y'know, but it's complementary, not opposed, to inviting the biconceptual-metropartisans over for cake and kool-aid.

            ****

            part of your sacrifice is to suffer conciliatory crap like what i just wrote; part of my sacrifice is to "suffer" your call to push harder.

            ****

            kumbaya.

            "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

            by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:22:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you missed my point, maybe not. (22+ / 0-)

              I have sacrificed my entire life.  I saved when I could have spent.  I worked when I could have loafed, and I cared when it would have been easier to not.  I have paid my dues and my fair share; and I'm not going to carry water for some asshole who purposely did not.  

              Push harder?  What is your point?  I am so sorry I killed your kid in Iraq, stole your life savings, bankrupted the country, and destroyed your children's futures; but please, don't be petty and just move on?

              They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

              by dkmich on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:25:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  maybe i'm totally missing something. (9+ / 0-)

                like a blind spot so i'm not even seeing the hole where that something belongs.

                What I'm getting (i think) is that people have been screwed, it's got to stop, the people who did the screwing aren't inclined to stop, you really don't want to hear progressives compromising ... and you really don't want to be told to shut up, focus on the future, triangulate, sell out, be patient, etc. because that kind of talk has been exploited by the screwers to carry on.

                when you say "this isn't good enough," that's a call for some people to push harder (for what's right).  obama needs to push harder on ____.  obama supporters need to push harder on _____.  progressives, democrats need to push harder on ____.  i think you're saying that sometimes we fail not because there's something wrong with progressive ideas/policies but because some of us aim too low or at the wrong people.

                (correct me if i'm wrong, please)

                ****

                i'm just saying that while i agree with much of what Lakoff thinks and what Obama says/does, there are problems and risks with playing that game and your comments really call attention to that.  we would be foolish to dismiss what you're saying.

                "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

                by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:24:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, you got my point. (26+ / 0-)

                  While Madoff sits in his 700 million dollar penthouse under house arrest, others sit in jails with hardened criminals for selling pot, the only economy some people even have.  

                  The injustice and corruption in this country is sickening, and I'm tired of being lectured and told I have to pay to fix what I didn't break, create or vote for.  99% of the people in Washington, including Obama, were at the helm for all of this.  

                  If our country is so broke, where is their freaking sacrifice?  Christ, Obama just served $80 a bottle wine at his WH dinner.   Do you see them taking pay cuts or giving up health care and pension like they forced on to the UAW?  How can they say they support the EFCA when they just punished the UAW for having accomplished what they "say" EFCA will do to help Americans.

                  Obama is getting cut way too much slack as are the rest of the Democrats.  The longer they've been in DC, the guiltier they are.   At best, they sat on their elitist asses while we and our country got sacked.

                  I really don't understand why more people are more pissed.

                  They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

                  by dkmich on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:41:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Pissed (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gorette, linkage, Larsstephens, jennyL

                    does not begin to describe the debts of my anger towards Bush and the Republicans.

                    And, short of a revolution, the rich will stay rich.  Its the way power is and always has been.  And I don't want no revolution.

                    So what's your solution?

                    •  Why do you limit it to Bush & Republicans? (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rhfactor, jakebob, cgirard, thethinveil

                      Schumer was there.  Levin was there.  They were all there. Republicans and Democrats both take their bases for granted because "we have no place else to go", and we don't.  We are as likely to join forces as pigs are to fly.  We really need to drop the Dems on their asses and teach them they need to watch their backs.  Instead, we fund raise, GOTV, and vote for them because we can't stand the idea of Bush or McCain.  We really need to let them lose because we do no matter who wins.  

                      They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

                      by dkmich on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:06:00 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Because there is a difference (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        aitchdee, jakebob, get the red out

                        Because there is a difference.

                        Because elections matter

                        Because Gore would have been different than Bush, and the election of 2000 counted.  Because Naderites suck, and suck Big Time.  

                        If you do not think so, you are on the wrong site.

                        This site is for putting better Democrats into power.

                        •  Then that should begin by dumping Schumer (0+ / 0-)

                          So put your money where your mouth is. dkmich is absolutely right. There are very few Dems who step up to the plate and do the right thing, or even take the liberal/progressive agenda seriously. Speeches yes. Legislation construction, no.

                          Until the better challengers arrive, sure, we must re-elect pussy Dems. But upon first arrival of legitimate progressive challengers, it would be the duty of speechifiers on this site to throw out the faux Dems like Schumer.

                          --
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                          by rhfactor on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 06:24:57 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  The opiate of the masses (12+ / 0-)

                    Now takes many forms.  Television, video games, two parents working too hard and worrying too much about how to get through this one day.  

                    Media ownership is the root of the problem.  It isn't the people's fault that every idiotic detail of every idiotic minute of Anna Nicole's life is researchable, documented, fodder for a life of study.  It is not the people's fault that no one knows about the continuing atrocities in the Marianas islands in our name.  

                    The notion that the "public good" must have equal status with "profits" originated in the public ownership of the airwaves, which is rapidly slipping into ownership by a few plutocratic mega-corporations.  We must return to the standard of the "public good" - not only in those organizations that own real information, but for all American businesses.  

                    You're right - it isn't just the framing.  But framing can help enormously.  When we get to our national discussion about individual and personal responsibility - let's expand it to financial market responsibility, to media responsibility, to corporate responsibility.  All of those entities will not begin to change until they share some of the national suffering.  

                  •  i.e. shoot them all. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dkmich, Larsstephens, cgirard

                    I agree - the system is fundamentally broken. When it broke, I'm not sure. I would argue WWII and the Cold War had a lot to do with it. Our political institutions - like the Senate - are hideous holdovers from a more reactionary age. I don't know what the solution is.

                    Because the alternative to 'working inside the system' doesn't seem terribly great either.

                    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

                    by Benito on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:38:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I think what he's saying is that the system (11+ / 0-)

                  is corrupt and until we have a leader who really goes after the corruption, really takes on the undo (and sometimes criminally deployed) influence by what appears to be a plutocracy -- bipartisanship be damned -- then no more from him. And me as well.

                  The willingness (or cowardliness) not to do the right thing -- to use the power of government to crush the stranglehold some very few have over the prosperity of our nation -- for the sake of unity, for the sake of maintaining the status quo, for the mistake of thinking the system works but is just a little askew right now, is to condemn 80% of the population to a class of servitude with diminishing returns in the form of quality of life and in the pursuit of happiness - for our present, for our future and for our children's future.

                  ENOUGH with the kowtowing by OUR government to the ruling elite.

                  I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                  by Pescadero Bill on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:52:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You are not that stupid. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aitchdee

                dkmich, don't pretend you are that stupid.  Your frame is an invitation for your own failure.

                The emotional pitch you use is purely meant to be hyperbolic and does not address specifics or suggest action. Not genuine and clearly impotent.  If you really want to address past crimes, you would address the diarist's points.  But by channeling attention towards your specific grievances, you defeat any constructive means to your ends.

              •  chicago jeff TOTALLY missed your point (0+ / 0-)

                and once again got terrified of justice-based language, as though by its very definition it meant "anti-hope".

                What is with these progressives who can't seem to reconcile these ideas are not mutually exclusive. It seems to me a six-year-old could understand this concept.

                I got what you meant dkmich -- and you are right. Why should progressive citizens who've played by the rules have to now suffer in proxy for the sins of Wall Street greed merchants. And why can't someone explain to me why it's seemingly too late to arrest those whom we bailed out for criminal acts of misuse of these loans from those same American citizens who've played by the rules?

                All anybody of conscience wants to see is SOME enforcement of the rule of law. That alone is slight reward for playing by the rules, following the law. Supposedly we have another rule in this country called "Double Jeopardy". Why should we pay for a crime we didn't commit, then be tried again for that same crime we didn't commit? How bout some basic handcuffs, jail, arraignments, bail, trial by jury, and go from there?

                If it's good enough for Compton, it's good enough for Wall Street.

                I'm not the least bit interested in cry-baby liberals chastising other liberals who objects to the get out of jail cards being hurled out of airplanes above by the ton.

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                by rhfactor on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 06:19:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I believe that is what's missing for the values (5+ / 0-)

            talk to connect with people.

            That's why the conservatives smoked us so bad over the last 35 years, their values matched their actions (public/political and not personal) and their policy.

            I am in your boat dk, and I think that many Michiganders are also in our boat.

            The only problem is without that proven justice, guess who's fault it is.... GRANHOLM!

            And for those of you that don't know, GRANHOLM is short for Big Government here.

            It's all we know.

            The fact that those corporate and political criminals that have destroyed our country are not only still free, but still robbing and extorting us only makes the GRANHOLM meme more powerful.

            Totally agree, dk.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:44:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I want justice in America, imagine that. (0+ / 0-)

            dkmich, i hear you loud & clear... I was absent yesterday in time to rec your comment above, so this is just a thank you for expressing something diametrically opposed to bullshit.  Indeed, justice, imagine that.

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            by rhfactor on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 06:03:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but "honest reality" doesn't seem possible (8+ / 0-)

          within most of the pro-GOP media we now have. Even Keith and Rachel have to constantly correct the wrongs of GOPers rather than just present reality, discuss merits of policies, etc.

          I would love a place where all that counter-attack wasn't necessary, where I could hear progressives talk about merits of different proposals without worrying about what the opposition says. There is so much that could be done to educate the public about the situation we are in which today is not done, except for little bits here and there.

          I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. - John Cole

          by Gorette on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:50:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They have to operate within the corporate (6+ / 0-)

            frame, not to dispel the lies, but because they are on the corporate airwaves.

            That's why Thom Hartmann could never be on corporate TV. His views exist outside of the corporate media frame and are not available for airing except as cherry picked ridicule.

            That place you'd love can not exist in the corporate media. It's an anathema to the corporate agenda.

            All you have to do is turn your TV, NPR and Air America off and read Mother Jones or the Progressive.

            We should be creating our own media, multimedia online, and kudos to those that have done it, but we need more.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:38:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Obama is not just speaking to you or me (8+ / 0-)

          and does not only represent you or me.

          He is speaking to all Americans, representing all Americans.

          That is reality.

          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

          by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:45:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  ....present some reality.... (0+ / 0-)

          like Obama's saying that we've spent the last umpteen years fighting a war but we've never put the cost of it in our budget.

          Like the truth he speaks on our continued dependence on oil and on a broken health system when we knew they needed desperately to be fixed.

          Like his continued warnings to political leaders...including those in his own party, that there is a huge risk if we create these giant spending bills and soon thereafter find ourselves awash in a sea of opposition fingers pointing at massive waste and corruption (regardless of the fact that many of those fingers ought be be pointing at themselves for their actions and lack of them over the past eight years.)

          People are HUNGRY for the truth.   You often hear people marveling that their President now speaks in complete sentences.

          And you also see in the polls tonight that they reward people they know are speaking the truth, and punish those who both lie and have not a clue about how to deal with the mess they left us.  

          If the strongest weapon in the GOP's rhetorical arsenal right now is Bobby Jindal, then the GOP is in massive trouble.  PS....the GOP is in massive trouble.

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:08:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  One way (31+ / 0-)

        Communication companies such as Clear Channel and Charter Communications took on too much debt to grow--they are collapsing under the burden [Charter has already filed]--the best way would be to buy Clear Channel's debt for pennies on the $$ [the bank holding the debt would be happy to get rid of it]and foreclose on the company and get their assets.

        If we can get support from Move-On, Soros, Green and raise money through Act Blue, maybe we could swing it. Podesta can provide content.

        We MUST compete otherwise we lose

        •  What would you do about the advertisers? (6+ / 0-)

          Owning media outlets is only part of it. It's the advertisers that call the shots. Air America failed because advertisers actively boycotted them. Newspaper and TV know better then to run stories critical of of their advertisers.

          So even if progressives acquired media they would find out very quickly who their boss really is.

          There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain. - R.D. Laing

          by brenda on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:26:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Provocative Operation - there is no boss. (7+ / 0-)

            Go...

            Smaller ads.
            Mom and Pop.
            Regional and local ad initiatives.

            No advertising.

            Provocative Operation - there is no box

            No TV - internet.
            Pamphleteering.
            Blogging.
            Community Groups.
            Turn off the TV campaign

            The corporate Agenda cannot be coopted from within. It's a million Davids v 100,000 goliaths. It's a massacre.

            An Human Agenda must be promoted outside the corporate media.

            Also, progressives must accept, understand and turn our guns on the Corporate Agenda, not Michael Moore, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky.

            It's embarrassing how easy we are to defeat.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:57:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Aren't there any advertisers who would (0+ / 0-)

            buy space on a progressive station?  Surely they would know how well it would be listened to - by progressives with open minds and by republicans just so they can argue . . .

            Talk to the msnbc advertisers for a start, and then talk to the business owners who are networked on this site . . .

            Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle -8.12, -5.18

            by ncarolinagirl on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:45:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  great idea . . . how to make it happen? n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle -8.12, -5.18

          by ncarolinagirl on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:42:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (13+ / 0-)

        Extremely well done.

        Okay, the guy teaches at Berkeley so it should be good...but then again, John Yoo teaches at Berkeley so there's no guarantee of excellence, or apparently, even sanity at that fine educational institution. Oy.

        Glad there's Lakoff to balance things out.

        Well done piece and I will be keeping it in mind tonight as I watch.  Thank you Professor Lakoff!

        Subverting the dominant paradigm every chance I get. And I get a lot of chances.

        by Casey Morris on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:37:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  George Soros.... (5+ / 0-)

        where are you?

        Molly Ivins: "Raise hell and have some fun..." DK kwickick/Matthew rip 2/1/09: "Fight until we win. Fight until there are jobs and healthcare and peace."

        by cc in nm on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:10:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  A brilliant linguistic explanation for why so (5+ / 0-)

        many people (including myself) fall in love with President Obama when they hear him speak.  He can get to the crux of a problem so fast and his words, while rational and well-considered, go straight to the heart.

        And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

        by pekkla on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:53:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Genius, wonderful, brilliant... (0+ / 0-)

        Articulates what I have been feeling ever since I heard Obama first speak.  The genius of the man is stunning.  I truly have hope.

        Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle -8.12, -5.18

        by ncarolinagirl on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:41:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Do you always read it in code?" (16+ / 0-)

      "...there's way too much information in the Obama... you get used to it... when I look at it, I just see blond, brunette, redhead..."   ; )

      Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

      by Dood Abides on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:29:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree George thanks (15+ / 0-)

      Since we haven't had a president who even knew the English language, we all have to learn to LISTEN carefully to someone as articulate as President Obama. I also appreciate helping us desensitize from the media's blabbering about what they think we should believe.
      This diary is extremely  helpful to all of us.

      Everyone chill the fuck out. I got this! President Obama

      by desnyder on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:40:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  meh (6+ / 0-)

        please use caution with anyone's spin. My daughter is in Lakoff's class at Berkeley & says he bastardizes other's words often, until they are unrecognizable as their original words. Not saying this is the case here- George raises some good points worthy of examination- but they are not without an agenda.

        •  Spin? (9+ / 0-)
          Framing is not spin. The short answer about framing and spin is that spin is meant to put bad situations in a better light, to cover your ass.

          Spin: The hookers were there for a SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT, I swear.

          Framing: It's not a "liberation", it's an occupation.

          Do you see the difference? Lakoff puts a lot of work out there for you to study, and the statement that he bastardizes words doesn't ring true.

          So the challenge to you, and your daughter, is to give some examples. Come up with an example of Lakoff "bastardizing" words for discussion here.

          •  no, I don't see a difference (4+ / 0-)

            your definitions of spin and framing seem pretty synonymous, they're both used to redefine original content. Just because George Lakoff "puts a lot of work out there" doesn't make his work unexaminable. I have no examples to give, as it is my daughter who is the linguist, and I'm proud that she is able to discern academic posturing. Again, I'm not saying that George's piece here is not worthy of contemplation- merely to do so with a healthy degree of objectivity.

            •  I see an enormous difference (6+ / 0-)

              Spin can be lies to obfuscate and deceive.

              Framing captures reality--at least from the framer's perspective--in order to illuminate and clarify.

              Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

              by Happy Days on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:18:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Framing (0+ / 0-)

              is a large, vibrant theoretical literature in mass comm and political science.  It's tangentially related to "spin," but it's a much richer concept.  Unfortunately, Lakoff's version of it is would be all but unrecognizable by those who study the concept, so I understand your point entirely regarding his use of it.

              The moral arc of the universe just had one hell of a bend.

              by cardinal on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:29:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You are being obtuse in not seeing the difference (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage

              please tell me you are?

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:59:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Spin (5+ / 0-)

              Is spraying perfume on a skunk. You know you're trying to sell someone crap, and you just want to make it sound good.

              Framing is using language effectively by taking advantage of the mind's built-in short-cuts for understanding complex concepts.

              People can use framing in spin, but they also use framing to tell the truth.

              An example:

              "We've been ignoring the issue of torture."

              vs

              "We've turned our backs on the victims of torture."

              In the second, you understand not only that we've ignored torture, but you also intuitively understand that it is immoral (cultural norm re: turning your back) to do so, and why (because real people are harmed).

              Hey guys! There's a word for bad assets, they're called liabilities!

              by mataliandy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:54:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Lakoff is the new phrenology - eom (0+ / 0-)

          There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain. - R.D. Laing

          by brenda on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:28:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting insight (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          John Driscoll, linkage, Larsstephens

          about his class.  As a political scientist, I find his popular writings to be watered down, imprecise, repackaged versions of long-standing political science, social psychology, and mass comm theories.  On the other hand, he's doing a lot more than I am for progressive causes, so my critique is merely academic.

          The moral arc of the universe just had one hell of a bend.

          by cardinal on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:27:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  excuse me? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          John Driscoll, Larsstephens

          The "agenda" he is expressing here is OUR agenda? wtf are you talking about?

          Molly Ivins: "Raise hell and have some fun..." DK kwickick/Matthew rip 2/1/09: "Fight until we win. Fight until there are jobs and healthcare and peace."

          by cc in nm on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:12:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The battle of values (26+ / 0-)
      I agree fully that Barack Obama is trying to reclaim traditional American values in the progressive mainstream from decades of conservative reinterpretation.  He's very skilled at this, and if anyone can do it he can.

      But conservatives will not give up their values without a fight.  They will keep pulling those Overton windows to the right, as we've seen with their ongoing futile battles for tax cuts for the rich and reduced domestic spending in a deep recession.  The media will continue helping, as they shift blame for our economic woes from the Republicans to Obama himself.  That process is already proceeding.

      Obama needs to not only present a positive vision of progressive values and how they shape his governing philosophy, he needs to fight back against failed conservative values.  He must learn to be fearless in calling out the advocates of failure and disaster, and make their nostrums politically untenable.

      Republicans will not change until they're forced to change.  The extremists will have to learn that extremism is a one-way ticket to political oblivion, and until they do Republicans will continue to be trapped in the extremist corner they've painted themselves into.  Along with everything else he must do, President Obama has to rescue the Republican party from itself, for the country's sake.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:18:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But Dallasdoc... (25+ / 0-)

        personally I don't care whether or not the conservatives give up their values: they can keep believing in personal greed and privatized graft and a hierarchical system of privilege as the only way to measure and appreciate success; what I care about is that those values they espouse are exposed for what they are and that they drop the claim that they are authentically American values, authentically Christian values, authentically compassionate values.  They can believe whatever they want, what they can't do is claim their values for the rest of us, as they have done since the late 1960's.  

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:37:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He needs to be the leader of the orchestra. We (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Debs2, linkage, Happy Days, LeanneB

        need to be the chorus and the rest of the orchestra,and taking his lead fight back as hard as we can and as repetitively.

        Far too often we sound like a jazz band, improvisational, fragmented, discordant cacophany of sound signifying nothing, lost in the maelstrom of noise.

        It is the old problem i guess, of Democrats inordinately proud of the fact that they don't follow orders but mill around like uncontrollable sheep looking for the shepherd's dog to herd them.

        We praise ourselves for this as a virtue, too often it is our vice and will be our downfall.

      •  The Republicans Will Not Change Until They... (4+ / 0-)

        ...Force themselves to change.  To do that, we must shift the conversation.  Lakoff's point is that Obama's subtly or openly doing a great deal to shift the conversation.

        What the Republicans did successfully during their time of rise and greatest power was to redefine the terms under which the conversation could be had.  We fell right into their arrangement of the framing, and spent years arguing with the GOP on terms that favored their side, their ideas.

        Go back to that session President Obama had with the House Democrats, where he set the record straight on the stimulus.  Look at the way he defended the stimulus package: a stimulus package IS a spending bill.  He made clear what the purpose of the spending was.  Where the Republicans were making silly arguments, he challenged them.

        Here's the thing: to the extent we can take back the rhetorical high ground, we can take back the political initiative.  The Republicans are congratulating themselves on how united they are.  They can do that, for all I care, if what we're doing is making sure most Americans support our positions, and not their.  They can join each other in obscurity and minority.

        And then the Republicans that have some good sense, like Crist and Schwarzennegger, will act to buck this trend, to look like the reasonable folks in their party.  Consider what happened with the Democrats as Reagan and Gingrich's revolutions took over, and then consider that if we go Obama's way with this, we could end up putting them in the position that we were once in, with moderates dominating the party and operating in resignation to the public's preference for the other party.

        Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

        by Stephen Daugherty on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:05:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm going to focus on Conscience (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Happy Days, Larsstephens

      when writing on local blogs and talking to local gopers

      That in itself should make them stop and think about their own conscience.  If it doesn't I'll then start talking about "what would jesus do" in talkinga bout my neighbors and fellow Americans.

    •  I called George and told him of the community's (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, linkage, Larsstephens, princesspat

      tremendously generous response. He's teaching all day, thanks you all and will log in to read your comments after the State of the Union speech tonight.

      CS goes back to reading comments.

    •  A brilliant, insightful diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ncarolinagirl, princesspat

      The question is, how do we develop a megaphone that uses the Obama Code to keep our country moving in the correct direction?

