Framing the GOP

From Parker Blackman on TomPaine.com:
It's time we start calling them what they are—irresponsible, reckless, extreme and radical. These adjectives imply un-American values and speak to a flaw in their collective character. This group of leaders is endangering our country's safety, our children’s future, our health and other things we hold close to our hearts. This frame can be applied to any issue—health care, Iraq, Social Security, oil drilling in the Arctic—thereby allowing all progressive interest groups to repeat a singular theme as it applies to their particular issue. An important reason this frame works is that, in the aftermath of the election, people who voted for George W. Bush don’t want to be told that they voted for the wrong guy. But if you can create space in some voters’ minds that the Bush administration’s current agenda isn’t the one they signed up for, you give those voters space to rationalize moving away from Bush and the Republican leadership...In creating this frame, there’s a few terms progressives should not use: conservative and neoconservative. For many Americans, the word “conservative” has positive connotations beyond politics and in their own lives...Being conservative implies saving something, thinking ahead, being safe, showing good judgment. “Neoconservative” doesn’t mean a damn thing to anyone living outside