    •  this gets at a continuous argument (0+ / 0-)

      I have been having with several kossaks. Never able to articulate it so well.

      We need to drop the ideological checklists and focus on core values...

      in general only partisans care about the position/program checklist anyway, the larger voting population does not.

  •  say it to me in english doc!! (15+ / 0-)

    "It's our daunted restraint that keeps us silent in shame"

    by deadatom on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:21:26 AM PST

      •  Halfway there (13+ / 0-)

        "Obama killed conservatism.  Too bad we haven't created the infrastructure to let the media and Republican Congressional Districts know."

        •  actually, i think obama aims to fix conservatism. (11+ / 0-)

          conservatism clings to the status quo or the dream of some imagined past status quo because it fears losing something of value:  family cohesiveness, religion, culture, stability.

          Some of that get's fixated on particular "conservative" policies and that's hopeless.  You just can't reconcile racism with progress.

          But many conservatives, if you magically move them to a better place, will be quite happy staying there and will ferociously defend progressive policies (social security, elections, abolition and civil rights) once they are established as a new status quo.

          Obama, i think, is aware of that (think of andrew sullivan) and would like to move a big chunk of conservatives into the 21st century by demonstrating that liberals and liberalism and government can be very, very good.

          "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

          by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:43:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Conserve" is a good thing (6+ / 0-)

            What's happened is that the "conservatives" are actually reactionaries - extremists who react allergically to the world around them.  They see government and others as the problem.  Freedom is "freedom from" the interference of others, not "freedom for" service to a cause greater than self.

            Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

            by Benintn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:41:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're right, (6+ / 0-)

            and therefore suggest that conservatism killed conservatism. One can't just stand in the same place in an ever changing world. One must be forever examining the influencing dynamics and making appropriate adaptations.

            I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

            by Pescadero Bill on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:04:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The problem with this status quo (6+ / 0-)

            concept of conservatism is that it's wrong.

            THe real political divide has less to do with progress vs conservatism and much much more to do with authoritarianism vs anti-authoritarianism.

            The people who make up the core of the Republican party are not "movement conservatives" interested in the ideology. The fact is most of them don't even understand their own ideology. Ergo the cognitive dissonence with their stated goal "Small government" and the objective results of their policies "police state".

            All the rhetoric about freedom and liberty is just empty words what they care about is safety and they see that safety as coming from authoritarian structures.

            Because if you peal off enough layers from these people and get them past their rhetoric what you will always find at the core of thse "conservatives" is a terrified individual.

            It is no accident that conservative rhetoric is always based in fear it's the core of their belief.

            They like authoritarian structures because they see freedom as a threat to their existence. Alien idea's alien people you know those scary anarchists those strange colored people with their odd alien ways. them immigrants that aren't like us and speak a language we don't understand.

            This has been one consistent thing with every "conservative" I've ever argued into a corner it always comes down to fear.

            So you can't stick people into a progressive reality and expect them to maintain it. That reality is athema to their world belief. Don't get me wrong some fears will eventually be displaced so conservatives in the future won't fear black people or gay people but they'll just find something else to fear.

            •  yes, and no. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mataliandy, linkage, cgirard

              i'm skeptical of broad, sweeping characterizations about large numbers of people.  

              you could easily reduce liberalism to fear of ____.  after all, we're all motivated to prevent bad things from happening and we all pretty much believe that bad things will happen if the people controlling government have the wrong ideas.

              conservatism in particular is vulnerable to this illusion because we liberals are all about creating change that many people don't want.  so the standard rhetorical responses are:  (1) that change will cause a bad, unintended effect; (2) it will backfire; or (3) we'll lose the progress we've already made.

              sometimes liberal or progressive solutions use authority against problems that arise because of lack of authority (deregulation, enforcement of civil rights, social welfare programs?).

              if i were a black man in 1930s Mississippi, i'd see the problem as a lack of authority at the federal level and fearful of the alternatives.

              ****

              at any rate, i think sticking many conservative people into a liberal utopia would establish a new equilibrium for them because there would be plenty of authority (their own family/church if they want, police, great mayors and presidents, etc. -- with the added benefit that society would actually work for them (and everyone else) and they'd have fewer liberal bugging them about impeding change because, well, we wouldn't need as much change.

              "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

              by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:18:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree (4+ / 0-)

                When I say conservatism is based in fear I don't mean reasonable rational fear of real known threats. I mean irrational paranoia of the unknown.

                Using government to control behavior of institutions or even individuals is not automatically authoritarian. Authoritarianism is a specific top down down heirarchal power structure.

                Meaning a small number of individuals are setting the laws and policies. democracy is at it's core anti-authoritarian. Our government officials are supposed to be our representatives not our masters or keepers. There is a fundamental difference.

                About 30% of the population are authoritarian thinkers they want to be told what too do and when. Some smaller percentage want to do the telling they tend to be the leaders of the conservative movement.

                Most of that 30% is the core of the republican party from that 30% is where the 20% or so who still think George Bush was a good guy and Obama is the anti-christ come from.

                Not all "conservatives" are authoritarians some are just deluded into thinking that the small government nonsense. Just as there is a significantly smaller number of people who call themselves progressive who are just as authoritarian and fear based as their conservative counterparts, they're the source of all the censorship movements to protect the children.

                But every single die hard authoritarian conservative that I've ever managed to corner has come down to be deathly irratoinally afraid of something. I don't mean worried or concerned I mean pissing their pants scared to death. That's why they are willing to lock people up in GITMO with out trial that's why they have no qualms about torturing some arab or librul.

                •  Not to mention thier extreme fear of death... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Larsstephens

                  Hence, evangelical christians.  

                  Fear of the unkown question, "what happens when we die?," incites so much fear that they would rather believe nonsensical stories and authority over an honest dialogue and debate into that question.

                  Then there is the moral superiority that comes with that acceptance b/c fear of the unkown is too much to live with.  

                  It is all related.  

                  "[People] are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound." - James Allen

                  by gchap33 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:11:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (9+ / 0-)

        I think conservatism committed suicide. Obama has just stepped over the corpse.

      •  I think it's more like . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        "We have an opportunity, at long last, to kill 'conservatism' (i.e, radical, anti-intellectual selfishness), helped by the press of economic and environmental crises and under Obama's leadership.  Obama is beginning to lead by reclaiming the language of patriotism for progressive, not 'conservative,' values."

        My own footnote is that this opportunity could gain a lot more traction if Obama and congressional Democrats also lead in introducing legislation to bust up, limit the reach of, and bring serious competition to, the corporate media.

        "If elections really changed anything, they would be outlawed."--Emma Goldman

        by keikekaze on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:49:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  'Obama doesn't speak at you... (0+ / 0-)

      he speaks to you.'

      Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. -Adams

      by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:12:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a valuable diary (39+ / 0-)

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America..President Barack Obama

    by Ekaterin on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:32:53 AM PST

  •  Did any one notice expanded metaphor (37+ / 0-)

    At the beginning where he differentiates between a programs policy nuts and bolts and its underlying values.

    To me, this is oddly reminiscent of the metaphor of the overlapped codependent existing entities software/hardware metaphor for mind/body.

    But I may just be reading too much into him being a cognitive scientist.

    "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

    by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:33:01 AM PST

  •  Thank You For This (34+ / 0-)

    Wonderful insights - there is a major shift occurring as Obama expresses his, and our, values by retaking language which the conservatives had usurped. This is maybe the biggest story of all because nothing we do will work without this reframing.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:40:18 AM PST

  •  This diary should concern the pragmatist. (26+ / 0-)

    This separation between values and programs lies behind the president’s pledge to cut programs that don’t serve those values and support those that do — no matter whether they are proposed by Republicans or Democrats. The President’s idealistic question is, what policies serve what values? — not what political interests?

    Here he states that the driving force behind Obama is his idealism not political concerns

    I also see it debunking Obama's Bipartisanship - as a different bird that turns republicans against their former value system - so that he is not looking to work with conservatives he is looking to transform them.

    here such folks agree with him on values, Obama tries, and will continue to try, to work with them on those issues if not others. And, he assumes, correctly believe, that the more they come to think in terms of those American values, the less they will think in terms of opposing conservative values.

    Lakoff also states that when Obama speaks about what "works" he is talking about what is congruent with our values.

    The word sounds purely pragmatic, but it is moral in operation.

    "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

    by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:45:31 AM PST

  •  Mr. Lakoff, please (20+ / 0-)

    With all due respect, the framing stage is over. The American public trust the President. It is up to the President to keep that trust.

    Actions will speak louder than words from now on.

    •  Don't you think those actions need to be framed? (10+ / 0-)

      Example: The framing of protests and sit-ins as much more than a few radicals.

      "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

      by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:56:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, chicago jeff

      ... even think of one.

    •  Framing is not just packaging (39+ / 0-)

      it's design.

      You can't just say "design is done, now we need to build". It's an iterative process, which is an inherent feedback loop.

      I think we all need to step away from 20th century political thinking, in terms of seeing policies as products which require framing, ie, marketing.  The new marketing sees a constant interweave between product, customer and the communication between them.

      --
      All this said, I am very concerned about Obama's continuations of what appear to be Bush policy: DOJ w/r/t torture/wiretapping lawsuits, "faith based" programs, etc.  I will not stop applying pressure on those fronts.

      --
      Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

      by sacrelicious on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:19:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am positive (22+ / 0-)

        that Obama does not see torture as an American value. I am also positive that he does see that protecting Americans is a value. Obama is working his way through that maze right now, and although I feel the same way you do...a bit discouraged and befuddled..I am convinced that Obama is far more intelligent than I am and will eventually work his way through this to our satisfaction.
        I get concerned at times that he is avoiding prosecutions on so many Bush crimes, but then I have to remember that he would be valuing fixing the economy and straightening out the Afghan/Pakistan war and realigning the country's values far higher than threatening all that by wrenching the country apart on political lines right now when he needs us to be very united. Trials would be a horrible distraction and the most rabid of the Repubs would seize on trials as a reason not to unite the country on American values.
        I am learning to be far more patient than I have ever been in my life.

        The Justice Department is no longer a credible defender of the rule of law or the Constitution.

        by Overseas on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:58:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree about the prosecutions (7+ / 0-)

          Now is the time to be moving forward insted of looking back.  Much as I would love to see people like Cheney and Rumsfeld (Bush too) forced to eat their own feces, I would rather see more and better opportunities for my friends and neighbors.

          •  Couldn't agree with you more. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, cybrestrike, Larsstephens

            Even the feces part which I hadn't thought of myself, but what a fitting punishment that would be even if only in my dreams.

            The Justice Department is no longer a credible defender of the rule of law or the Constitution.

            by Overseas on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:11:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That sounds like sacrificing (9+ / 0-)

            the rule of law for "better opportunities for my friends and neighbors".

            Something about that makes me feel uneasy.

            Better times to come unless we settle for the alternative.

            by Outrider on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:54:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's not all or nothing. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              phonegery, linkage, jfromga, Larsstephens

              rule-of-law is not a magical status that disappears in a puff of smoke if a law is broken or ignored or not implemented.

              it's more of a cultural thing.  psychologically, do people respect or dismiss or subvert or revolt against "the law" ???

              or do people psychologically respect and abide by it, feel embarrassed when caught violating it, etc.

              mlk and gandhi took the same view, advocating breaking unjust laws but submitting to punishment to demonstrate and teach respect for law in general.

              our country's full of people who aren't bothered by torture or who will respond to a trial with such cognitive dissonance that it won't in any way make them more likely to support politicians who don't torture.  

              so, a single policy or handful of decisions to prosecute or not very likely has nothing whatsoever to do with promoting "rule of law."

              however, there certainly is a cumulative effect over time so your point isn't without some merit.

              ****

              i would investigate and prosecute if warranted but i have no illusion that it would restore justice.

              "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

              by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:17:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If Nixon had been prosecuted (4+ / 0-)

                might the Bush crew have behaved differently?

                Are they men and women with the conscience of Rev. King or
                Gandhi and would they have accepted the likelihood of prison in pursuit of their noble agenda?

                Better times to come unless we settle for the alternative.

                by Outrider on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:13:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  maybe, but easily maybe not. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  phonegery, linkage, Larsstephens

                  if "they" ended up perceiving a nixon prosecution as a politically motivated persecution, then it might have a mixed effect along partisan lines.

                  and since liberals already respect the law (!), it would have a net negative effect.

                  that's actually already the GOP's main strategy for obstruction -- generate so much hopelessness about politics and government and politicians ever being good and trustworthy that liberal policies using government to fix problems seems like a bad, risky idea.  that's cynicism.

                  cynicism in our system favors the status quo because it's much harder to get a supermajority moving in one direction than to get a big minority to insist on staying put.

                  ****

                  answers to the last part of your comment:
                  probably not but i think gandhi and king were effective because they consciously chose to focus on the change they wanted rather than punishing evil-doers.

                  maybe they were wrong; i think they were effective.

                  "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

                  by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:31:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Does (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage, Larsstephens

              a global depression complete with massive unemployment, homelessness, crime, and food and energy shortages make you uneasy at all?

              I'm not trying to belittle you, as I'm in total agreement that there was a great deal of criminal activity perp'd by the previous administration, but the point is that at the moment, we really need to try and shore up the viability of, uh, human civilization right now, rather than creating long, protracted trials with 24/7 coverage on cable news.

              Just like the hunt for Nazi war criminals never ceased over 6 decades, the Bushes will get theirs. All in due time, as long as there's a functioning system to do it in. Which is a very big question mark right now.

              -5.88, -6.00 When the ELGIs are defeated, the GWOT is over. -- Richard Clarke

              by Porfiry on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:33:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of the list of woes you mention (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens

                (massive unemployment, homelessness, crime, and food and energy shortages) only one involves AG Eric Holder and that is crime.

                And what I'm asking is that Mr. Holder include criminals associated with the Bush administration on his to-do list.

                I wouldn't ask Mr Holder to deal with the other things you mention or Mr. Obama to personally lead the investigations.

                Better times to come unless we settle for the alternative.

                by Outrider on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:37:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. You make an excellent point. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KayCeSF, linkage, Larsstephens

          I came to a similar view during the campaign, the view that we must be patient. Nothing escapes the notice of Mr. Obama and he is intensely skilled in working his plans well into the future. His election is evidence. And he is surely a model of patience.

          "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." -Eleanor Roosevelt

          by AllanTBG on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:22:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  in the same way that marketing is not advertising (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Raven, linkage, Larsstephens

        done effectively it is about understanding the needs and adjusting the product/service to serve those needs, informed by the capacity to communicate how it can meet those needs.

        •  Kotler: The aim of marketing is to make sales (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Porfiry, phonegery, Larsstephens

          unnecessary.

          Philip Kotler understands this iterative process and it's the foundation of developing and maintaining brand strength.

          The Obama brand is built in the traditions of what's best about human culture and American politics.

          Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

          by Benintn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:53:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  framing is cultural design. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sacrelicious, Larsstephens

        policy and culture shape each other.
        we progressives have all kinds of well-crafted policies that gather dust on the shelf because we're not proficient at dealing with cultural diversity when we can't set/enforce rules of conduct and people who are intolerant of us are present.

        one thing lakoff ignores though is framing that isn't verbal.  most framing is actually non-verbal (i.e. images, juxtaposition of events, day-to-day experiences, etc.)

        notice that obama creates/uses a lot of events/experiences.

        "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

        by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:05:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree on one point (5+ / 0-)

      the framing must continue until it is accepted by a majority of the population as natural and logical.  

      to me...this diary brought to mind the study of languages.  specifically, the different constructs that exist within cultures simply because of the words used to describe the environmnet (i can't remember what language it was, but the one example i always found most intriguing was the language that does not contain the word "should," and therefore the people did not understand what that word entails.  it is fascinating)

      for now americans trust the president, but there are a lot of changes coming and at each stage the language must exist to make those changes acceptable.

      great diary -- and great discussion.  glad i stayed up!  

      •  Most linguists don't (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, MingPicket, jemjo, Larsstephens

        put much value in the Sapir-whorf hypothesis which is what you are describing.

        However I am open to other communities outside of academic establishment discussing and furthering theories.

        "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

        by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:18:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  obviously (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE, linkage, MingPicket, Larsstephens

          i am not a linguist myself and know little about the theory's validity.  i have, however, thought of this hypothesis at different times when i have learned a new framework for thinking about an issue and suddenly found a new understanding of the concept.

          teachers use a technigue called scaffolding to model a strategy to students -- and then gradually shift the responsibility to the student to continue learning based on that framework.  i guess i was thinking along these lines -- without the scaffold it is more difficult to make the leap.  sorry -- rambling.

          •  They have done studies on the perception (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, chicago jeff, MingPicket, jemjo

            of color and tested people who do not have words in their language to name certain colors - their ability to distinguish them remains unhindered - that is just one example off the top of my head that disproves the sapir-whorf hypothesis.

            Since I cannot think of an example of non-corporeal concepts (Kant or Hegel has a term for them which escapes me as well) that would also disprove this hell you may be right but then again I remember the hypothesis being slapped up and down in my linguistics classes.

            And upon looking it up I find that it has more to do with syntax and morphology shaping thought than the tyranny of vocabulary shaping thought. It was grouped into the same relativism box in my mind.  

            No doubt you are talking about heuristic devices than enable conceptual understanding.

            "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

            by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:40:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  haha! (4+ / 0-)

              no doubt i have no clue what you are talking about!

              i took a basic linguistics class over a decade ago -- actually think i encountered the idea in a sociology class??  regardless, it is interesting for me to contemplate.  but thank you for responding (and i do think you are right...i was wrong to use vocabulary as an example when i think it was indeed more related to syntax).  i will take your word on the scientific realities.  thank you.

            •  The consensus currently seems to be (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage, thethinveil

              that a Strong Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is not workable, but that weaker versions (IE language influences, rather than dictates, perception/thought) haven't completely lost support.

              Personally, I think even weaker versions are left wanting. I think culture (which can correlate with language) is more influential on though, but since you can't really completely tease the two apart, I don't think Sapir-Whorf will ever completely go away.

              The GOP is becoming the party of Ideology, Ignorance, Incompetence, and (Increasingly) Irrelevance.

              by MingPicket on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:48:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I think most Americans (7+ / 0-)

        feel that this country gives everyone, no matter how poor their beginnings, a chance to excel.

        At least, they WANT to believe that. The last few years were a real eye-opener for a lot of people. And they really don't like what we've become.

        When people say they don't like the way things are going, it's not abortion and gay marriage they're talking about - it's the box that they, and their children, find themselves in.

        If you work hard, and don't get in trouble, you're SUPPOSED to do well. You're SUPPOSED to be able to support your family, have a decent life, send your kids to decent schools. And if you DO get in trouble, you're supposed to be able to get a second chance, and turn your life around. That's the promise of America - you don't need to be royalty to get ahead, and we understand people make mistakes.

        Too many people don't see that happening to anybody they know, but they DO see it happening to those with MONEY. And worse, it doesn't matter HOW they got the money, that money gets them connections and those connections GET THEM OFF. It gets them into better schools, even when they don't belong there. It gets them help that a poorer person could never get. It gets them on TV, and gets them even MORE money for doing NOTHING. In this country, money is royalty.

        Bush did NOTHING to change those feelings. If anything, he made it WORSE, because he was the poster child for money and connections getting you chances that lesser mortals could NEVER aspire to.

        But Obama changes all that, just by his being in the WH. And even better, he doesn't forget his beginnings, and he wants to give EVERYONE the chances he had. That comes through in everything he says. He chooses his words carefully, of course, but it's more what comes through in just his being there - it's not impossible, the dream lives, and above all, we are a MERIT based society, and he wants people to have a CHANCE again.

    •  RaulVB (14+ / 0-)

      With all due respect, the framing stage is never over. If you cede the framing, you cede the debate.

      The GOP is becoming the party of Ideology, Ignorance, Incompetence, and (Increasingly) Irrelevance.

      by MingPicket on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:35:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  With all due respect to you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      Dr. Lakoff is not likely to pay any attention to a comment from someone whose quality of thought is so clearly orders of magnitude below his own.

      •  What a horrid thing to say to someone (4+ / 0-)

        Elitist holier-than-thou.

        And it doesn't matter how much "respect" you put into saying it.

        Raul's comment started a mile-long thread of comments... so there was some measure of value there.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:22:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ditto. Lakoff isn't a god. I'll take Chomsky (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cardinal, Larsstephens

          over Lakoff any day.  I have heard Lakoff speak at least 5 times.  After the initial "That's useful",  I found he increasingly had nothing new to say.  He comes from a holier than thou place i.e. my morals are nurturing. Yours...um...suck. I don't think that's helpful.

          Skip Lakoff and read Sheldon Wolin's "Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and Inverted Totalitarianism".  It's about myth making of the elites on the left and the right to give us the illusion of democracy.  If you can't read the book, read Chris Hedges on Wolin.It's Not Going to be OK

          Nothing to see here.  Move along.  

          "It is not be cause things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

          by MontanaMaven on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:35:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chomsky's incredible (0+ / 0-)

            but I wasn't dissing Lakoff. My response was aimed at lqb's comment to Raul. lqb  was arrogant as hell.

            Though Lakoff gave Rick Warren a complementary pass which I did not agree with... at all.

            Anyway, thanks for the good references, great link and good points. I'm an optimist... a grumpy optimist... and still hope that we find the fortitude and resolve to do more than just kick the cans down the road.

            <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

            by bronte17 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:07:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's far less horrible that Raul's blithe (0+ / 0-)

          and mindless dismissal of Dr. Lakoff's deep post.

          •  Lakoff's diary was excellent... not perfect...but (0+ / 0-)

            it was a great read.

            It doesn't help anyone though for you to say demeaning things like that to people.

            Why didn't you simply say to Raul what you just said? Tell him that his comment was dismissive and blithe and engage him to explain his comment. Instead of belittling him.

            <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

            by bronte17 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:13:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Framing is never over (6+ / 0-)

      read the whole diary again if you need to, and you'll see clearly why.

    •  It is never over (5+ / 0-)

      The Republicans frame everything they do.  Deconstructing their intent is as necessary as is effective language coming out of the White House to insure the President does keep up the trust.  

      Actions speak louder, for sure, but how those actions are framed will be what many Americans who don't follow politics as closely as the we do will get out of it.

    •  actions actually speak (8+ / 0-)

      much more coherently WITH words, at least when the words are well-considered and purposeful.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:48:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just hope he gives a knockout speech with (10+ / 0-)

    policy and details and also some roaring rhetoric... Something that was so good that even Jindal's response wont matter.

    "The world as it is just won't do, we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be."-First lady, Michelle Obama

    by sillycilla on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:57:51 AM PST

    •  So, does a great speech combined with a total (4+ / 0-)

      failure to faithfully execute the laws, including but not limited to the Convention Against Torture, and Title 50 US Code, Chapter 36, subchapter 1, § 1800 et seq., aka, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 mean the State of the Union is other than morally and legally rudderless???

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:33:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He'll likely include some of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Larsstephens

      points that Jindal will later make, thereby absorbing Jindal's ideas before they've even been spoken. Thus, Jindal is irrelevant. Plus, the general public will see how Obama is attempting to include "conservative" thinking, making Jindal's later opposition seem superfluous, since their differences will appear to be specious.

      Or that's my thought...

  •  Inspiring (4+ / 0-)

    Mr. Lakoff, I have been a fan since I first heard about you, many years ago.

    I think Rahm Emmanuel would say that he is perfectly willing to tell you what his message is.  My question is, what do you think of it?

  •  Thank you George Lakoff! nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, linkage, MaryinHammondsport

    "The most significant difference between now and a decade ago is the ... rapid erosion of spare capacities at critical segments of energy chains." Cheney, 2001

    by Akonitum on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:19:34 AM PST

  •  Thank you Mr. Lakoff (20+ / 0-)

    I always saw you as the anti-Luntz :-)

    During the debates, my wife and I saw the power of Obama's framing, and it was just impressive. I'm glad that framing is continuing, it will be critical to keeping the progressive legislation flowing.

    Thank you for taking the time to distill some of the magic for us!

    --
    Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

    by sacrelicious on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:22:16 AM PST

    •  The danger is that people like Luntz (7+ / 0-)

      dishonestly and expertly exploit Lakoff's points by using them to fool the public into acting against its own interests. This is a double-edged sword that can be used for good AND ill. Even well-meaning politicians can do harm by focusing too much on the lofty rhetotic and idea part and too little on the nuts and bolts on the ground stuff and do a horrible job of implementation. And they're not all well-meaning.

      Me, I like a healthy mix of sound theory and solid practice.

      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

      by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:48:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The corporate media pudits won't miss this (9+ / 0-)

    But beyond policy, there will be a vision of America—a moral vision and a view of unity that the pundits often miss.

    They'll concern troll: "Why can't Obama get support from House Republicans? Is he to partisan?"

    "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

    by Jeff Y on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:23:55 AM PST

  •  Leverage for enduring, systemic change. (10+ / 0-)

    In "Leverage Points to Intervene in a System" Donella Meadows' brilliant insight into systemic change basically affirms your insight about what Obama is doing and its potential long-term efficacy.

    Here is her original essay (pdf).

    Here is wikipedia.

    I think her essay resonates wonderfully with yours, here, George.

    "The most significant difference between now and a decade ago is the ... rapid erosion of spare capacities at critical segments of energy chains." Cheney, 2001

    by Akonitum on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:35:42 AM PST

  •  Excellent post! (13+ / 0-)

    You know, this is something I have pondered and thought about since last year, about why Obama spoke to so many people in their heart.

    Wow- and somehow, many of us got this, and was somehow able to communicate this to our neighbors and friends.

    •  Obama resonated with people (6+ / 0-)

      because he's them. Not rich, not connected, family scattered, didn't know his father, confused teenage years - he's most people in this country.

      When he stood up there, people didn't see a president's son, with money and privilege. They didn't see a former first lady, or a son/grandson of admirals - they saw themselves, their children, their grandchildren.

      Remember, Obama didn't have money up until a few years ago. He had student loans to pay off, and a mortgage to pay, and had to watch his finances - just like everybody else.

      His words were wonderful - but if they'd been said by somebody else, they would have been just that - words. Because they were spoken by someone who'd lived the life most people live, and most important, because they didn't conflict with his life story, they carried way more weight than most politicians' words.

      •  Well..... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, linkage, Larsstephens

        Actually, I think what people saw wasn't "most people"...if anything, Obama is a unique individual, a member of the meritocracy...arguably "elite" in education and achievement, but who clearly cares about people who aren't rich (and about the constitution, etc.), which is a dramatic change from the last administration. Let's not forget, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were very much members of the elite, born to privilege...that didn't prevent them from winning the trust and admiration of the people. FDR inspired people though he was clearly not "one of them."

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:41:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Have I missed a tip jar? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, linkage, Word Alchemy
  •  Well all due respect, Dr. Lakoff (20+ / 0-)

    But some of these ideas are inherently dangerous in the hands of a skilled and sophisticated politician, which Obama clearly is, however well-meaning.

    For example, theoretically speaking, it might make sense to distinguish between a "program", such as Social Security, and its intended value-outcome, i.e. keeping retirees and the disabled out of poverty. But value-outcomes don't accomplish that. Proven programs, such as Social Security, do.

    And when you try to make this distinction in the political arena, it just opens the door for a clever and dishonest--or clever and well-meaning, but naive--politician to say "Hey, Social Security might be a good program, but it's old and stodgy, and surely we can do better--what about private accounts instead? Better yield over the long run, and a batter value for retirees!". And before you know it, a program that works, but may not be the absolutely best way to achieve the disired value-outcome, is junked, in exchange for a more promising but unproven program that, had it been tried a few years ago, would have been catastrophic for millions.

    This is where I like to leave theory in the lab and classroom, and proceed exceedingly carefully--conservatively, really, in a small-c sort of way--before applying theoretical constructions to real-world situations, where the consequences are immense, and potentially disasterous. Wasn't forced busing such an academic theory gone horribly wrong? So while I'm fine with talking about such things, I think that we need to be really, really careful before we let ourselves get too open-minded and experimental with programs that, however imperfect, actually work, and work quite well.

    And that's just based on the fear of what well-meaning but naive politicians might do with existing programs, let alone malicious and ill-meaning ones might do by exploiting such experimental approaches. Sociopaths like Gingrich and Luntz eat this stuff up and mine it for nuggets to exploit the public with. Tread carefully here, people, and beware any silver-tongued "reformers" in either party, however well-meaning--or not.

    The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

    by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:44:50 AM PST

    •  Social Security (11+ / 0-)

      W & the Repubs haven't figured out a way to frame killing SS yet, and frankly, the majority of Americans gut check such efforts to rip off Grandma in a hot second.  W, Rove & the whole RW noise machine couldn't sell that lemon.  

      I think that Dr Lakoff is talking about Obama's talent as a speaker of the truth who communicates true American values.  He is not selling a bill of goods, but is reconnecting us to fundamental American values.

      I understand your misgivings, but I don't see Repubs selling an alternative to Obama's code.  Appealing to our better angels is beating the fear and anger strategy the movement "conservatives" have exhausted.  People are tired of all that.  

      Churchill once said, "Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, after they've exhausted all other options."  I think we have arrived at "the right thing".

      •  My fear isn't of Repubs at this point (6+ / 0-)

        My fear is of dishonest, foolish and/or naive Dems who, intentionally or not, will sell us a bill of goods presented as The Solution To All Of Our Problems. And not a single one of them is someone that I would inherently trust, including Obama. Some because they're proven liars, cowards and douchebags. Others because, while seemingly well-meaning, they come across to me as still a bit naive.

        I'd put Obama into the latter category, provisionally. It's not that I actively distrust him or them, just that I also don't actively trust him or them. And I think that that's how it should be in politics, which works best with lots of checks and balances both within and outside of it. This isn't cynicism, just caution. I.e. the road to hell is paved with both good and bad intentions. We should be on guard for the bad ones, but also the good ones, until they pass the reality test. Like, oh, bipartisanship.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:57:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon to China (5+ / 0-)

        It will take a Democrat to kill Social Security. Clinton wanted to. And he and Gingrich would have managed to had the latter not decided to instead bet the house on impeachment.

        Let's hope that Obama doesn't see any "biconceptualism" in killing off our most successful social program.

        Nobody knows what kind of trouble we're in / Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

        by GreenSooner on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:21:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I thought Prof. Lakoff's first point... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, blueoasis, chicago jeff

      (the separation of programs and values) was the weakest argument in the essay.

      It seems to me that operating under progressive values leads to continuation and support of programs in harmony with those values and elimination or downscaling of programs disharmonious with them.

      Not sure I understand the value in the separation.

      •  I have always thought (11+ / 0-)

        Democrats need to have built in strategies in their talking points - i.e. whats next.

        Are we going to propose program after program that doesn't make the connections to our overall philosophy.

        So we end up fighting an uphill battle every time we make a proposal.

        With a values oriented approach the next program or policy falls right into place.

        Like how every time there was a battle over a program or budget item Tip O'neil wanted to make a bargain while Reagan made every argument an argument on philosophy.

        Thing is - I don't see Obama making these policy battles about philosophy - about empathy - I have always seen him emphasize bipartisanship and policy specifics.

        "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

        by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:25:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reclaiming the 'values' argument (8+ / 0-)

          is probably one of the most important things we could do; the Republicans certainly have operated as if they'd had a lock on that argument for the past 30 years at least.

          Prof. Lakoff seems to indicate that Obama operates from a core belief that these values are American values.

          I agree with you, though, that having this as "intellectual move behind the Code" isn't enough! Obama would be well-served, imho, to play this values card harder and more often.

          I hope that will be part of his economic argument in the SotU tonight.

        •  Good point (4+ / 0-)

          Obama speaks generally about values, but specifically about policy. There is a certain disconnect that is perplexing, and troubling. Perhaps it's all part of the learning to be president process. Or the result of his being a conceptually-oriented person who's slow in translating concepts into programs, and perhaps has to come up with short-cuts in the interim. Even the smartest people are sometimes reduced to throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. So long as one doesn't also throw out what is known to work in the process, though. It's ok, even necessary, to tinker where there are no proven solutions, but not where there are. There, you proceed cautiously.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:02:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  selling empathy would be preaching to the choir. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage

          we want "biconceptuals," latent liberals/moderates to be empathetic but that's not necessarily the effective pitch to make:

          you should be more compassionate, like me!  you should feel more for those other people!

          We looooooooooooooove that; they often don't.
          So the appeal might be put more in terms of other things or a mix of values that's consistent with what we want.

          people are suffering.
          maybe it's you or, maybe it will be you if we don't take care of this problem.
          it's fiscally responsible.
          it's good for all of us.
          it's not really gonna hurt you.
          we're all gonna bear some of the burden.

          "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

          by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:15:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  here's the value.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, Abe Frohman

        as long as nominal conservatives link conservative policies to values, it's hard to peel them away permanently.

        if you trust your values and get people in the habit of considering policy options on the basis of merit rather than the heuristic link to values-by-way-of-ideology ... you tilt the playing field a bit toward the reality-based party.

        ****

        Roger Fisher and Robert Ury wrote a book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, that pushed for focus on values/interests rather than specific solutions because that often works better when you're dealing with difficult people but can't intimidate them into cooperation.  As liberals, we really need to build support and undermine resistance to our programs because it's much easier to block change in our system than to force it.

        "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

        by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:07:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Conservatives might follow this reasoning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      Follow me with this. . .

      Think of all the cons who think Reagan's values and manufactured image were betrayed by the Bushes and contemporary Republicans.

      They see how the confidence in values and persona can be manipulated to bring about contradictory results in policy.

      I don't know if they would change Reagan but Kovie your remark made me think of their political predicament.

      "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

      by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:15:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, for one thing, I'd argue (7+ / 0-)

        that Reagan himself betrayed conservatism, both in policy and ideology, and he was always a cardboard cutout impersonation of a true conservative from back when he bolted from the Democratic party and was later recruited to be the new golden boy of the modern conservative movement in '64. Real conservatives are now on the fringes of modern conservatism, pushed out by religious and racist fanatics and authoritarian neocons who only believe in power. If they want to retake their movement, then they need to withdraw into themselves and remind themselves of what their true values are, and only then reemerge to get back into the arena and try to apply them.

        But that's their problem, not ours. :-)

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:51:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  good point, but (7+ / 0-)

      i am not sure if your example makes much sense to me.  I may be missing something..it is very late.  It seems to me that you are confusing "value" as in it is good for the country to not have elderly people in poverty with no safety net, and "value" as in money.  

      "Hey, Social Security might be a good program, but it's old and stodgy, and surely we can do better--what about private accounts instead? Better yield over the long run, and a batter value for retirees!".

      I think that determing the social value of Social Security would mean that idiotic ideas like private equity funds would never get the attention they get now -- for it would be apparent that the risk is not in line with the goal.

      •  Well, when it comes to SS (6+ / 0-)

        You're talking about two kinds of "value". One is the moral value in keeping retired and disabled people out of poverty--and ideally well above it. And the other is the literal monetary "value" of the income that will be necessary to accomplish this. I was referring to the first sort of value, in terms of what I think Lakoff meant by value.

        But in purely practical terms, the existing SS program is a proven way of generating the second sort of value, that accompishes the first sort, and tinkering with it is dangerous in practice, even if thinking of ways to do this in therory in order to increase its monetary value is perfectly fine. Not sure if I'm explaining myself as it is quite late!

        Basically, I think that we should be very cautious in how we try to bring about desired moral value outcomes, in terms of tinkering with existing and proven if also imperfect ways of doing this. I.e. if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and if you think you can make it better, be damn sure of it before proceeding. Like the Hypocratic Oath: Do No Harm.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:35:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, of course (7+ / 0-)

          the problem is that neo-liberal cost-cutting 'efficiency' economics has staked out a monopoly for itself in political value-making.

          There's no externalised formal metric for compassionate social value in policy. Which is why finance is allowed to run the world - it's the only externalised and formal concept of political value which the West has been able to imagine for itself with any consistency.

          Progressive values are always oppositional to this central focus, which is why they're perceived as weak.

          So Lakoff is wrong here - having consistent values isn't enough. They need to become a part of everyday experience in the same way that money is a part of everyday experience now.

          It's going to take more than some speeches by Obama to make that happen.

          "Be kind" - is that a religion?

          by ThatBritGuy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:47:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmm, interesting take (4+ / 0-)

            Not being an economist I'm not sure about the no progressive metric part, though. It may well be that there is no such metric, at least not a good and convincing one. But I have a hard time believing that one couldn't be developed by some very sharp people--and that such people are likely trying to do that right now (and I may know a few of them who are affiliated with the NYU Brennan Center). What do you think?

            To take a simple example, it's been argued that although universal health insurance might seem like an unfair effort by big government to take peoples' money and force them to have insurance, if done right, it actually saves most people money, both directly, through better and cheaper insurance, and indirectly, through the benefits of having a healthier society. Could not such externalities--and others--be woven into some sophisticated progressive economic model that shows that progressive policies aren't just morally good, but economically good too?

            Having taken enough math, science and engineering courses in college, I find it hard to believe that this isn't doable, if tackled properly. Or am I being excessively optimistic?

            The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

            by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:14:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It would be good to think so (4+ / 0-)

              because in practice conservative policies always - without exception - lead to disaster for everyone except a tiny 'successful' minority.

              This happens so predictably and consistently that it might as well be a law of nature.

              But see my other post for why this isn't an issue for conservatives.

              The basic problem is that a money economy, especially one built on debt obligations, is inherently framed in terms of dominance and submission relationships, and not of symbiosis.

              If you try to argue with about results with conservatives you'll just get repeated talking points. The conservative goal is always to dominate a situation, and they're not picky about how they do that.

              They'll lie if they have to - it doesn't matter to them. Attempts at objective fact-based analysis are more of a liberal approach by definition.

              So the problem isn't to produce more facts, it's to create social, political and media relationships in which the usual conservative tricks of talking nonsense and yelling aggressively start to look oppositional and marginalised - because the core value isn't dominance, it's successful symbiosis, and conservative nonsense is a direct offence against that.

              We have the opposite situation now - the core values in business and the media are aggression and dominance, and caring sharing iberal values are implicitly framed as offensive and out of the 'serious' mainstream.

              It's not enough to suggest that caring is a core American value, because in reality, for a lot of Americans it very much isn't.

              The political challenge is reworking culture around those people, so that their attempts at dominance fail, or at least look obvious, clusmy and ridiculous to everyone.

              Ridicule and shame would be much more persuasive than facts, unfortunately.

              "Be kind" - is that a religion?

              by ThatBritGuy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:51:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  All good points well taken (6+ / 0-)

                I agree that the conservative mindset differs from the liberal one not only in core values, beliefs, assumptions and goals, but in methods and thought processes, and that the differences are such that it's very hard, if not impossible, to meaningfully discuss anything in substance with many self-described conservatives. Although, I'd argue that these are authoritarian conservatives, as opposed to more philisophical ones. But the authoritarian type clearly dominates these days, so such distinctions, even if valid, and mostly irrelevant. We're dealing with sociopathic bad-faith people who fundamentally see and interact with the world, and want things from it, that are inherently different from and at odds with liberal ones. So consensus is impossible.

                The thing is, most people are neither, but somewhere in-between, and the real battleground is for their hearts and minds. We should care less about winning over conservatives, since that's probably impossible, than about winning over this broad center--and marginalizing conservatives to the extent possible, both functionally, and by winning over the center. And this center exhibits and responds to both authoritarian and liberal ideas, values and thought processes. It responds to both emotional and rational forms of persuasion. And I think that models of persuasion, of either the informal or formal kind, can be constructed that would appeal to broad segments of this persuadable center. For some it's going to take a more emotional, gut-level appeal, almost on the level of a TV ad. For others it's going to have to be more substantive, like an academic or at least higher quality magazine article. For many it'll be some combination of both. But I think that it's doable. And must be done.

                After all, it's what the right did, successfully, starting some 40 years ago, up to just a few years ago. And while down, it's nowhere near out yet. We need to exploit this perhaps temporary weakness to go in for the "kill", so to speak, and convert what might well be a temporary and tenuous shift from right to left by the center to a more permanent and solid one, via such methods. As Arnold says, this is no time to be girly-men! (Although I certainly hope that we can do better than that embarrassment!)

                The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:06:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  All true (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Odysseus, Pohjola

                  I suppose my point is that with the right kind of social framing and discourse, authoritarian conservatism automatically appears as unpleasant and counterproductive as it really is.

                  We're getting close to that now in specific areas - people are waking up and saying 'Now, wait a minute...' after years of being owned by Wall St.

                  But the right was successful because the rhetoric of money and power is a kind of default assumption for all politics and business. There's a sugar frosting of democracy and freedom around it which makes it easier to swallow, but although it's sold as a central social value, democracy and freedom isn't - except in a very narrow sense which is defined by the conservatives.

                  What's needed is a metaphor for positive social participation - something like symbiosis, but catchier - which immediately puts authoritarian conservatism in a bad light, and which becomes the default moral position for most of the population.

                  This sounds very abstract, but philosophical ideas are very powerful - they limit and define the stories that people tell themselves about the world.

                  With the right story, everything could change.

                  "Be kind" - is that a religion?

                  by ThatBritGuy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:55:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The right was successful because (0+ / 0-)

                    for a while, an awful lot of people had a rising standard of living due to low inflation and loads of cheap imported goods, and anyone who had a regular paycheck could get approved for a mortgage even if they had no money to put down--"conservative values" looked like a free lunch up until about a year or so ago.

                    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                    by Alice in Florida on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:06:35 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  How to measure friendship? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage, Larsstephens

              The concept of the measurability can be the feature of the west from which a worry has to be carried. The measurability is simplified to the one-sided finance-being which breaks into all the walks of life. When for example a care of ouf older people is brougt to this kind of metrics, it will lose its immeasurable value. The care will come within the sphere of the economic betting and this produces unnecessary tragic consequences unavoidably.

              Perhaps the places and moments of immeasurable measure of our being have to be defended, developed and the extended. It is  better to talk about the friendship than networking, which is about calculation.

              Based on these immeasurable values can the progressive politics also strive through. In practice for example progressive engineering has to be within the sphere of measurement but not based only on the calculation.

        •  kovie.. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, linkage, thethinveil

          i'm so with you....way overtired.  and yes, i agree with that last point completely.  thanks for the clarification.  now i am going to bed as my mental faculties seem to be failing me right about now! good night :)

    •  All ideas can be dangerous (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, thethinveil

      just dangerous to who?

      •  More like dangerous HOW? (6+ / 0-)

        And I suggest when naively or carelessly persued. There is certainly much merit in continually thinking about and experimenting with new ideas. In fact it's an imperative to keep society from stagnating. It's the implementation stage, when theory is put into practice, that one has to be very, very, very careful.

        I am ideologically and morally quite liberal, but procedurally quite conservative. Experience and history have taught me that, and I don't think they're in contradiction.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:28:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm guessing you're in the good-government (8+ / 0-)

      liberal mode rather than the movement progressive mode, to use kos' frames.

      You're concerned about the policy, the data, what you consider the substance.

      Lakoff is concerned with the real substance, what stands under everything, our values.  We have to start with our values.  You establish a moral basis for your policy by aligning that policy with certain values.  Once you have built this foundation, you can move into policy.

      When you fail to establish a value foundation you fail to be compelling.  It becomes a pragmatic argument about what works and what doesn't work, without ever explaining why you want to do something in the first place.  People were saying we should use a lot of stimulus money for food stamps because it would provide a lot of stimulus without explaining why we like food stamps- because we are compassionate people, and we want to help those in need.  If you don't establish that first, and only argue for effectiveness, a conservative can either just argue with their own set of facts about effectiveness, and turn it into a stalemate by boring everyone to death, or just demolish your argument by taking a moral position- food stamps give people an excuse not to work, and makes them lazy, but since we believe in initiative and enterprise we don't want that.  Hence, even if it works, it would still be bad and not work.

      So you're at a different level of analysis, because you skipped ahead.  You need to start with values and work your way up to specifics.

      -5.38, -5.90 Deus mihi iustitiam dabit.

      by cjallen on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:34:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't at all skipped values (9+ / 0-)

        Nor do I think that one can't engage in both at once. To believe otherwise is to say that until we've perfected our value system, we should stay in theoretical mode. That's silly. For one thing, we're talking about millenia-old values that at their core haven't changed much since the Golden Rule. And for another, I think that programs like SS are inherently based on such fundamental moral values, and I think that my liking of such programs is based on my own belief in such values.

        So while I might prefer to focus on the policy and politics stuff, I haven't at all lost sight of or touch with these underlying values. I just take them for granted and don't dwell on them (which perhaps explains why I simply do not get conservatives).

        I think that you're confusing me with 60's and 70's-style technocrat liberals who, once they passed Medicare and Medicaid, got the tinkering bug with social programs and went crazy, and made a lot of mistakes, both technically, but also because they lost touch with what these programs were supposed to achieve--make peoples lives better overall, and not raise this or that artificial metric (that's also how we got into the bodybag = military victory mindset, another unfortunate relic of that time).

        Some of them are still around, much older than me, and some morphed into New Democrats, of the Clinton neoliberal ilk. And both, I think, lost touch with what it's all about--helping people--and are now, thankfully, being supplanted by a new generation of progressives who are getting back to the true roots of New Deal (as opposed to classical 19th century, who are today's neoliberal) liberalism.

        I hope that clears things up.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:46:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah I realized after I posted that I didn't (4+ / 0-)

          address the entirety of your comment, I picked up on things in a couple sentences and went off on that, rather than the whole thing.

          The danger of demagoguery is always present.  Which is why it is so valuable to have one of our own who seems to be capable of leading the masses while also being highly capable in leading an organization, intelligent, and full of integrity and, yes, idealism.  He's the kind of demagogue who would never be demagogic.  Or we would think, at least.

          As for the specifics of reform that you fear, I don't understand a fear of Obama on this.  Sure, we could fear any number of people who have  said that they think we should have individual accounts, or some nonsense like that, but I don't see anything to fear in Obama.

          -5.38, -5.90 Deus mihi iustitiam dabit.

          by cjallen on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:54:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're probably right about the fear thing (7+ / 0-)

            But something as precious as social security is a very sensitive thing, not just in general, but to me, as both my parents are on it now, and because of the economic downturn and other factors absolutely need it. And some of the things that he's said about it made me worry. Not panic, just worry, especially given the economic team that he's assembled. Just a tad too neoliberal for my tastes. A BIG tad.

            My main motivation for staying on top of this is helping to apply pressure on Obama to not mess with it. He probably won't, but that may well be precisely because of such pressure. It's a purely preemptive move on my and others' part, to keep him on the level. And for the most part, it appears to work. He does listen, or so it seems.

            The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

            by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:07:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Blech: Busing worked (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Larsstephens

      and like all things that worked, people that didn't like its results tried to undermine it. School segregation could not be reversed without busing because neighborhoods were segregated.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:25:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know where you lived (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, cardinal, linkage

        But in NYC, busing was despised, and caused a lot of white flight. In Boston it was even worse and tore the city in half. Perhaps you view that as a plus, but I don't. Busing was a well-intentioned attempt to sidestep and leapfrog deep-seated societal problems and force people to change in ways that they were not prepared to, that went well beyond ending legal discrimination, by trying to end moral discrimination. So I'm not sure how it worked? What "worked", exactly? If inner city kids benefited from being able to attend better schools, would not a less disruptive solution have been to improve schools in their own neighborhoods? And if the purpose was to force people from different races to mingle and interact, how is one justified in forcing that on anyone, and why does society continue to self-segregate by race?

        I'm open to being convinced otherwise, as I'm not expert. But my memory of growing up in 1970's NYC was that it failed. Plus, having commuted to high school for 3 years an hour each way, by bus and subway (by choice, not busing, as I got into a school far from where I lived), I hated the commute and didn't know anyone who didn't.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:14:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm (9+ / 0-)

    Need to read this again in more depth but I'm not there yet.

    Seems to be overcomplicating things.  You can as easily say that Obama is undoing some of the assumptions that standard modern American political rhetoric has rested on.

    It's just that some of those assumptions were so twisted that we are in danger of overpraising Obama for talking straight.

    •  Curiously (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, chicago jeff, Larsstephens

      The concept of "framing" is a tremendously useful tool for simplifying difficult issues. It can, at times, allow for a more clarity. For example, as you say yourself, "standard American political rhetoric" has become less of a matter of communicating ideas and more of an expression of symbolism.

      Framing allows us to see the relationship between these juxtaposed concepts and work with them more pragmatically. That is, instead of arguing about which party owns "apple pie" as a meme, we can discuss the necessity of patriotic symbolism instead. It's tremendously helpful.

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

      by The Raven on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:38:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama has a gift. (7+ / 0-)

    Vision, insight, and disarming humor.

    Keepah.

  •  Is that the state of the Union? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, linkage

    Also , what time does it come on?

  •  I was struck by Obama's comment (23+ / 0-)

    just yesterday about how he and Mrs. Obama want to have a more open White House because, after all, it is the people's house.

    It's been a very long time since I've heard that from a politician who appears to actually mean it.

    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein (-6.5/-7.33)

    by pidge not midge on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:57:27 AM PST

  •  Obama re: torture, rendition, "state secrets" (5+ / 0-)

    economic plan, health care: all look a bit too familiar.

    "We don't torture, trust us" says Obama, but he intends to continue CIA renditions to countries that do.  "Change" and yet his DOJ denied Binyam Mohamed - tortured in Guantanamo - his day in a US courtroom in order to protect Bush's version of state secrets. He insists his economic team has a plan to fix the mess we're in, but its ideas. too. seem familiar and ineffective.  And bi-partisanship? Gregg?

    Really?

    He says eloquently that he'll consider any idea, regardless of authorship, if it is the best way to help the US citizens who voted him into office... except, of course, single-payer health - off the table.  

    Escalating war in Afghanistan, drone bombings, civilian deaths...

    A promise that he "will" sign an executive order allowing stem cell research - so what's stopping him?  He can do it now, but still all we get is a promise that he "will"...

    Obama had the momentum to approach - and fix, perhaps - our broken polity and the damage it has caused our dwindling democracy in a truly different manner, with truly different ideals.

    I'll withold my ultimate judgement for now, but the Obama you write about has not yet appeared...

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:23:51 AM PST

  •  Mind if I listen to the speech before I decide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, linkage, thestructureguy

    what it "Means"?

    Thanks for all that typing tho...

    •  Dr. Lakoff isn't tell you what the SOTU means... (17+ / 0-)

      He's telling you how Obama speaks & gets his message across in general.  We'll all anxiously listen to what President Obama has to say tonight; Lakoff is pointing out the linguistic tools that Obama uses...  We can all use some heads up after 8 years of lies & obfuscation.

      •  Reads like a sermon to me :) (0+ / 0-)

        The word "code" can refer to a system of either communication or morality.

        Obama's "Moral communications"?

        The Obama Code is based on seven deep, insightful, and subtle intellectual moves. What President Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the Framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country.

        I can't help but notice he lacks even a single point of 'evidence' for this 'code'.

        •  it's pretty straightforward. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madame defarge, linkage

          most of us have listened to obama talk and have enough knowledge of our own political culture to be able to say,

          that rings true

          maybe, maybe not

          i doubt it.

          Like talking about the weather.
          We know enough to have an accurate sense much of the time but are often wrong.

          "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

          by chicago jeff on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:29:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please, don't be defensive. (6+ / 0-)

      Dr. Lakoff has written a diary of great importance.

      At the end he sums it up:

      What President Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the Framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country. In seeking "bipartisan" support, he is looking beyond political affiliations to those who share those values on particular issues. In his economic plan, he is attempting to realign our economy with the moral missions of government: protection and empowerment for all.

      This is what the stupid pundits, in their soured view of life, keep missing about Obama.

  •  Largely agree, but I think you missed (8+ / 0-)

    that conservatives have one standard for themselves and another for everyone else.

    Personal responsibility, for example, comes into play when an individual's experience is negative--i.e. "you're a failure because you did your own thing."
    The default condition is obedience to outside direction.  Obedience is rewarded, regardless of the actual result of any particular action.  So, for example, the assaultive personnel at Guantanamo are to be protected from censure because they were following "legal" directives.
    Conservatives consider obedience the prime virtue and dole out rewards and punishments accordingly.  They have no empathy for the simple reason that the other does not exist except as an entity to be ordered about.
    They are greedy, but not for things to have for themselves.  They are greedy to accumulate wealth in order to to dole out the rewards with which they intend to tie the next generation to themselves.  That's what interest and dividends and trust funds are for--to keep the next generation subservient.  Conservatives have no use for entitlements, equality or other people's empowerment.  When they accuse Obama of being a socialist, they know exactly what they resent.  His interest in other people is not restricted to moving them around like so many pawns.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:33:34 AM PST

    •  Conersvative psychology (8+ / 0-)

      is based on a model of imperial dominance.

      It's actually a self-consistent model - I'm emperor, you're merely useful and beneath contempt otherwise - but it often looks contradictory because the actions which maintain dominance change with context.

      So when bank CEOs say that government spending should be curbed but they also support Wall St bailouts for themselves, they're making perfect sense - they're in charge, they have a right to all of the resources around them, and if that sometimes needs a temporary period of nationalisation to keep their status, they're not going to have a serious problem with that. Especially when the alternative is catastrophic loss.

      But conservatives not only don't do empathy, they're completely incapable of effective systemic thinking about causes and effects.

      The idea that they might have to share, or be socially responsible, or to have their imperial status curbed in any way, is unthinkable for them - as is any suggestion that they might have to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

      Their idea of 'personal responsibility' is always imperial - you take responsibility by trying to dominate your environment.

      If you're one of the dominated, you're contemptible.

      It's a very strange and pathological way of being in the world.

      "Be kind" - is that a religion?

      by ThatBritGuy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:30:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may just be that these people are (6+ / 0-)

        instinct-driven and their cognitive brain functions don't interfere or review their behavior.

        The ability to reflect on and re-evalutate one's behavior is not a prerequisite.

        We now have the example of the Amazonian tribe that has no history, no concept of the future and no numbering system.  They seem to get on quite adequately living in a constant present.

        Even though GWB made use of the language of the future, I never got the sense that he was aware of the concept.  
        I do think a sense of time is critical (not the ability to read a clock, but being aware of past, present and future having a connection) and am fairly certain that in some people it is simply lacking.
        Keep in mind that, until very recently, keeping a community oriented as to time was the responsibility of religious or secular leadership.  Even the early industrial establishments were co-ordinated by the factory whistle or chime.  And, of course, Islam keep everyone co-ordinated by making them stop to pray six times a day.  It's not necessary for the individual to have a sense of time, when society does it for him.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:09:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well done, Mr. Lakoff. (6+ / 0-)

    I believe you are on to something here, professor.

    1. Progressive Values are American Values

    When Obama says that he wants a government that works (pragmatic), he is talking about a government that works for all Americans (progressive), that "keeps the American dream alive for all Americans" (American).

    Who doesn't agree with that?

    It is a fundamental progressive concept framed as a fundamental American ideal.

  •  PUNDITRY needs new definition (8+ / 0-)

    they are simply expected to argue against, regardless of the facts.  

    Experts at nothing, except maybe they got lucky on a book sale tour.

    Chatty Cathies, pull their strings and the mouths move.

    I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

    by bamabikeguy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:36:02 AM PST

  •  Just one point, if I may and it revolves around (10+ / 0-)

    this statement.

    ” The Code is his most effective way to bring the country together around fundamental American values.

    The term fundamental American values assumes the existence of one set of values that all Americans agree upon. It also assumes that those values are inherently correct.
    It also lays out the premiss that American values are different than and perhaps unique to the more mundane values held by others... But what are those values?

    The phrase American values has been used by the president, and his code, as you call it, is hardly transparent. It has been quite visible, in fact tangible since the primaries. It is what made his bid for the presidency so successful. His code, as I see it, is to make the public believe in the person behind the rhetoric. What are those American values? They are what you as an American individual, media, social microcosm wish them to be. And that's the whole point of the phrase... American values are never defined to be anything in particular save in that they are better than other non-American values. And those values are what the president is aiming to achieve.

    But where you see grand design I see marketing, very good very skilled marketing. The President's code is there for all to see the way they most wish it to be. In other words, the president's code is, quite intentionally designed to be, in the eye of the beholder. It's versatile nature is most visible in his dealings with foreign policy and domestic security issues so far.

    Where you see moral idealism by way of pragmatism, I see moral pragmatism incased in a shell political idealism... e.g. the bipartisanship maneuver.

    President Obama is a an intelligent and skilled statesmen, perhaps the most intelligent and skilled I shall ever encounter in my lifetime, I've certainly not seen his like before. But let us not lose site of the fact that as skilled a statesmen as he might be, he is an even better politician, and that's where the rub lies.

    The president's code demands a lot of trust from the American people, not in any particular program or policy per se, but in the man himself... That gives me pause.

    Thank you for an interesting diary.

    The Shape Of Things "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

    by notquitedelilah on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:45:17 AM PST

    •  Gives you pause, but provides me with hope (7+ / 0-)

      The president's code demands a lot of trust from the American people, not in any particular program or policy per se, but in the man himself... That gives me pause.

      Yes I understand the pitfalls of placing too much hope, trust and confidence in one person, party, etc., but at this time in our history I believe there are few if any other individuals other than Obama with the gifts and attributes necessary to lead America. I wake up every day thinking what a cluster puppy mess we would be in had McCain been the occupant of 1600 PA Avenue.

      Dreams have a way of betraying you when you use them to escape. Ask yourself why you dream what you dream.

      by brjzn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:29:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately I think this point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, notquitedelilah

      becomes clearer by the day:

      Where you see moral idealism by way of pragmatism, I see moral pragmatism incased in a shell political idealism

      and the bipartisan maneuver was the least of it.

      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

      by Edgewater on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:46:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The system and trust (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notquitedelilah

      The president's code demands a lot of trust from the American people, not in any particular program or policy per se, but in the man himself... That gives me pause.

      Your discomfort resonates.  Our system requires people to behave well, obey the laws, live and work within the system and to trust it.  

      An awful lot rides on the persona at the top. A few have merited such trust, not so many in my lifetime.

      "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." -Eleanor Roosevelt

      by AllanTBG on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:37:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish the rest of the Democratic Party would get (7+ / 0-)

    on board so there could be a unified, constant, and broadly delivered message.

    What are Reid and Pelosi's parts in this? Is it possible they are all coordinating a long term strategy - or is Reid stuck in a world of Republican frames? (or more likely, the unlocked, unguarded box of ineffectuality they put him in and that he refuses to simply step out of)

    •  If and when Abramoff gets the cooperating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, LynneK

      paperwork finished, "change" we can hope for, which means some crooks booted from Congress, may make the code more universal.

      Reid and Pelosi, over the years, have some transactions/conflicts of interest, just like every leader would have.

      I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

      by bamabikeguy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:54:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting discussion, but so far, most of it (23+ / 0-)

    has avoided Lakoff's call to action--his argument that we need an effective communication system to compete with the very well-organized & disciplined Repub. noise machine:

    Republicans in Congress can count on overwhelming message support in their home districts and homes states. That is one reason why they were able to stonewall on the President’s stimulus package. They had no serious media competition at home pounding out the Obama vision day after day.

    This diary is challenging us to develop a progressive alternative:

    Such national, day-by-day media competition is necessary. Democrats need to build it. . . . The president and his administration cannot build such a communication system, nor can the Democrats in Congress. The DNC does not have the resources. It will be up to supporters of the Obama values, not just supporters on the issues, to put such a system in place.  (my emphasis)

    Rontun, upthread, suggests one rather expensive possibility; are there other ideas out there?  There's plenty of intellect and energy on this site; can we put some of it to work on this problem?

    Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul . . .

    by cranquette on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:08:51 AM PST

    •  good comment. (6+ / 0-)

      I also think rontun's method is needlessly expensive like greens buying up forests to protect them - not only does it violate the value that the land belongs to the people but it impossible to implement on a large scale.

      Media is too expensive for the disenfranchised we fight for.

      We need to demand media democracy through our present democratic system i.e. better funding of libraries, breaking up large media conglomerates, funding community, college radio, and NPR/PBS, along with free broadband and computer access.

      "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

      by thethinveil on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:43:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The media and our leaders reflect, not illuminate (6+ / 0-)

        They reflect what they percieve to be the sense of the crowd.  They drive their convertibles to the front of a crow and call themselves the Grand Marshal of a parade.  Progressives and liberals have shied away from engaging the blowhards in their neighborhoods, offices and families and the result is that the media and our 'leaders' have a flawed view of what Americans believe.  We have to visibly & vocally exist before they can represent and lead us.

        Once there is a vocal core there can be a political leader and a messaging leader.  They had Rove and Strauss as political leaders and Rush providing talking points to the water cooler gang.  We see ours emerging today, Obama is the political leader and folks like Olberman and Maddow generate the talking points for the water cooler.

        Let the fireworks begin.

        "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

        by Mosquito Pilot on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:17:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I love your metaphor: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thethinveil

          They drive their convertibles to the front of a crowd and call themselves the Grand Marshal of a parade.

          But as Lakoff points out, our media rep's (Rachel, et al.) are few by comparison to the Repubs' many talking heads and loudmouths.  I don't think we can simply rely on them to get the message out as powerfully as is necessary to provide a counterbalance.

          Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul . . .

          by cranquette on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:30:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  wary of "calls to action" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, linkage

      on blogs that are essentially fundraisers.  Not that the idea is a bad one, but I don't want to go out of my way to support it in a forum like this.

      Your bolded quote is essentially a call for financial contributions, asking people who donated money to Obama's campaign to send a few bucks to someone, not Obama, and no Congressional Democrats, to build a "communication system" to counter Limbaugh, Gingrich, et als.

      Thank you for pointing this out.  It needed to be said.

      Again, it is not necessarily a bad idea, but it is buried deep within the larger essay, and is as subtly put forward as any of Obama's own deep "values."  Don't know what the diarist's relationship is to team Obama, nor do I know exactly what is being proposed here as a counter-communications system, but the writer is laying the foundation for a business plan and fundraising scheme, and testing the idea among people here at dkos, perhaps considered a natural constituency for such an effort.

      •  Lakoff is an academic--a linguist-- (0+ / 0-)

        not a fundraiser or organizer.  I assume that he's thinking more of grassroots organizing, since he dismisses the idea of Obama or the DNC mounting such an effort.  

        Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul . . .

        by cranquette on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:23:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I read it all and like it. Just one (14+ / 0-)

    thought though. People believe Obama made a mistake by mentioning Rush Limbaugh in passing remarks based on the assumption that for the House Republicans to vote en-masse against the Stimulus bill was a failure of the bi-partisan approach. This is where I take issue. Bi-partisanship does not mean everybody should agree at all times. A bi-partisan approach is a deliberate tendency to consult others and hear their views even if you knew in advance they were against you. It is a value which goes to character. The result of consultation does not negate the method. You can't say a father should forsake his son because he refuses to respond to his fatherly love. It is the nature of a good father to love his son whether that love is returned or not and that's how I understand values.
    Too many progressives on this blog have no clue about the bi-conceptualism, empathy etc ideas you raise and seem to have been raised on the superficial hollywood Americanism that says that combat is manly and peaceful is weak. In this lack of a deeper education they have no clue that words are mightier than the sword and that real fighting is never physical. Wars and physical conflicts are just the results, the symptoms, of deeper philosophical and psychological conflicts that consume societies. Those who know how to fight word wars are the ones more likely to bring about lasting peace in society. The progressives  see in Obama's approach to governing pacifism and thus weakness whereas Obama's real strength is his clear grasp of the fact that the greatest conflicts are psychological and therefore the only chance of winning them is through nuanced and principled social discourse and not swashbuckling and thoughtless political combat. It is important to distinguish this trait of the President lest people misunderstand and think that being meek and mild is what Obama is doing. When he needs to stand his ground on principle and fight he does so and that is why he is President. But isn't it nice to have a leader who will only be drawn into a fight to defend his principles only when he knows he is right? Obama may be all the things mentioned in your diary but some of us are simple-minded and I just wanted to point out that this does not mean he is a Bambi or a pushover.

    I offer everyone peace but should any one attack this comment I will fight back tooth and nail! Peace and out.

    •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

      Mentioning Limbaugh was not a mistake.  I heard the guy once years ago when he did a send-up of Ted Kennedy that was pretty funny.  Until I started subscribing to my hometown newspaper in the U.P.  I had no idea of how even more insular the area had become over the last few decades.  

      As time has passed, the radio talkers have become more vitrolic in their competion for listeners.  Exposing the rhetoric like KO does is necessary for these guys to be outed for the buffoons they are.  Once the sponsors start hearing from listeners who are disgusted by this, the station owners will have to decide whether they want to pay the talkers' freight themselves or cut them loose.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:51:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment (4+ / 0-)

      Physical wars are the result of the diplomatic failure of ideas as expressed in words -  I think is what you said, partly.
      Economics is a manifestation of our psychology, as we're seeing now.  Notice how the economy came to a sudden stanstill one day in September when the Bush Admin announced the need for $1 trillion in bail out money, or marshall law may have to be implemented.  That's the psychological power of words, eh?

      Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

      by gatorcog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:13:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  George--Thank you for this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    UC Berkeley must be a wild place.  Do you attend faculty teas with John Yoo?
    Cheers!

    Note to Cheney on fall elections: "This is our due."

    by NepentheRising on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:52:04 AM PST

  •  Cut, paste, send..... (5+ / 0-)

    Tell your friends that it is a bit long but WELL WORTH the read. And, we do have systems to get our voice out. It is PBS and NPR - and others. It is also film (Hollywood, Baliwood, Sundance, etc.). Obama has a lot of support. There are a lot of folks listening - folks who like what they're hearing compared with what they've heard (from Bushies and friends). The tide is changing.

  •  WOW.......................... (8+ / 0-)

    "he is communicating that mere individual responsibility will not get you into Heaven, that social responsibility and making the world better is required."

    Thank you for this wonderful diary.  One of the best... IMHO.

  •  Government by, of, and for the people (6+ / 0-)

    not the corporations and interest groups.  We can be the machine that carries this message.  One way to do this is by having the discussion at every opportunity--with friends, coworkers, family.

    One thing I've learned is that political leaders are rare.  Most though will be happy to jump in front of a moving crowd and call it their parade.  We can be that crowd.

    I take issue on one point only--that the causes of the financial morass are not local and direct.  I suspect that if we investigate with an eye to prosecuting evil doers we will find that a small number of lobbyists, financial executives and Congresspeople changed the laws (system) to allow what would have been criminal fraud--the valuations of the packaged securities.

    The thing I couldn't figure out about the financial mess was 'whose interests were served by selling bad mortgages?'.  The only answer I can come up with is 'those who intended to securitize them and price them fraudulently'.  They would make money on the selling the security and then make money by betting against the security with the CDSs and CDOs  Would anyone dare risk such a gigantic crime without first creating the immoral but legal cover of a purpose made law?

    This exception may only prove the rule, because the local, direct action was an action that changed the system.

    "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

    by Mosquito Pilot on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:04:40 AM PST

  •  Another Adjustment We Must Make (5+ / 0-)

    is that Obama gives us the truth.  We are so used to bullshit that we do not know how to handle the truth.

  •  Also, Obama seldom if ever gets angry, or allows (5+ / 0-)

    others' comments to noticeably upset him.  Despite some of the head right wing nuts, e.g. Congressman Eric Cantor, continuing obstructionism, Obama continues to reach out to them with grace. Obama is the best example of what I refer to as a true "servant leader".

    Dreams have a way of betraying you when you use them to escape. Ask yourself why you dream what you dream.

    by brjzn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:20:31 AM PST

  •  Part of a successful campaign (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens, thethinveil

    for effective communication of values based progressive ideas is the grass roots component.

    Just keep talking, e-mailing, texting, and facebooking the core values and they will begin to stick.

  •  Excellent Analysis! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, linkage, LynneK, Larsstephens

    Thank you Dr. Lakoff for your insight as only you can provide on the deeper meaning of President Obama's words and ideas. The spoken word and pen is mightier than the sword....

    President Obama I am sure will continue to use the moral and ethical high ground to make his points...

    The Republicans took a shiny new Cadillac in 2000 and recklessly drove it off of a cliff...

    Leave it up to the Democrats to put the pieces back together and repair all of the damage....

    This is going to take a long time to fix...

    After the work is done we shall see a newer, leaner, meaner vehicle...one that will be better able to meet the challenges of the future...

  •  Missing Element: Power of Institutions (4+ / 0-)

    Lakoff treats the Republican Party as if it is simply a group of individuals arrayed along a spectrum from intransigent "movement conservatives" (whose focus on policy outcomes makes them relatively unreachable) to more modern and moderate conservatives (who can be swayed on individual issues with value appeals).

    This analysis manages to side-step the institutional power of the Republican Party, both within Congress and at the grassroots level.  The unanimous votes of Republicans in the House against stimulus don't tell us that every single GOP Congressperson is an equally radical conservative. Mike Castle, on a personal level, isn't Eric Cantor.  But it doesn't matter. Because the institution of the GOP makes the Mike Castles (at least in Congress) act like Eric Cantors.  In the Senate and among Governors, there is a bit more room for individual difference...but only a bit.

    There are, in fact, tens of millions of moderately conservative Republicans in America who can, on an individual level, be appealed to a la Lakoff. But, by design, they have very little leverage within their party.

    And whatever the dynamics of these value-appeals to individual conservatives, negotiating with the individual Republican politicians is still a little like negotiating with "individual" Borg.

    Nobody knows what kind of trouble we're in / Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

    by GreenSooner on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:31:13 AM PST

  •  An excellent piece of insight into Obama (9+ / 0-)

    and his political and communications mindset.

    One bone to pick - re. Limbaugh. I do not think it was a "mistake" for Obama to single Limbaugh out.

    Eric Hoffer in "The True Believer" observed that, "Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil."

    Limbaugh has grow wealthy and influential in acting upon this simple maxim. Obama knows this, and knows, I think, that it is the real core of populist appeal advanced by "movement conservatism."

    Usually, Obama does not trade in demonization - and I believe he does not here, with this move on Limbaughism. What he has done with this, I think, is to tap the politics of irony, of provocation, of contrast - and yes, of social division.

    In singling out Limbaugh for attention, Obama has invited Limbaugh to be himself. And, of course, Rush has taken the bait - and shown his devil ways for what they are and for all to see and hear.

    "The millions who are in want will not stand idly by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach." Franklin Roosevelt

    by semiot on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:41:32 AM PST

  •  it's habeas corpus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorpiorising, linkage, Edgewater

    and rendition and . . . every few days so far, the Obama administration puts its imprimatur on another Bush outrage. If the folks in the new administration aren't careful, they're going to find their names on the Hague's Most Wanted List, along with those of Bush, Cheney, Wolfie, Yoo, etc.

  •  US needs a dose of "Yes we can!" from Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, linkage

    Obama needs to deliver a Hope speech.

    US needs what FDR provided during the Depression, hope that help was on the way.

    If he'd only take bold action on the banks and propose the Swedish solution, "bad bank" for the mortgages and property and nationalize banks that still can't make it. He'd have people believing again.

    As for the diarist's "code"...nice and all but it is the diarist's code not Obama's.

  •  How do you feel about Rahm dismissing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    your works on the use of linguistic frames?

  •  How About FIRING Dems Who Can't, Won't, Don't (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, scorpiorising, keikekaze, moira

    do Message?

    HOW can anyone call themself a 'leader' when they are incompetent against the fascist lie machine?

    I KNEW they were christo-fascists out to wreck everything for everyone, EXCEPT for their artistocrat turned fascist-lite leaders, when I was a 20 year 4.25 hour cook in 1980.

    and yet election after election, the Dem-O-Crises Du Jour is

    - 'vote for patty / maria / al / kerry / dukakis / clinton ... OR you'll have a meanie!'

    so we kept electing, or just nominating, these fucking sell outs and fucking messaging incompetents AND we get compromise with fascist policies over and over and over ...

    Has ANYONE noticed the LACK of support from DC Dem world for Obama's message?

    We're the party of brains and NO FUCKING SENSE.

    There are:

    - 100's of DC Dems, - 1000's of staffers doing media and communications and public relations... - TENS OF MILLIONS IN SALARIES

    and the best the fuckers can come up with IS snivelling and whining about how meanies and cheats and liars

    LIE, CHEAT AND STEAL.

    Isn't a little ... ironic? ... that many of our electeds forgot more than BushJr and RayGun ever knew, BUT

    our smarty pants don't have enough fucking sense to hire people to do killer message on THE TRUTH?

    thugs do killer message on lies,
    and we can't do message worth a fuck on the truth!

    there are 2 reasons for that problem:

    1. the people who are in charge are just in charge, they ain't 'leaders'. They're either political incompetents or sell outs or a mix of both.
    1. WE THE PEEEE-ONS keep electing these asshats.

    as a collective, we are getting what we paid for.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:12:48 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, linkage, Larsstephens

    George.  Thank you so much for taking the time to spell this out.  I've thought of bits and pieces of this at different times but it's so nice to have it all sorted into a more thoughtful and cohesive framework through which to view his communication and others' reactions.  

  •  It's claptrap like this that gives cognitive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minerva, scorpiorising, Edgewater

    science a bad name.

    Case in point:  Rick Warren isn't "biconceptual", whatever the fuck that means,  he's just an ass, as digby and others have ably documented.

    As a cognitive scientist myself, my advice is to read people with an empirical bent who develop models that make predictions. Kos, Hamsher, Digby, Greenwald, Atrios, Nate.

    Lakoff, Feldman, and Giordano are good examples of people who generate complicated models post hoc that organize no data and explain precisely nothing, in fancy terms that obscure the fact that these little castles of their imagination are built on thin air.

    "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

    by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:20:32 AM PST

    •  It comes down to Paul vs Jesus (17+ / 0-)

      in the New Testament.

      Conservatives refer to Pauline principles and progressives follow the social justice principles preached by Jesus.

      There has been a battle going on in Christian churches for 2000 years between progressives and conservatives. Jesus was a progressive but his movement was co-opted by Rome.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:32:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, linkage

      So if I read, and enjoy, and learn from all the names on your list and not just the ones you endorse, I'm what?  Less than you?

      Be sure and let us all know what you've accomplished in your cognitive science that compares with the real accomplishments of the three folks you just dropped a deuce on, science boy.

      You gotta give 'em hope. - Harvey Milk

      by abrauer on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:33:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's exactly right...with one minor correction: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, xenophon, reahti, SherriG, swaminathan

      I don't build on air. Price of air has gone up, recession and all.  I build on fairy dust.  And if there's none of that:  poodles--herds of teacup poodles with fancy blue bows that match my fancy terms.  And I take issue with the claim that there's no science in my models.  When I write, I take out a little chemistry set with test tubes and microscopes and arrange them all on the end of my desk.  It's definitely science, because it's got the word  'SCIENCE' written right there on the box next to a picture of a guy with a white jacket and some protective goggles. And that Kos dude?  I mean, would he even know what to do with a Bunsen burner if it walked up and bit him in the leg (which they do, FYI)? Doubtful.  And Atrios?  Puh-leeze...Atrios couldn't tell a test tube from a hole in the wall if I propped him in a chair and wrote instructions on his hand-- which I have tried, but he just stares at me all doe-eyed like I'm supposed to pack him a lunch and drop him off at Gymboree. And that's exactly my point.  

      Other than that, agree 100% with your comment.  Well said...

      ---
      Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

      by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:44:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "frameshop" stuff (0+ / 0-)

        just never gelled for me.  It seemed like there were endless degrees of freedom, so that as a "model" it was basically saturated.  My first thought was always "When all you've got's a hammer"...

        "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

        by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:30:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am crushed... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, reahti, SherriG, linkage

          and yet fascinated by your constant circling back to viscous liquids.  Lakoff 'jizzes,' Frameshop doesn't 'gel.'  

          Trying to prove to other people that the science we do over here is really real science, but the science they do over there really isn't?  That's precious.  And oddly entertaining...

          ---
          Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

          by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:42:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Science! (0+ / 0-)

            I haven't said thing one about my science.

            I've said that your analytical framework seems too flexible to be worth much as an explanation.

            Take it or leave it.

            "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

            by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:47:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Must disagree, most wholeheartedly. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty, linkage, Larsstephens

      First, it appears to me extremely likely that President Obama has either read Lakoff, or is at least familiar with him.  That is, of course, only speculation on my part, but I'd still bet a beer on it.

      Next, I've read Lakoff.  I'm also interested in cognitive science, especially cognitive neuroscience, but Lakoff's discipline is in language and linguistics, in the formation and expression of essential ideas. Unlike what itswhatson claims,

      Lakoff, Feldman, and Giordano are good examples of people who generate complicated models post hoc that organize no data and explain precisely nothing, in fancy terms that obscure the fact that these little castles of their imagination are built on thin air.

      ,

      I have no problem understanding Lakoff at all.  In fact, his "complicated models" are not at all complicated to my way of understanding, but they are complex.  I'm no genius, and yet the complexity of Lakoff remains quite within my comprehension.

      Finally, I find it difficult to believe itswhatson can claim much credibility as a "cognitive scientist" when I read a statement that is so simpleton as "[Rick Warren is] just an ass."  No, he's not.  Warren is intellectually deficient and wholly in the thrall of supernaturalistic crapola, yes, but there is still a side of him that is humanistic, empathetic, and responsible.  By definition, no such person is "just an ass".

      FWIW, itswhatson's comment is this close to donut-worthy.

      The question is not what, but who you want to be. --F.R. Prince

      by cn4st4datrees on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:58:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "this close to donut-worthy" (0+ / 0-)

        Tease.

        "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

        by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:10:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I assure you I wasn't teasing. (0+ / 0-)

          Neither do I casually HR anyone; as long as comments are not blatantly inflammatory I let them slide, but "jizzed" (as used by you in one of your other comments as an ad hominem attack against Lakoff) was very undignified.

          I'll leave it go at that.

          Peace.

          The question is not what, but who you want to be. --F.R. Prince

          by cn4st4datrees on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:11:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "humanistic, empathetic, and responsible" (0+ / 0-)

        I got a bridge in Florida you will just love.  Cheap, too.  

        Seriously:  If you haven't, read digby on what Warren is up to.  It's a theory, too, but she actually looks at some data, and links it into a lot of relevant context.

        FWIW, there was a time when I also thought Warren was ok -- not great, but not insane.  He still might be, and you might be right.  But Lakoff's philosophical cotton candy isn't going to shed light on it one way or t'other.

        "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

        by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:14:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage, Larsstephens

          I am fairly well versed on Warren, and I think I made it clear that I do not hold him in high esteem -- quite the contrary -- I think rather lowly of him.

          I read Digby from time to time, and I highly respect her opinions and her research into facts, and am seldom in disagreement with her.

          As for what Lakoff has to offer as being "philosophical cotton candy" that is your opinion and you're entitled to it.  But from where I stand I believe a lot of progressives got his message about "framing" at least, and it has been through applying the proper frames to our progressive values and arguments that we have swung the outcomes of many, many elections our way in the recent past few years.

          But that, of course, is just my opinion.

          The question is not what, but who you want to be. --F.R. Prince

          by cn4st4datrees on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:06:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Man, I kind of hate to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Minerva, linkage, itswhatson

      agree, because this guy is on our side and because I so want to respect thoughtfulness and erudition... but you're kinda right.

      The entire diary/essay is just a long exploration of one narrative trying to get a hold of reality. It's no more interesting or insightful or uselful than any other reality.

      And at its base, to hold it together, it presumes that there's one way of rationally receiving everything a political figure is saying. That is so simplified as to be effectively useless as a way of understanding the world.

      Epistemologically, I've become really pessimistic about the helpfulness of most social sciences in getting even remotely close to the truth of many human phenomena.

      Truth is what most contradicts itself in time.

      by Blicero on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:03:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shoot, I mean (0+ / 0-)

        "no more insightful or useful than any other narrative."

        Truth is what most contradicts itself in time.

        by Blicero on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:05:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is the problem with being Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        Good ideas take disagreeing with our own to generate.  I have no doubt that Lakoff is on our side, like Feldman and I guess Giordano (when he's not "reporting" on drugs from Peru or wherever).  I also have no doubt he considers himself a theoretician, and that he has copious expertise in cognitive science in general and linguistics in particular.  

        But this stuff today is just Sokal meets progressoporn.

        "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

        by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:17:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a former student of Lakoff's (12+ / 0-)

      from several decades ago, and I feel your pain. But I think that Lakoff's approach to linguistics (or "cognitive science") has always been that of a consolidator and gadfly rather than a workhorse or a, um, drudge. As a grad student, I used to use the term "insight junkie" to describe what many linguists do, Lakoff better than most: immerse oneself in data (whatever you consider data to be, in his case thousands of published and unpublished papers, conference reports, and conversations with virtually everybody in the field), mull it all over, and come up with a new insight from it. Most of these insights tend to be sort of "inside jokes" in the sense that they really cannot be shared by people outside the field, but some, including several excellent examples by Lakoff, have been general enough that they can be shared by non-linguists and non-cognitive scientists. I think that this diary, which really doesn't rest on the scientific method in the sense it is normally construed, achieves that purpose. It is an insight into President Obama from a linguist's perspective that is sufficiently general and striking that it will be useful to many non-linguists in understanding an important attribute of Obama's approach to his job. I think that this is very important.

      I'll say one other thing about this. Since Chomsky, many linguists have engaged in political activity of some sort. That is, many linguists of a certain age apply the same methods to understanding and digesting politics as they do to language and language use. So, if they are "insight junkies", then they try to come up with various frameworks or perspectives on the political scene that are fruitful with regard to insight. Once Lakoff had the idea that it might be useful to de"code" Obama's moral "code", plus the idea that similar sets of political values and beliefs could be realized as various conflicting real programs, he had a new and useful way of seeing things, which he is now in the process of sharing in the form of thinking, writing, and undoubtedly speaking.

      So my bottom line is that his diary in and of itself, is not "science". It's politics from a scientist's perspective. And its purpose is not to convey an empirically testable theory or model in the conventional sense. It's purpose it to share with the grand public a conceptual structure that brought Lakoff insight into Barack Obama as president, in the hope that it will bring further insight, in unknown ways, into other puzzles. Which isn't a bad thing.

      Greg Shenaut

    •  claptrap by itswhatson ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      Before I started studying George Lakoff I did not understand what the Republicans were doing. I sadly watched as they dismantled, corrupted, and destroyed those progressive values that I believed in. I felt helpless.

      Now, 4 years later, George Lakoff has given me a framework to understand the political landscape. And, has empowered me. I do not feel helpless, I understand what is going on.

      Biconceptual is a useful "frame" to use when working on my local community activism. I'm reaching out to a number of local Republicans, and when I'm working with them I watch them switch between modes. By being aware of how they think it has given me a power to challenge and change them.

      Much of what Lakoff is doing is qualitative in nature and is not understood in quantitative terms. But, it is the qualitative description of the "Political Mind" that has empowered me.

      At least if the Republicans kill me, or this planet I will go to my grave knowing what I was fighting for.

      Read Lakoff's The Political Mind and understand how Republicans and Progressives think. Take control of your understanding of politics.

      Regards,

      JON

      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:37:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  too harsh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, linkage, Larsstephens

      On the one hand, scholars in any one of a number of fields will quickly notice that there's nothing original here.  I've been one of his harshest critics (from an academic perspective) on this site -- not an easy thing to do given his vast number of followers -- so I do understand your point.  

      But on the other hand, he's doing more than just about anyone else to bridge the gap between established academic wisdom and progressive activism.  Do I wish his theoretical renderings were less idiosyncratic and ad hoc?  Of course.  But that's not for me to decide, unless I'm willing to put my professional, nearly-tenured neck on the line to further the cause to the extent that he does.  So while the whole "organize no data and explain nothing" might be true from a scientific perspective, the goals of his popular writings have never been to produce innovative or even normal science.  And, though sometimes I get a bit weirded about by his cultish following, he has given genuine ammunition to a large number of progressives in the ongoing political-rhetorical battles.

      The moral arc of the universe just had one hell of a bend.

      by cardinal on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:56:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it's true that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, Larsstephens

        he has given genuine ammunition to a large number of progressives in the ongoing political-rhetorical battles

        ... then that's great. But the really effective progressives seem to get it in a way that all his superstructure seems to interfere with. Put another way, there's no substitute for skill or implicit knowledge in these things, and people working at the controlled level just aren't going to have much impact. (In the latter camp I firmly include myself.)

        In fact, in a nutshell, that's all he's saying about Obama, for whom it all seems to be automatic -- and who wouldn't be where he was if it weren't.

        nearly-tenured neck

        Good luck with that.

        "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

        by itswhatson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:48:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Speaking of claptrap! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Larsstephens

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:50:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do you do when his code... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minerva

    matches there, in terms of the need "to get entitlements under control", and halving the deficit in 4 years"...what a pipe dream. If he does, it will be at the expense of social programs.

  •  He forgot to mention the sacred feminine (4+ / 0-)

    No wait... I'm thinking of the DaVinci code.

    (It would have fit in just fine, though.)

    We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

    by Minerva on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:42:02 AM PST

  •  I consider myself a liberal (5+ / 0-)

    although I have had my conservative period.  I know that I can be fooled by words just like any other human.  But what I want from the Obama administration is partly what I AM getting - clear talk, transparency in fiscal issues rather than the "off books" accounting the repubs did with the war and apparently the FEMA industry.  But I want more, and that more is partly from congress and partly from Obama.

    I want to see congress shape up and own up to the fact it has broken itself and allowed its powers to be preempted by the Bushco.  It can and should step up and do inherent contempt not asking for either the courts or Obama to "fix" it for them.

    Health care in this country is broken.  It should be fixed by congress, but only after they throw off that money yoke that pharma and other health care industries have thrown over them.  Please please please, no more bills written by the industries that are affected.

    But I don't want to see Obama shield Bushco.  I want Obama to step aside and let either the DoJ or congress deal with Bushco transgressions.  And for God's sakes do not take up Bushco harmful policies in regards to anything LEGAL!

  •  Correction: Not "Organizing for Obama"... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rita in DC, askew, raines, sherijr, Amayi

    Tellingly, the project to continue the campaign is called "Organizing for America".

  •  I love this diary. Very well reasoned. (4+ / 0-)

    And I agree completely with your statements about the values encoded in Obama's policies.

    Every time he comes out with a new policy, such as his plan to cut the deficit by reducing war spending and letting the federal looting by the rich expire, I feel a little more assured that we are moving in the right direction.

    None of his policies are perfect. But they are moving us boldly forward and, at the same time backwards, towards an America based on American ideals.

    "Big boss man..you ain't so big, just tall, that's all."

    by TheFatLadySings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:01:57 AM PST

  •  Organizing for America (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, raines, SherriG, DBunn, linkage, Amayi

    not Organizing for Obama. :-)

    "I inherited the deficit that we have right now, and the economic crisis that we have right now." President Obama

    by CoExistNow on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:02:44 AM PST

  •  Calling out Limbagh was no mistake (15+ / 0-)

    While name-checking Limbaugh undoubtedly bolstered Limbaugh's popularity among some, those people are not the biconceptual Republicans that Lakoff describes as receptive to bipartisan practice. I see the president's statement as something like Joseph Welch's, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

    By identifying the implacable nature of Limbaugh's antagonism, he is signaling that Limbaugh's views are now recognizable as marginal and extremist, just as Welch's words came at a time when the nation was weary of the paranoia and persecution of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Welch's remark was an invitation for people to distance themselves from McCarthy's policies by personalizing them. I see the president's remark as having a similar effect.

    In the short term that may rally the extremists. (Did the Birchers ever find a sense of decency?) But in the long term, it undermines Limbaugh's appeal to the people that Lakoff identifies as biconceptuals. Note, too, that the president followed up these remarks with talks in states like Indiana, Florida and Arizona, and has been acknowledged for his efforts by Republican governors such as Schwarzenegger and Crist.

    Limbaugh has had a good run, but it can't last forever. It's time to bell the cat, and the president has done just that.

    •  i agree, ignoring limbaugh has been the mistake (4+ / 0-)

      and i would add it is the main reason we are in this disaster.

      obama's mention of limbaugh may have given him a bump and to them that means more money but that's not the point - limbaugh and sons and the talk radio monopoly do the groundwork for the obama obstruction that will slow us down and the only reason they GOP is still a major party is that thinking  americans have completely ignored talk radio. obama's mentioning of limbaugh increased their awareness of one of our biggest problems.

      left political strategists have been strategizing as if the pressure that has moved the political spectrum to the right is some kind of populist outrage instead of the well organized mobilization of lockstep dittoheads by a bunch of loudmouths who were given the biggest soapbox in the country when reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine.

      the trad media's owners have used that coordinated outrage to enable a truly pitiful crop of lazy celebrity talking heads who have made a living repeating GOP talking points and one liners only because they know they have been pounded into the earholes of tens of millions of americans by the end of the day and it really doesn't matter how absurd or irrational they are.

      i like most of lakoff's work but as long as progressives continue to allow limbaugh and sons the biggest megaphone in the country, dems can't frame an outhouse.

      obama can do some but it is made much harder by the fact that 1000 local radio stations attack and distort everything he has to say, 24/7, with little notice from those who have pledged to get his back.

      real change will only happen when the unions and the progressive organizations finally realize those stations are the real power centers of the GOP and enable most of the opposition to the progress we must see soon if we want to survive as a democracy.  listen call complain boycott picket the local stations and their local sponsors.

      ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

      by certainot on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:48:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, linkage, baudelairien, Larsstephens

      I heard a lot of talk about how Obama lowers himself to Limbaugh's level when he calls him out by name, and how giving him attention will only make things worse.  That may be conventional wisdom, and it may be valid some or most of the time.  But these are not conventional times.  Obama is doing to Limbaugh what the Republicans did to Michael Moore (though in that case I believe it was mostly an unfair characterization and in this case I believe it is more than justified.)  He is not only inviting what I call "reasonable Republicans" to break from Limbaugh, he is making it embarrassing for reasonable people to associate themselves with him.  A couple of months ago, I said that I really thought this was the end of the line for Rush.  I realize how resilient he is, and like Colbert I realize the "backwash" will persist, but I think that this time Limbaugh will be fully marginalized, and many people will come to their senses and realize he is, and has always been, an extremist.  America is waking up and there is finally some truth leaking through to the people via cracks in the media, competent leadership, new sources of information and word of mouth.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:55:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Watch Obama and what he has done and is doing. (5+ / 0-)

    He put Social Security and Medicare on the table.

    Then he invited a group of 'entitlement' haters to the table to decide what to do about them.

    Pete Peterson, David Walker, Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, oodles of Blue Dog Democrats who are republicans who call them selves Democrats. All these people want to gut Social Security and raise the retirement age.

    He did this after he promised he wouldn't cut benefits, raise the retirement age, that if he had to he would raise the cap on earning Social Security is based on.

    Peloski and Reid put a halt on Social Security massacre, telling Obama he was wasting precious capital, capital he needed to work on health care.  He is pushing for insurance and not nationalized health care, you know.

    •  I think there's a reason he did that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Larsstephens

      When he brings in extremists and tells them to put their (terrible) ideas on the table, he's exposing them for what they are.  He can say "hey, I let you guys make your moves, and nothing happened", and take the credot for being bipartisan and reasonable, and at the same time, telling Republicans to put up or shut up.  I think it's a good stratigery.

      Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

      by gatorcog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:21:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Robert Kuttner, 2-23: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bene Gesserit1, Larsstephens

      [...]...and Obama reportedly is lukewarm about the idea of a commission.

      Obama should indeed be wary of such a plan, and official briefings on his first budget suggest that he will drastically reduce the deficit by 2013, but without going after social insurance.

      What's wrong with the story of entitlements wrecking the economy? Plenty.[...]

      more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      So. Yesterday it seems, Obama relegated Peterson & deficit hawk pals to the bin. "Lukewarm" on the commission? Sure. You can credit Pelosi/Reid if you choose. And/or, out-think Obama, if you're up for it. Your prerogative. Always.

  •  One of the most intelligent (9+ / 0-)

    and thought-provoking diaries I've ever read here on dkos, or frankly, anywhere.  

    Thinkers will be working to understand and articulate Obama's ideas, and the meaning of his words, for a long time.   This is probably the first that I have read that really digs into and offers a way of understanding what Obama is doing and saying.

    I think you have offered an interesting view of Obama's effort to reach out to conservatives, that is Republicans who share progressive "values" on some level.  Also, I think your point about the convservative megaphone is interesting.  Not being from the areas in the country where you say there is no challenge to the airwaves of Rush Limbaugh, I don't know how to assess what you are saying there.  I think it is clear, however, that even in the so-called "red" states, there are Democrats, whether socially conservative, and so-called progressives.

    I wonder though if the common ground for Obama-speak among the Republicans of today is more in the realm of populism--that is the dustbowl conservatives and the "redneck" conservatives who work for a damn living--may be more open to the "values" talk and to the idea of systematic problems needing big systematic solutions.  

    I think you are not giving enough credit to people in the Republican strongholds for independent thinking.  Rush Limbaugh is not as powerful as he and others think he is.  I think Obama mentioning him is as much to point out the source of the ideas and talking points as toto pulling back the curtain on the wizard--look its just a goofball twirling in his chair coughing into the wind!  Where are the brains; where is the mind, the "courage" perhaps?  And as you I think beautifully and correctly point out:  where is the Heart??  

    This is most critical, and I think people on the conservative side are waking up to this:  Your line about Bush the Decider who listens to no one and cares about no one absolutely right on.  Note:  Obama won in November.  I think people are catching on.

  •  much food for thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    as usual with Mr. Lakoff. I wish he'd stick around sometimes & comment.

    I'm re-reading & contemplating the part about Warren. Fairly certain I disagree about Warren sharing any progressive views - I think he may have expressed values about the environment, but if you don't believe in the equality of all humans, there is fundamentally nothing progressive about anything else you do. There is nowhere to go from "God doesn't love you because you're gay" that leads you anywhere progressive.

    But I'll re-read the section, and will contemplate the humanity of Warren. Perhaps I'm wrong about him. I don't think so, but maybe.

  •  Empathy must be balanced with self interest. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Leftcandid

    Empathy is why we have the values of freedom, fairness, and equality — for everyone, not just for certain individuals. If we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we will want them to be free and treated fairly.

    Conservatives actually do use empathy to their advantage in a fairly destructive way. Empathy is how they have convinced poor people all across America how "unfair" it is to tax the rich. If these people would simply act with more self-interest, it would lead to them supporting a more progressive tax structure.

    Then again, maybe this isn't "empathy" so much as "fantasy'; the fantasy that YOU TOO may someday be rich (and therefore heavily taxed).  Give it up folks, if you weren't born rich, you likely will never be rich...

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:27:50 AM PST

    •  Guilt and shame (5+ / 0-)

      I think the tools they use are guilt and shame, much like some institutions of organized religion.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:15:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can I speak to that? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wystler, joanneleon, linkage, Jampacked

        As a member of an organized religion, I'd just like to mention that there's a big difference between guilt and toxic shame.

        Guilt is personal - it's a sense of not measuring up to one's own standards or to the standards of one's own God/moral code.

        Shame is also personal, but it's relational too.  Shame is what corporate fat cats ought to feel for cheating the system or taking bonuses or flying corporate jets to ask for a bailout.  Shame involves empathy - a sense of responsibility not only to oneself but also to others.

        Toxic shame is based on toxic relationships.  It happens when someone says, basically, "Shame on you!"  The toxic relationship comes from boundary violations - failing to respect the difference of the Other or failure to protect one's personal values from intrusion.  Sometimes, it's toxic because we are too vulnerable or lack the ego strength to respect ourselves.  Other times, it's toxic because we are abused - treated as means to others' ends instead of being treated as fully human and truly equal.

        I think a lot of what characterized political discourse was rooted in fear and resentment.  GW Bush (more importantly, Rove) was a "dry drunk".  He relied on fear and control, and was fundamentally abusive in creating loyalty demands which led to accepting the unacceptable and tolerating the intolerable.  That's what we have to avoid - and that's why Obama is such a transcendent and "game-changing" leader.  Best of all, Obama's a "great communicator" in ways that transcend Reagan - he's responsive in addition to being perceived as trustworthy.  That responsiveness builds REAL trust in addition to the mere perception of trust.

        Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

        by Benintn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:20:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage

          Thanks for the interesting comment.

          I was also a member of an organized religion for many years and went to Catholic schools for thirteen of those years.  I suppose the shame I'm talking about is the type of manipulative shaming that was common, which led to guilt, especially in people too young to know how to guard against it.  Fear was a big part of it, I agree.  In my experience, even the parents tended to be afraid of the "authorities" to some extent.  Looking back now I can find humor in it.  My experience was pretty good, compared to others I've heard about.  But one thing I know is that there was never a level playing field in that environment.

          Your words about guilt being a sense of not measuring up to God's standards make me wonder whether it was even humanly possible to measure up, in that religion, at that time.  I had never really thought of it quite that way.  I'd have to think more about it but at this moment, I think it was probably impossible, and perhaps by design.

          At some point I decided that I did not want to be a member of any organized religion, and I wanted my children to be old enough to think for themselves before being exposed to one.  We did experiment with other churches for some time, looking for something that might work for us, but we were unsuccessful.  That may change in the future, I don't know.  There is so much that has gone wrong with religion in this country.  For today, I choose to keep that aspect of my life as a personal experience.

          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

          by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:45:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  that ain't empathy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SecondComing, linkage

      Conservatives actually do use empathy to their advantage in a fairly destructive way. Empathy is how they have convinced poor people all across America how "unfair" it is to tax the rich. If these people would simply act with more self-interest, it would lead to them supporting a more progressive tax structure.

      That ain't empathy. It's flim-flam, playing on greed.

      The unspoken: "Some day, when you're rich ..."

      The misinformation is massive. The right talks of a death tax. The average voter has no idea how big an estate can be before the tax kicks in.

      R.I.P. Chicago Eddie Schwartz (May 5, 1946 - February 4, 2009)

      by wystler on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:09:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've saved this for re-reading later. (5+ / 0-)

    Very excellent! Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    This is going to be a major paradigm shift. If we can all get excited about it instead of being fearful, I think the world will emerge transformed and very much more evolved.

  •  Free Market without Rules, leads to ?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, linkage

    People need Help -- Not more Platitudes,
    which is basically all the Free Marketeers have to offer.

    Waiting for the Markets to correct themselves
    doesn't put Food on the Table,
    or Mortgages back above water,
    or Opportunity back into local American neighborhoods.

    The Culture of Greed,
    just wreaks Damage where ever it goes --
    and then they either ignore their wreckage,
    or explain it away, as just the "efficiency of the Marketplace" --

    Damn Efficiency!

    What ever happened to Quality of Life,
    the Pursuit of Happiness,
    and some Honesty in our Govt,
    and some Security in our individual Futures?

    When will the "Free Marketplace",
    address those very human needs?


    Corporations and Institutions must pursue Long-term solutions,
    over short-term Profits,
    that's what People must do everyday.

    The Profit Motive, is a poor driver
    to arrive at Long-term solutions --
    Just look at the current Economic Mess,
    that that Free Market has left us.

    The "Invisible Hand" of has taken its Profits,
    and has now "Left the Building" ...

    Leaving Immense Problems, on every front.
    Where is that "Rising tide to lift all Boats"?
    My boat has been left stranded among the rocks ...

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

    by jamess on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:30:19 AM PST

  •  Magic Decoder Rings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy

    Things like this

    For supporters of the President, it is crucial to understand the Code in order to talk overtly about the old values our new president is communicating. It is necessary because tens of millions of Americans—both conservatives and progressives—don’t yet perceive the vital sea change that Obama is bringing about.

    are unhelpful right now, in my opinion.  Right now, more than any other time in my lifetime, I am hearing straight, honest talk from many leaders, both official and unofficial.  Yesterday's wrap up meeting on global warming at the economic summit was an incredibly refreshing example of it.  If we start going on about talking in code (worse yet, "The Code") it will only stir up wariness and distrust among diverse and tentative groups of people who are trying to work together.  Implying that only "supporters of the President" will know how to decipher "The Code" will serve to alienate people, and will not encourage unity, finding common ground and collaboration toward shared goals.

    Excessive talk about morality is also unhelpful right now.  I understand that there are moral undertones in all of this, but they are just everyday life morals and really don't need to be discussed ad nauseum.  We've been "moral valued" to death for the last three decades.  And where has it gotten us?

    I strongly disagree that people don't yet perceive the sea change.  In fact, it is the American people who have been demanding the sea change and it is the leadership of this country (with the exception of a relative few visionaries) who are now finally catching up with the people.  We are past the point where only the early adopters are embracing the changes.  Have you not been out in the world lately?  Schools are "greening up" by significantly reducing the use of paper and even Wal-Mart has implemented numerous conservation programs.  Many thousands of people in Pennsylvania switched their party affiliations last fall.  A recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll indicates that Americans trust the current government leaders more than business leaders to handle economic problems and there is trust in both Democrats and labor unions despite efforts of Republicans and the media megaphone to convince them otherwise.  We've reached a critical mass.

    I reject "The Obama Code."  You can keep your magic decoder rings.  We don't need them to understand what's being said and what's going on.  The reason why the message being spread today is resonating with a broad swath of people is precisely because it is not being broadcast in any "Code".

    For most people here, this the message we've been struggling to diffuse, finally bubbling up to the surface.  Furthermore, if you publish articles like this, it will be like low hanging fruit for the worst sort of Republicans and others who do not have our best interests at heart to snatch, and they will twist your words and use them to sow seeds of dissension.  And that won't help anyone.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:30:47 AM PST

    •  Agreed. What we need now is common sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, joanneleon

      more than morality. The zombie banks should die, not because of some moral reason, but because it is fiscally insane to keep them around.  We should tax the rich, not for moral reasons, but because it's the only way out of our financial hole.

      We can sell the wholesale abandonment of GOP policies simply because they don't work.  Sure they are immoral.  But more importantly, they don't even achieve what they claim to achieve.  Let's root out the failure and strive for competence.  Morality should be at the root of all policies, but common sense and competence MUST be the main basis.

      I am a nuts and bolts pragmatic, and I think Obama is too.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:36:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's exactly right, because before this article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty, linkage

      the Republicans have all been super agreeable and helpful.  Damn this article...it's going to make the Republicans difficult to work with!

      ---
      Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

      by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:48:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since you chose only the last two sentences (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        then let's work on that point.  Clearly, the Republicans in Congress have been obstructing, and clearly their caucus has decided to follow some kind of misguided strategy cooked up by Newt Gingrich and others of his ilk.  It's also pretty clear that they are desperate.  This group is incapable of original thought.  I believe that they've been sold on the fact that if they follow old strategies and use old techniques, they can recreate 1992-94 and gain control of Congress.  I also think these are the actions and thoughts of a delusional, corrupt and bankrupt party that inhabits the halls of Congress.  

        But others have not taken this approach.  And there are signs that the members of the party are not necessarily buying what their political leaders are selling.  The same poll I cited above indicates that people realize the Republicans are playing politics and that Obama and his supporters are working on real solutions.  

        So, while Congressional Republicans are, as you say, "difficult to work with," there are others at the table who are not.

        Now, back to the article at hand.  How, in your opinion, will this help Republicans become less difficult to work with?  Do you disagree that they will tend to grab this kind of thing and twist it, use it to reinforce the "cult" meme and in general, use it to try to alienate and sow dissension?  

        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

        by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:12:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, I disagree (8+ / 0-)

          There isn't even a 'cult meme' out there anymore.  That was the election.  Last I checked, the Republicans were attacking the administration for profligate spending and for covertly electing a non-citizen--which, you know, is a really important issue (not).

          The whole idea that it is somehow dangerous politically to discuss the language of the debate is ridiculous. Not interested in this analytical perspective?  Great. Keep moving.  But the various comments in this thread that cry 'danger!' in response to this diary--nonsense. 6-years after the framing discussion began, I no longer put on kid gloves to make this point.  Talking about framing is not bad for Democrats--it never has been.  And yet, people keep saying it is.  Show me one example of how talking about framing has ever been bad, and I will concede.

          Lakoff's style of analysis draws our attention to the relationship between the words spoken and the meanings received in political debate, and he does it by reconstructing his version of the unspoken story that gives a bunch of words meaning in context.  It's one approach among many, it has been and continues to be a valuable approach on many levels, and it will continue to make a contribution to the discussion.  

          ---
          Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

          by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:26:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This sounds (0+ / 0-)

            more like a temper tantrum than an honest discussion.  

            We disagree about whether some form of the cult meme lives on even though the election is over, and whether it will continue to be used in attempts to undermine Pres. Obama.  Also, regardless of who is right, this was only a small part of my point anyway -- a couple of words, added as an afterthought actually while finishing my comment, and perhaps unwisely because it may distract from overall argument.

            I think it's more than fair to debate about why writing articles titled "The Obama Code" and prescribing how his supporters should decipher "The Code" could be really problematic.  I never said that it was "somehow dangerous politically to discuss the language of the debate."  My objection was much more specific.  I am not one who reflexively opposes talk about framing and I never have been.  I am, however, strongly opposed to the overall framing of this particular article at this particular time.  

            The whole idea that it is somehow dangerous politically to discuss the language of the debate is ridiculous. Not interested in this analytical perspective?  Great. Keep moving.

            You have your opinion and others disagree.  Being an expert in the subject of framing doesn't mean that you can deem others' opinions as "ridiculous."  Disagreement (last time I checked) was still legal.  And, if you don't mind, I'll decide when to "keep moving".  How rude and arrogant of you to think you can decide who may participate.  

            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

            by joanneleon on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:30:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  you don't get it, do you (0+ / 0-)

      you seem to misunderstand the nuances of the word CODE

      would suggest MORAL POLITICS (or, at least, ELEPHANT) so you might understand what is an obvious misunderstanding of terms

      R.I.P. Chicago Eddie Schwartz (May 5, 1946 - February 4, 2009)

      by wystler on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:12:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You chose to make a cartoon of the word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ijames

      'code', and this secret decoder ring meme, which is your perfect right.

      It's a tongue in cheek parlor trick used by Prof Lakoff to make a point. It's a bit clumsy in its execution.

      But your "Drama"

      Furthermore, if you publish articles like this, it will be like low hanging fruit for the worst sort of Republicans and others who do not have our best interests at heart to snatch, and they will twist your words and use them to sow seeds of dissension.  And that won't help anyone.

      in comparison?
      Beyond ridiculous.

  •  Dont think of a slob- calling Rush out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, Larsstephens

    I dont think its a mistake nor a violation of the "first rule of framing" to call Rush Limbaugh out by name - depends on what your frame is, and its does not "give" the slob any more "power" than he had.

    In fact, it was a smooth move: the more everyday people see of Rush, the less they like him.  The contrast between Obama's massive explicit and implicit power and Limbaugh's limited power to bitch and moan to his faithful hardly makes Rush more powerful.

    Furthermore I find the whole tone of this article too ex post facto; Obama is a good guy, but hardly a saint and hardly free of vanity, ambition, and his own pet ideas, which may or may not comport with my moral own system or anyone else's for that matter.  

    The whole focus on frame may be misplaced- it did not help the GOP in the end, the supposed masters of the frame.  Reality has a way of forcing frames to conform, and I'm afraid thats what this diary is doing.....

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:45:38 AM PST

  •  This diary is creepy. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm not a Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, but parts of this diary sound scarily similar to the way cult members talk about their leaders (Heaven's Gate, etc).

    The only code Obama needs to convey is SPECIFIC plans with DETAIL on how he's going to force those bastard bankers to stop sitting on our money and start lending again.  And Tim Geitner better get his act together of dump him.

    We need LEADERSHIP now - not mulling and coded speechifying.  Obama is smart - he's GOT to do it.

  •  Media problem is very hard to solve (6+ / 0-)

    Wealthy and powerful interests have purchased and consolidated most broadcast outlets -- radio and television -- in the US. As long as top dollar both owns media outlets and purchases their advertising, enabling the owners to set the moral code for both news and entertainment, I don't see how the big-money media machine can be defeated.

    Laissez-faire capitalism, as we know, has made a sad mess of our constitutional system. Surprisingly, it even made a mess of our finances. One of the key aspects of these failures is intimately related to big-money control of electronic broadcast media.

    In effect the large corporations have been continuously broadcasting anti-social propaganda, urging people to use resources and accumulate possessions as fast as possible. This unfortunate advocacy of waste and selfishness stretches at least as far back as the beginnings of commercial television in the late 1940s.

    Broadcasting paid for by advertising is almost literally a bargain with the devil. In the early stages of the bargain, everything seems to be going well. Material benefits are flowing in at apparently little or no cost. The deal looks better and better. Later, of course, it turns out that the soul-seller has lost both morality and control, and usually cannot get them back.

    Sixty years is a long time for the implicit advertising-based moral system fostered by radio and TV to sink in and act like the only game in town. Countering that advantage may turn out to be far more difficult than electing a very lucky guy called Barack Obama after eight years of Bush's grotesque failures.

    On the bright side, it seems as if the worldwide capitalist economic system is in a state of collapse, with government ownership of banks being literally forced onto the Obama administration by circumstances  beyond its immediate control. The present situation could be an opportunity to reshape our system of commerce and ownership and gradually reverse the affects of 60 years of bad propaganda.

    "This document is totally non-redactable and non-segregable and cannot even be meaningfully described." *

    by dratman on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:02:43 AM PST

  •  Excellent Analysis, George. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, sherijr, Larsstephens

    Thanks!

  •  wonderful diary. I have not yet read it (4+ / 0-)

    as thoroughly as it deserves because I have not yet had my first cup of tea, but it will be my 'lesson of the day' and I shall use it to guide my thoughts and reading.

    The more we fully understand President Obama's verbal language, body language, and action example, as personified yesterday in the exchange between he and McCain on the marine helicopter and Eric Kantor on hoping one day Cantor will actually approve of something he  says and does, he got his points across with wit, humour and a sting in the tail.

    Understanding all this will help us make our own rebuttals to the over simplistic hammering of the punditry personified last night by Chris Matthews interwx with Jum Cramer and Pro Morici(sp?) on the economy. The audience is left with the belief that their solutions are right and the president is wrong, and nothing could have ben further from reality.

    Thank you Mr. Lakoff for helping us all to find our own levels of where we can be of constructive help in turning this massive planet around.

    WE definitely need to learn to read the Navaho Code of Politics 101!!!!!

  •  As a therapist, (18+ / 0-)

    I say things to my clients on purpose.  I'm not wasting words or throwing out questions or ideas for no good reason.  Often, the first time around, the concept gets missed.  

    I can't tell you the number of clients who tell me - "I didn't get what you were saying to me at the time but now I see how important what you said to me was."

    I constantly hear Obama, through speech, laying out his vision, passing on moral concepts, expressing a value system and hitting upon universal truths and asking questions that make me think about myself.  He moves me and inspires me.

    He embodies the old values of democracy.  He expresses his concept of democracy the way I was raised to understand it.

  •  "What they miss is the Obama Code." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, CanyonWren, Larsstephens

    You're right, they do miss it.  That's a bad thing.

    Maybe this code thing should be communicated better.  Americans aren't a bunch of acamdemic types.

    •  this is exactly what WE miss as (6+ / 0-)

      consumers of cable chatter because repetition of over simplified points is all we take from their supposed 'exchanges' which basically is a hammer hitting the same nail home oiver and over until it is firmly embedded in our heads.

      It is up to us to wear our helmets when we watch any of the media, or read anytnin on line or in print.

      We have the responsibility to sift the wheat from the chaff, their job is to indoctrinate us.

      Even young children can understand complicated and complex matters. My 12 year old grandson recently won a Science Fair award and went to the Regionals on the basis of a project examining gender and bias patterns in the recent election! if he got that at age 12, surely we the people can train ourselves to de-code complex patterns of indoctrination.

  •  Thank you, Professor Lakoff (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Sybil Liberty, linkage
    I've been sort of sticking my head in the sand lately because I can't take the endless drumbeat of the idiotic MSM and the right wing noise machine.  What you have written reaffirms my belief in our President.  It also disturbs me.

    The issue of who is going to counter the vast RWNM in the media is a big one.  We can't count on Congressional Democrats, as we have seen so far during the first month of the new administration.  And if the DNC can't do it, then who is going to coordinate our own media message?  President Obama and his staff are going to be forced to ramp up their own PR campaign.  It isn't enough to have gained the office or to be going ahead with plans and policies.  They have to endlessly, relentlessly sell them, and in doing so they must divert resources away from the basic tasks at hand.  

    It sucks, but it's reality.  

  •  Obama's critics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, linkage, Larsstephens

    I couldn't agree more about the importance of phrasing issues as values instead of specific programs.  Republicans have done a wonderful job of phrasing their entire ideology as a set of values - anti-beaurocracy, anti-'unAmerican', and so on while at the same time being the party of beaurocracy and anti-every-value-in-the-constitution.

    I would add one additional type of criticism that I think is barking up the wrong tree: the loudness and shrillness of the rhetoric instead of the content.  A few too many on the left would prefer someone who yells the answers loudly to one who would yell the right answers softly. Way too often, I hear people on the left espousing conservative arguments yelled loudly and phrased as a battle against Republicans.

  •  Haven't hotlisted a diary in a long time. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens, Anne933

    This one's a keeper.  This one is a Bible for all of us here.  So when we as progressives jump to programs = values (or lack thereof), go back and read this diary.  All of us.  Because if we fall into the same trap, then we are part of the problem and not the solution.  

    Lakoff, who is always right in my opinion, has never been more right than he is now.  

    Let's remember this.  Our future depends on it.  

  •  Progressive, American, & Obama's Values (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, linkage

    Progressive Values are American Values

    How does Obama's code speak in progressive values about torture, where Obama hasn't actually stopped continuing torture like Binyam Mohamed's at Guantanamo (and surely elsewhere)? How does that code speak in progressive values about Unitary Executive secrecy, as is continued to protect the torture programme? What about progressive values about privacy, where there has been no change in policy on FISA, violated on every American by telcos Obama is not pursuing for accountability? What about progressive values about bringing any number of Bush criminals to justice?

    Isn't that "code" just a way of saying one progressive thing, and doing some other regressive thing?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:30:13 AM PST

    •  You have proof that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      Gitmo prisoners have been tortured after Jan 20?
      Not Binyam Mohamed...he was released yesterday and is a free man. He was never tortured on Obama's watch. Obama arranged for him to be released.
      Why are you lying to smear President Obama?

  •  Wow, I wish I could take a class from you. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    ''I tell you, Democrats: Don't you stand down. I've had it up to here. I've had enough.'' Joe Biden in Akron, OH, Sept 08

    by Rachel in Vista on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:38:19 AM PST

  •  Extremely informative, George, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, Larsstephens

    I'm storing a copy of this diary for later study and use when necessary.

    I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Maura Satchell on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:58:38 AM PST

  •  I'm confused, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, SherriG, Larsstephens

    Global ecology and global economics are prime examples of systemic causation. Global warming is fundamentally a system phenomenon. That is why the very idea threatens conservative thinking.

     Didn't sunspots cause the housing market to collapse?

  •  Great diary - one of the best I've read. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherriG, keikekaze, Larsstephens

    Kudos!

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:01:09 AM PST

  •  People are simultaneously simpler and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Larsstephens

    more complex than conservative hard-liners would like to think.  Thus, their neo-con machinations do more than just large-scale damage.  Their message of personal responsibility is absorbed by people who "get" that their actions have large-scale consequences, but who are left with no alternate explanation beyond simple theistic dictum.  Why wouldn't they then turn and lash out from that corner they're painted into?

  •  Repub Conservative "values" are eternally failed (5+ / 0-)

    Somehow the distortion and ths spin were woven into the national narrative and it all gained such momentum under the Reagan gang and then reached warp speed with Gingrich and his self-important empty head/blowhard personna - and his parrots.  Destruction was inevitable.  I knew it long ago.  The lies could easily be measured when living abroad.  The change in the U.S. was real and scary.  When Bush the Lesser came into power, I made plans to leave this hell hole.  I am still here for reasons related to old age and lack of courage to once again make a major life change (besides my two lovely grandhcildren are here in South Florida).

    Now, Finally and in the name of all that is Good, we have a president and an administration that is competent, has the desire to succeed for the people, is proud of the real Republican nature of our government, is filled with grace and dignity, respects the other peoples of the world, rejects wars of choice, and wants to make the future better for our children.  Professor Lakoff explains much of this.  I doubt that 95.5% of most McCain/Palin Republicans could make it through the first three sentences of this diary.  We were nearly taken down by ignorance.

  •  Well written, but ultimately a plea to ignore the (0+ / 0-)

    obvious and "just trust."  Sorry, no thanks, I have a brain.

    Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

    by CanyonWren on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:15:00 AM PST

  •  Holy crap holy crap holy crap! It's Lakeoff!!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wystler, SecondComing, SherriG, linkage

    Holy crap!

    **tidies up hair**

    Hi!

    I studied Linguistics at the University of Iowa.

    **blush**

    HI! George Lakeoff!

    Maybe there's a god above, but all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who out-drew ya. -5.75, -5.03

    by Muskegon Critic on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:20:36 AM PST

    •  I mean Lakoff! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler, shpilk, Sybil Liberty, linkage

      How embarrassing.

      Hi!

      You're a major linguistics thinker. What are you doing here? Not to say here isn't a good place. But...holy crap!

      HI

      Maybe there's a god above, but all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who out-drew ya. -5.75, -5.03

      by Muskegon Critic on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:25:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  :) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Muskegon Critic

        that was fantastic, just sayin'.

      •  Gee, you know who he is? :) (3+ / 0-)

        He posts here from time to time. He rarely sticks around to respond to comments -- I'm not sure he ever does. Maybe he at least reads them later.  But I think mostly this is one of the places he puts out his thinking about current events. (And I'm glad to have him do that.)

        (By the way, completely OT -- You've posted some really nice photos. Especially one of boats in winter with snow on them, in a very blue dusk. Beautiful. Hope you keep it up. I lived in Michigan for a few years & like seeing the place again.)

        •  Know who he is!? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage

          I think he's brilliant!

          Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind Is a really cool book.

          Wow. Lakoff. Here.

          Gosh! Thanks for the compliment about the photos! Hopefully it'll spring up here pretty soon and I get get outside more. Fairly warm today.

          Where in Michigan did you live?

          Maybe there's a god above, but all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who out-drew ya. -5.75, -5.03

          by Muskegon Critic on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:11:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I lived in East Lansing. I went to MSU and stayed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, Muskegon Critic

            in the area an extra year. This was in the late 60s and early 70s. I was active in civil rights and antiwar stuff, helped start feminist groups on campus, and helped start an alternative paper called The Bogue Street Bridge, later Joint Issue, later The Lansing Star when we decided to shed our hippy student image and focus more on connecting with the community, doing local muckraking, etc.

            I travelled some in northern Michigan, but not the UP.  I have friends in the Ann Arbor area now, so I get back every once in a while, but mostly around Ann Arbor.

  •  I better take my tin foil hat off so (0+ / 0-)

    I can be sure and get the communication unconsciously and automatically.  I also got to get the upgraded digital tin foil hat since they are switching from analoge to digital. Where can I get a coupon?

    You can't cheat an honest man.

    by thestructureguy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:21:25 AM PST

  •  I hope everyone reads this (5+ / 0-)

    and remembers it well for the next 8 years.

    Excellent analysis! I hope we do get more Democrats on TV...this is and has been our biggest problem and obstacle since...well, my entire 31 years.

    Thanks for posting it here.

  •  The Obama Code (5+ / 0-)

    wasn't that an action-adventure film starring Matt Damon?

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1937

    by Pangloss on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:52:29 AM PST

  •  George Lakoff ... Thank You - N/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, Larsstephens

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:55:41 AM PST

  •  Prof. Lakoff...your frame of the Obama code is... (0+ / 0-)

    not a good progressive frame. I'm curious why you didn't practice your own advice and frame it in a way that most progressives would identify with...as you can see, the "Obama code" is not working.

    What is a better frame than "code"?

    •  hung up on a narrow view ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      ... of a very broad word

      Code of the West

      also see:
      Solonic Code
      Code of Hammurabi
      Code of Silence (Omertà)

      and many, many more

      R.I.P. Chicago Eddie Schwartz (May 5, 1946 - February 4, 2009)

      by wystler on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:27:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  also ... (0+ / 0-)

      frame it in a way that most progressives would identify with

      you really don't get it, do ya?

      it's about what Americans would identify with

      R.I.P. Chicago Eddie Schwartz (May 5, 1946 - February 4, 2009)

      by wystler on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:28:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually Indy's right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ijames, Larsstephens

        But it's nothing new.

        We all tend to be a bit more free with our language when talking to the choir.

        I'm sure that if this message went out to the masses it would be entirely different.

        I found the same fault with this essay.

        The information was pretty solid, but the delivery was not so much so.

        That's cool, but those of us who have worked on framing should all do a better job of framing the concept.

        It's obviously misunderstood - it's memes, sloganeering, lying, it's just not understood as good, emotive communication.

        It's an elusive subject that's very hard to pin down.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:24:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks...yes, I'm speaking about how Lakoff (0+ / 0-)

          frame his own diary well for this audience. The use of the word "code" is not a good frame because it means you have to have a translator to decipher it.

          So this audience mostly reacted erroneously to that frame of dishonesty, rather than the message Lakoff is trying to get across. They couldn't get the frame "code" out of their head.

          Don't think of an elephant.

      •  I know, but here Lakoff is trying to get his idea (0+ / 0-)

        across to mostly progressives. But he used a frame -- code - that didn't go over well with this group. We don't tend to like "codes".

  •  If I undesratnd what you are saying, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, SherriG, CanyonWren, Larsstephens

    Professor Lakoff, it raises a question about some who are leaders in the Democratic Party who have also failed to live up to the idea that progressive values should define policy choices.

    Senator Schumer, D NY, today asked Chairman Bernanke whether the smaller financial institutions wreak more havoc on the financial system than the larger financial institutions.

    Bernanke responded that perhaps a more relevant concern for regulators was to examine the macro effect on the financial system as a whole of specific types of high risk transactions.

    Schumer did not stop for a moment to consider that Bernanke's point addressed the systemic moral failure that underpinned our current crisis, namely that no one was paying attention to the fact that certain unregulated transactions that had been generating huge profits for some were, for the financial system as a whole, ultimately unsustainable and leading us off a financial cliff. Schumer mindlessly attacked Bernanke for "not answering his question".  

    Bernanke's answer was, I thought, extremely relevant to our current financial meltdown. For example, the credit default swaps, which some have estimated to be as high as $55trillion of financial bets on government and corporate debt, played a large role in destabilizing our financial system, perhaps being responsible for the failure of Lehman and the meltdown of AIG.

    Schumer, IMO, although supposedly a liberal Democrat, does not seem to understand the importance of progressive goals defining political choices.

  •  Just excellent, although I have a minor quibble (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brian82, Ronald Singleterry

    'Every major patriotic term has a core meaning that we all understand the same way.'

    You effectively proceed to tear down your own summary statement, and it's a little confusing to the reader.

    But that common core meaning is very limited in its application. Most uses of patriotic language are extended from the core on the basis of either conservative or progressive values to produce meanings that are often opposite from each other.

    I'd say that first sentence should read something like 'Every major patriotic term has a core meaning that in an uncritical or shallow analysis, we all understand the same way.' It's more like a knee jerk reaction or emotional response to symbolism; it's a trained and socialized response. I'll admit it's hard to stifle at times as I find myself still reacting to the sight of the Flag or hearing the National Anthem.

    But you are quite correct as many of us think beyond the symbolism.

    Perhaps it is in an understanding of history, in the trials, tribulations, and tumult we have come through as a nation that differentiates Americans. The still imperfect state we are in today, as a nation, informs most liberals and progressives, as opposed to the more conservative and reactionary elements in our society.

    Intellectualism is not a dirty word. And perhaps, at the end of the day this is the most important concept that President Barack Obama really has to offer not just to America and Americans, but to the world at large.

  •  Conservative mind can't grasp global crisis's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    He introduces this argument and it needs to be developed. Global credit crunch, warming, pollution, fisheries  exhaustion are too big for the conservative mindset. This line of attack has great potential.

  •  If Only The Media Hacks Could Understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    The media hacks are code deaf, per usual.

    Thank goodness for Rachel Maddow.  

    Get Well, Rachel!  We need your brilliant analysis.

    PEACE!

    "The market is not self-correcting, it's self-serving."

    by Ronald Singleterry on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:28:51 AM PST

  •  Sometimes.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plutonium Page, thestructureguy

    ..a speech is just a speech.

    Presidential politics is like jumping into raw sewage with your mouth open -- Batfish

    by Frank on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:37:31 AM PST

  •  Unifying & inspirational rhetoric is good, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ijames

    I value it and we need it.  Obama's words are words we need to hear as a country.  

    But actions/policies speak louder to me than words...and they must reflect environmental & human verities; and they must reflect the application of justice.      

    Corporations and government following the old economic growth patterns are neglecting the facts that that pattern is destroying our golden goose earth.  

    •  Ignore the above...I forgot what I had said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ijames

      during the primaries and had just become impatient...wanting it all now.

      I forgot that above all else Obama is an educator and that without that education we are doomed to repeating our mistakes.

  •  In summary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leema, linkage, Larsstephens

    The Obama Code is based on seven deep, insightful, and subtle intellectual moves. What President Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the Framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country

    I find that few understand the global and economic meltdown, are frightened by not knowing, and so respond to values talk. Bedrock. What we can believe when we don't know what is happening to the systems that sustain us. The president is weaning the fearful away from their diet of fear and pointing to bedrock values as the way out of this system failure. He points to the Constitution, come this way, away from fear to reason. Come reason with me, he says. Let us reason together to make things better for everyone. If your idea is better than mine, I'll take yours, as long as we are making things better for everyone.

    Where is Howard Dean? If a lawyer is a necessity in the Department of Justice, then why isn't a doctor a necessity at HHS?

    by mrobinson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:48:36 AM PST

  •  Back to the need for a progressive media empire. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    It was my strong conviction that MoveOn (post 2004 election) should focus on creating a NewsCorp like entity that would seed the progressive message into every single corner of the nation.  They went another way and I think we are worse off because of that decision.  In any case, I agree with Lakoff that we need to mobilize the progressive message machine and take it (off course DK is an important part, but won't cut the mustard when put up against hate radio and NewsCorp and Clear Channel, etc.) to the whole new level.  I know of several efforts but think we still need one or two centers of gravity that will equal and then eclipse the right wing message machine.

    No quarter. No surrender.

    by hegemony57 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:49:43 AM PST

    •  I don't think Move On is a progressive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      organization.

      Besides, we don't need an outlet like fox news.

      We need to replicate Kos in multimedia format, and it could be done, if we could just convince people here to turn off the boob tube.

      If we had the entire progressive blogosphere off the corporate media teet and depending on progressive media, we'd have that megaphone.

      The corporate media will never be friendly to the Human Agenda. They are incompatible at the root.

      The best you can get is a Rushy the Clown knock off, or Rachel Maddow - good stuff, but still operating within the confines of the corporate box.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:29:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  MoveOn is progressive but their leadership is not (0+ / 0-)

        bold or radical enough to take on such a giant project.

        Really it's not DK that we need to replicate in multimedia format.  We need a TV / Magazine centric media empire that will reach and appeal to the people who receive their info passively.  The ones who are already engaged are reachable via DK and other outlets ... we need TV to reach the couch potatoes.

        No quarter. No surrender.

        by hegemony57 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:05:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, very illuminating (5+ / 0-)

    Your essay will take me some time to digest, but already it put some of Obama's words and policies in perspective.

    One quibble:  I don't believe Obama made a mistake by invoking Limbaugh, rather I believe that was his intent, and furthermore, that it was a coordinated effort.  If you remember, a progressive group was running ads at the same time quoting Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" line.  Obama was framing the GOP for the public, so when they think of the GOP, they think of Rush.  And who better to serve as the face of the GOP, but an unpopular racist, misogynistic, greedy, selfish, blowhard?

    Limbaugh has thrived because he works below the radar, selectively targeting a mouth-breathing demographic with a message that would repulse a large majority of Americans were they aware of it.  Obama turned on the lights, and that cockroach is either going to scurry for cover or get squashed.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:51:42 AM PST

  •  thank you so much (4+ / 0-)

    the last point about the message war is very important - it should be a diary of its own IMO. This is very very important. You can feel the need in this country for voices or opposition against the conservative discourse. It isn't just that there are a lot of progressives out there, it's that there is a core of this country that knows that Rush doesn't reflect their values or their interests, and they are looking for another way, although many of them probably don't know it.

    Our progressive counter-speak needs to reflect our value system and not just policy, like you say. But it is a problem of the progressive, educated stance that it is opposed to violence, in favor of fairness, and tends to be reflective and educated. But our challenge when it comes to message discipline is to see that a Machiavellian, violent, ruthless message strategy is not incompatible with our values. In fact, it reflects them

    It is helpful to compare talk-radio in this country to pro wrestling - as a matter of fact, it's exactly like it: a big populist theater with overblown violence, deceit, and big bullying characters who are admired for their tenacity and stubborn bone-headed charm.

    Rush is the champion who has dominated the ring for a decade. He's brash, flashy, stubborn, and bloated, but he's the people's champion. He can do anything he wants now - the inflated sense of injustice and righteous vitriol that come through with his leering jeering voice have become a fixture in the lives of so many - each of his flourishes get a cheer simply because they are so expected. The audience doesn't have any deep basis for sharing Rush's opinions, but they don't need to, they gave up on reality a long time ago and became content with theater. Just like in any rowdy show, if the villain is sympathetic, you side with him, and that's what they do.

    Because the people share Rush's brash populist sentiment, they have been all too willing to learn his ideas - it's participatory theater. But why do they share Rush's sentiments, when his ideas are so clearly at odds with their best interest? In theater, even the sympathetic character can lose support if his values are too questionably distant from one's own.

    One problem is that, in all these years, the progressives have yet to put a champion in the ring. The most important rule of wrestling is simply: whoever wins wins. One reason Rush wins is because he sounds stronger, angrier, and because his outrageous attacks offer a sense of relief for uneducated, marginalized people who have nothing to cling to other than opposition. But most importantly Rush wins because there is no-one else in the ring.

    Rush is merely a voice that champions the rage of a people. Where is the rage from the progressive movement? I feel it, we feel it, America feels it. Who is voicing this rage? We need to appreciate how much stronger our populist rage is than Rush's. The bottom of culture and society would love to see it in action. Because I have every faith that we can mop the floor with Rush in his own arena. It's a bloody sport and the ultra-conservatives are playing for keeps. They want war. We ought to give it to them.

    Which is why I disagree with your point 3 at the end there where you say it was Obama's mistake to utter Rush's name out loud. I think we went through that on dKos a few weeks ago. Obama has stepped into the ring. But he's only done it in order to show the way. It's the right way to attack Rush head on. I'd bet my life that we've got populist rage to match his.

    •  Disagree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SecondComing, Larsstephens

      One problem is that, in all these years, the progressives have yet to put a champion in the ring.

      We had one genius of the pithy remark who could pivot to our talking point on the TV machine: Howard Dean. We need hundreds of Deans.

      Where is Howard Dean? If a lawyer is a necessity in the Department of Justice, then why isn't a doctor a necessity at HHS?

      by mrobinson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:36:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also and Thom Hartmann (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, joanneleon, Larsstephens

      and sometimes Ed Schultz, especially in defense of the unions.

      Where is Howard Dean? If a lawyer is a necessity in the Department of Justice, then why isn't a doctor a necessity at HHS?

      by mrobinson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:38:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rush is a fucking clown. (0+ / 0-)

      Plain and simple.

      He is the comedic manager - Jimmy Hart, Captain Lou Albano.

      Rush is a Joke, a sick and dirty joke, but a joke nonetheless.

      To elevate him to one that is victorious in the arena is a mistake.

      Rush is a clown and every time I see or hear him, I add a nice Crusty the Clown close ,"honk honk! hohohohooooo!.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:33:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's my theory on things: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    You can't force people to think your way by choosing your terms and your language, but you do create, with the right rhetoric, a pathway, a cleared area for subsequent discussion.

    For far too long, we let the Republicans set the pathways, which made it more likely that everybody, even Democrats, would subconsciously start from the Republican arguments, if only to counter them.  That meant that we were constantly on the defensive, being defined rather than defining.

    Think of things this way:  You have a box full off concepts and facts dumped on the table.  Each person takes those concepts and facts and binds them together with our messages.  When we write an essay, or rehearse remarks, we create such networks for people to follow.

    The deal is, these pathways aren't random, and if you use too much of other people's rhetoric and ideology, you will also tend to borrow their organizations of thoughts with them.  What you got to do, to get control of your message, is take the effort and the time to find new facts and ideas to bind together, and make new rhetorical connections for yourself.

    I can't tell you how many times I've researched a Republican talking point, which I was trying to rationalize my way past, only to find that the point I was so worried about was full of crap.  Take this ACORN thing:  Rep. Boehner bloviates about how they're getting 4.2 billion dollars.  At first I was going to argue that it was just a matter of how things shook out in the budgeting process.  Then I went and I investigated: turns out that the part of the bill in question was about buying up abandoned and foreclosed houses, and ACORN wasn't even interested.

    Which is the better argument: the one that was going to perhaps admit that what was saying was true, but there could be a rational explanation for it, or the one that uncovers a contradictory and much clearer truth?  Where we make our own way in our arguments we are more free to deal with the Republicans on our own terms.

    Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

    by Stephen Daugherty on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:22:11 AM PST

  •  "It's us"---so now will we act? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    The last section --It's us---is the key.

    What will "we" do now, quibble or act?

    •  Tonight President Obama ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ijames

      suggested it was patriotic to get an additional year of education.

      Regards,

      JON

      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:05:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we all got a "year" of additional education... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        Perhaps spread it out over the next five years or so, we would individually gain, and we would also be contributing massively to society, to our nation, and to the world.  

        If every American took an extra year for education, that would be 303 million years of additional education grown right here in the USA.

        That would be very patriotic on so many levels.

        I'm in.  I've been wanting to study up on political science, economics, and maybe a little bit of Chinese...

  •  I also understand the difference (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lawman, Larsstephens

    The President knows the difference. He understands that those who see themselves as “progressive” or “conservative” all too often define those words in terms of programs rather than values.

    Howard Dean is one who knows and teaches the difference between programs and values. What I don't understand is how it is that the president doesn't need Howard Dean in his administration, someone who has such affinity to him. Dean has the best resume, and is the only physician in the running for HHS Secretary.

    What I want to know is, why only one progressive in the cabinet [Sec. of Labor Solis from the Congressional Progress Caucus] and so few progressives in the administration? Why does the president go to the conventional wisdom voices in economics or military?

    Where is Howard Dean? If a lawyer is a necessity in the Department of Justice, then why isn't a doctor a necessity at HHS?

    by mrobinson on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:32:21 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    and a complete surprise too. The demonizing of Obama's attempt to include GOP leaders in on his ideas always bewildered me.

  •  Multisyllabic Words.....aaaargh! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Intellectual, yes.........but I want my "go for the heart and guts" version......

    Always glad to read your work. Many thanks.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:45:54 AM PST

  •  Another Model of Moral Psychology (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, keikekaze, Larsstephens

    For another model of moral psychology, check out JONATHAN HAIDT"s  WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN?

    Well worth the read.  Basic argument:

    There are five basic -- as in evolutionary psycholgy -- moral foundations: harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, purity/sanctity, authority/respect.  

    Dems/liberals/progressives primarily favor harm/care and fairness/reciprocity.
    Republicans/conservatives equally favor all five.

    In short,

    If Democrats want to understand what makes people vote Republican, they must first understand the full spectrum of American moral concerns. They should then consider whether they can use more of that spectrum themselves.

                                                                  ***

    Unity is not the great need of the hour, it is the eternal struggle of our immigrant nation. The three Durkheimian foundations of ingroup, authority, and purity are powerful tools in that struggle. Until Democrats understand this point, they will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing so.

  •  As for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    I fear the argument easily lends itself to a simplistic dualism with its equally oversimplified applied binary morality.

    In short, the Left's modern incarnation of that age-old carbuncle on humanity, Manichean Good vs. Evil, where the forces of light struggle against those of darkness.

  •  Thought this was a "Davinci Code" take off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    You know, about all the crazy ass wingnuuts who peddle conspiracy theories about President Obama.

  •  #6, Systemic Causation/Risk (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigforkgirl, keikekaze, Larsstephens

    This explains so much. It also forever changes my approach with 'conservatives'.

  •  Yet more reasons why we need to bust up, . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigforkgirl, Larsstephens

    . . . through appropriate regulations, the media corporations that support the radical-conservative memes and keep them in currency.

    Brilliant diary, George Lakoff.  Thank you.

    "If elections really changed anything, they would be outlawed."--Emma Goldman

    by keikekaze on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:41:37 AM PST

  •  Wow! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze, Larsstephens

    I hope people will take the time to read this and I hope that it will get read far and beyond the "pages" of Daily Kos.  Thank you Professor Lakoff.

  •  "George Lakoff is Goldman Distinguished Professor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    of Cognitive Science and Linguistics"

    Distinguished, indeed.

    Our President is credited with being rhetorically astute.  But as the Professor has said, even more, he is linguistically subtle.  Our culture isn't very adept at subtle, so the President is often underestimated, even by his supporters.

    Wow.  Way too many good things here to begin to highlight them all.

    Thank you Professor Lakoff.

    Never get the mothers too angry.

    by pvlb on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:11:02 PM PST

  •  these ideas are critical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Larsstephens

    if we are to make any headway in getting this country back on track.  Framing issues effectively, staying true to our values, avoiding the trigger words (which are also frames) and essentially inventing new language that not only is truthful but emotional is essential.  Healthcare is my bugaboo, and I spend a lot of time noodling out frames that I think are effective and speak the real truth.  I am very pleased to see some of them appearing on single-payer sites (not that this had anything to do with me, just that there are people coming to the same realization).  It is not so much about countering the message on the right, but coming up with the dynamite message on our side.
    Thank you George! (you can check out my diary entry that makes extensive use of your ideas here).

  •  DON'T THINK LIKE AN ELEPHANT! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Thanks George.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:00:43 PM PST

  •  Respectfully, I have never heard a more naivety (0+ / 0-)

       Where such folks agree with him on values, Obama tries, and will continue to try, to work with them on those issues if not others. And, he assumes, correctly believe, that the more they come to think in terms of those American values, the less they will think in terms of opposing conservative values.

    I suppose such disrespect or is it dismissiveness, for people's convictions about government and allowing differences within a shared set of values is what led him to ridicule and laugh at the Conservatives' belief in limited government last week as an obsolete ideology. Imo that mocking was felt as a shot across the bow and may have provoked their Stimulus Bill strategy. And I don't even regard bipartisanship a worthy goal.

    As a progressive Democrat who earnestly wants Obama to succeed and be reelected, I have wondered exactly what his convictions are lately. If this is the way he thinks I can stop wondering.

    It's a common business tactic to get disparate silos of teams together into breakout sessions and group events to build common sensibilities and increase openness to working together. I hoped this is not what Obama is doing but coupled with the background in this diary he may very well be so dismissive of his opponents.  

    HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

    by kck on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:53:50 PM PST

    •  Oh PLEASE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      What Obama laughed at was the Congressional GOP's professed newfound belief in limited government, after W's MASSIVE government expansion into "Homeland Security" realms, creating wars of fancy, tax cuts for the rich, and 7 years of drunken-sailor spending that destroyed Clinton's budget surplus and increased our debt by trillions.

      And by the way, with the exception of the Paulites, I didn't hear any "conservatives" screaming about limited government when their tax money was going in truckloads to Big Oil, Blackwater, Halliburton and Abramoff schemes, and when Big Government was building gulags, kidnapping and torturing people, spying on every phone call, collecting every email and google search, and was incarcerating thousands upon thousands of people for smoking pot.

      The "limited government" thing is a CANARD--government has exponentially grown under every conservative administration we've had (especially Reagan's). What they really mean is, "let us cheat, lie, squander, pollute, exploit, outsource, insource and lobby to our hearts' content without any government oversight."

      Welcome to how we got here.

      Sorry, the conservative's "limited government" refrain (again, unless it's the Paulite folks, and they don't have much power) is an absolute fraud.

      How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

      by rhetoricus on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:47:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You seemed to both miss my point... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and demonstrate it at the same time.

        First, you are for the most part singing to the choir.

        No matter what Bush did there is very much a conservative strict and limited reading of the Constitution which can be called, as you noted, for a recent example, Reaganite. You know, no Constitutional authority for the federal gov't except for national defense and commerce.

        By mocking not the Republicans but that ideology, imo he threw down a glove, so to speak. No big deal. I assume he knows the consequences of his words and says them on purpose.

        Your words may make sense said to me but to the public, by the President, has a much different weight and measure.

        HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

        by kck on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:12:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You can't see the forest for the trees. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I like the part about bankrupt ideas (0+ / 0-)

    Pres. Obama told the islamic tv on camera that Al Queda's ideas were bankrupt, and it sound like you are saying that he has said the same thing of the conservative megamachine only in a less straightforward way.

  •  Thank you Professor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ijames, linkage

    I love reading your work.  After eight years of rule by Republican cavemen do you think the American people will be able to wrap their heads around this? :)

    I absolutely believe most will.  

  •  Love your work Prof, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madame defarge, linkage

    and thank you for all you do. I hope more people begin to listen to your words of wisdom. I've read 'Elephant', 'Thinking Points' & 'Whose Freedom' - all worthy reads. However, I must point out one thing - I feel President Obama is reinforcing conservative thinking/frames with his rhetoric regarding a military escalation in Afghanistan. And as far as how his foreign policy frames are expressed generally, I think he's got it all wrong; whether it's when he's talking about policy towards Russia or Pakistan or even Iran, he's only engendering Neoconservative ideology. Don't ya think? Thanks.

    •  You might like Lakoff's "Moral Politics"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      where he discussed in detail how cognitive science applies to politics & why liberals & conservatives are at odds over so many seemingly unrelated issues (abortion, taxes, regulation, social programs).  He believes that it's because of the radically different conceptions of morality & family life.  

      The first edition was written in 1996 & the second in 2002.

      Good stuff.  Here's the google book link.

      •  yeah, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        i think Obama's positions on foreign policy have more to do with the strangle-hold the military-industrial-complex has on our democracy than the president's upbringing. that's what i'd like to hear Lakoff clarify. also, those same ideas you mentioned are discussed at length in 'whose freedom' too. thanks!

  •  "...they can create a lot of trouble...." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigforkgirl, linkage

    You nailed it! In spite of many glaring omissions, you absolutely nailed the ideas. Unfortunately, you nailed these constructs to the ice that is our minds.

    As to conservatives, they are drowning in the first slush. I would check the viewer stats. I think their audience is shrinking as are their numbers.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:52:49 PM PST

  •  The very rich have accumulated... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    ...so much of our national wealth that they have stifled consumption and savings on the part of the bottom 90% of the population. This disparity in income and wealth has been caused by thirty years of  Reagan and Bush I and II unrestrained tax cuts for the super rich. The bottom 90% now have only 20% of the total wealth so there is NO way they can maintain the consumer spending needed to return the nation to prosperity, nor the level of savings needed for their own economic security. Increasing taxes on the top ten percent would help to redress this imbalance, and thus free up resources for the 90% to be able to drive our economy.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________  
    w
    For more information see UCSC.

  •  The True Account of the Reagan Legacy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    needs to be shouted from the rooftops everyday!  Activism, not passive reactions.  All the rocks should be kicked over again and again.  Drag out the Larry Craigs, the abuse of prescription drugs, the abuse of Senate pages etc.  

    To start.  Then. Over and over again, these stories of Republican Conservative corruption and venality need to be publicized and repeated.  

    Nobody really wants to be these creepy old venal money grubbing, property before people, conservative Republicans.  When they look in the mirror they need to see these word pictures.  WYSIWYG.  Then they will stop!

  •  Whar's my Axes of Evul? Who's against us? Who's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage
    for us? Thems my only concerns.

    I am filled with boundless joy that the days of code-speak rhetoric and mangled sentences are a thing of the past! I am even happier that the RS keyboard kommandos think President Obama is less eloquent than W because he actually responds with complex answers and mesmerizing facts and figures.

    Krusty the Klown Brand Klassic Signatures

    by Carl Brutanananadilewski on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:36:11 PM PST

  •  Obama "Code" my ass... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ronny mermaid

    I didn't support Obama because the first thing I checked on every candidate was their stance on impeachment and he didn't support impeachment.  Then Palin was nominated for VP by McSame.  So, as usual, instead of voting my conscience, I had to vote "anybody but the Repuke."

    The only "Code" I want to hear out of Obama will have to be in plain English, no vague poli-speak rhetoric which is nothing but bullshite.  All the politicians use poli-speak and I'm used to deconstructing their bullshite in my head as they talk.  Some speak better than others, but all politicans say a lot of words and at the end of five minutes have said nothing of value.

    I want to know:

    1. The date war crimes trials will start for Bush, Cheney, the underlings who wrote the "legal opinions" that they used to authorize unconstitutional and illegal war crimes.  I'm in no mood to "move forward" and sing Kumbaya as long as the lying war criminals are roaming free and not being held accountable.  We ALL know they authorized, thus committed, war crimes, including torture, are intruding on our privacy, and are spying on us without legal warrants, and we ALL know they lied about all of it.  All of those are grounds for impeachment, but since that didn't happen, I am one among many who want to see war crimes trials start.  No more vague and idiotic excuses for why not.
    1. I want to hear Obama change his mind about adopting and expanding Bush's 'faith-based initiatives' and refuse to fund them because a) it's unconstitutional and b) we really can't afford it because we have infrastructures to deal with and the loans for Bush and Cheney's illegal war to pay off.  Of all the candidates, he's the one who is most disappointing because he's a constitutional scholar and should know better than to mix religion and poliltics and violate the First Amendment's separation of church and state.

    All the other things can pretty well take care of themselves, but I want those two things asked about or talked about, and I know others think the same way I do.

    Sorry, Mr. Lakoff.  You're even more long-winded and wordy than I am, so I couldn't finish reading your essay.  Skimming what you wrote I didn't see any mention of war crimes trials or mixing religion and politics, so if you covered it, I missed it.  The only thing I got out of what I read was that Obama speaks in Code.  So what?  All politicians speak in obfuscating "code" so they can get by with saying absolutely nothing after talking for five minutes.  And your point was...?  What?

    (¯`*._(¯`*._(-PROSECUTE-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯)

    by NonnyO on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:42:52 PM PST

    •  Code...another four letter word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO

      just what we needed another dissection in a never ending series of the american political corpse...let me guess tomorrow we will talk about his magical body language...now, if we could all pay our mortgage with the code, that would be something...

      Hey, how 'bout we impeach the people who are supposed to do the impeaching and get some other impeachers who are more impeachy?

      by ronny mermaid on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:00:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  :-) Yup! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ronny mermaid

        Can't possibly express how tired I am of political bobbleheads "re-interpreting" what they think some politician said.  That might have gone over very well when Idjit Georgie occupied the "leadership" role (Did anyone ever understand anything he said? I only heard one true statement out of his ugly mouth, and that was when he said as long as he was "prez" the US would not be leaving Iraq.), but when normal adults can speak for themselves we do NOT need anyone "re-interpreting" anything they said (not Lakoff, not bobbleheads, not any other idiotic pundits who think they know what any politicians are talking about)... and, as adults, normal politicians with some command of the English language can speak for themselves or be asked to clarify what they just said.

        ::: Sigh... :::

        (¯`*._(¯`*._(-PROSECUTE-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯)

        by NonnyO on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:09:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imabluemerkin, linkage, Ebby
    You should post here more often.

    ;)

  •  Thanks for writing. You nailed it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage
  •  Very well put. Thanks for writing and sharing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    You really nailed a lot of why I respect him so much even if I don't ALWAYS agree with him. You could really hear a lot of this in his speech tonight as well. One point that really struck me was how he handled the conversation of government spending. It was really indirect, but he said something to the effect that the "government has to lay the foundations for financial success" instead of just "government spending is necessary". It really struck me as clever and definitely in "Obama code"

    "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

    by misreal on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:19:58 PM PST

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    for posting here.  I got through Moral Politics and still want more explanation.  Thank you

  •  thanks george! love your work and the... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    slap to the face, ice in the pants wake up call it has been for our democrats.

    "...and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring..."

    by another cascadian on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:27:25 PM PST

  •  wow i will read this hen more awake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage
  •  Thank you for commenting (14+ / 0-)

    I want to thank everyone who read my post and sent in a comment.

    President Obama's speech tonight was spectacular. He laid out a progressive agenda and had Republicans applauding more than half the time. That takes skill.

    But this is more than about words. He's done a lot more in the past month than the media gives him credit for, though less than we might have hoped in some cases. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

    This is a time for all of us to find ways to act. It really IS up to us, not just him.

    Thank you again, and best wishes to all,

    George

  •  wordy, but right (0+ / 0-)

    you could have said that his heart wisdom was well  articulated.

    His center of consciousness is not in the brain but the heart, so that whatever is said rings true and deeply. And which is received not by the brain but again the hearts of those whose hearts are open. McCain of course must grimace and the other GOPers mutter like jackals to the strange language.

    The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government -George Washington

    by bob zimway on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 12:20:35 AM PST

  •  Code, Framing, Perspective, Communication (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trentinca

    It seems to me that Lakoff is putting his academic perspective on what Obama is doing by using the word "code" instead of his more commonly expressed "framing".  It worked pretty well to talk about "re-framing" Republican-speak (like "Death Taxes"), but when "framing" implies cropping, rotating, and positioning a picture within boundaries to an end, it starts to not sound so good.

    Perhaps to avoid the negative impression that somebody can jigger a frame and have a completely different picture, it seems Lakoff has chosen to turn to "code".  

    But perhaps the word to use is "subtext".  

    What Lakoff is saying is that underneath all the oration are not just some values but THE values that are not only written into the constitution but are the core of what America is really about beyond this conservative free market individual responsibility catastrophic fad.

    Obama's concrete and educational (and hopefully the Administration's parallel acts), communicates those deep American values through to us.  

    So in a sense, Obama is taking us not through a sea change but a "re-education", a "right-framing" putting us in touch not only with what the framers (of the Consititution) envisioned, but concurrently with the realities of the world we live in so we can as a society be empowered to make good decisions and take our own corrective actions based on facts and on the true meaning of liberty, freedom, and democracy.

  •  How does Loneliness fit into Our Values? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trentinca

    I heard on Zocalo, a discussion by John Cacioppo about his research and writings on Loneliness and it's place in our evolution and survival.  

    [H]umans aren’t all selfish brutes, Cacioppo argued, and the proof may lie in how lonely we feel. For Cacioppo, loneliness isn’t merely an "aversive condition with no redeeming features," as scientists assumed for centuries. Instead, it exists to remind us that we are social beings — just like pain tells us we’re hurt.

    I think Obama's values as outlined by Lakoff ties right in with where we as a nation and world are going.  

    Through the understanding of the genetic underpinnings of loneliness and its persistence through evolution, there is some deep scientific basis to the fact that the survival of humanity is based on human's continual ability not only to look out for itself, but for everybody else also, and that it is this delicate balance that we must shoot for, that is if we are to be most efficient, and least destructive.  

    As Lakoff has pointed out, social responsibility, just like the built in evolutionary need for social interaction bringing humans together obliterates the hard core ideologies of the pure monolithic free market ilk because those tacts only get you so far before they collapse.  These ideologies are basically at odds with human's survival wiring.  

    Perhaps, now our scientific knowledge of human evolution can help us not only in debunking mythological ideologies, but also in expressing true and enduring values for our survival on the planet through policies that align with the delicate balance we carry as individuals and in our most democratic societies (for lack of a better measure).

    Protect the many from the few.  Regulate the powerful. Tax the rich.  Help the poor and weak.

    It makes sense progressively, morally, socially, and scientifically!

  •  Sorry I got here too late to rec. (0+ / 0-)
    Outstanding essay.

    "Obama is just too smart to be stupid." --NYmind

    by Dragon5616 on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 05:21:49 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (0+ / 0-)

    "As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." -- Clarence Darrow

    by Bluedoc on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 09:21:30 PM PST

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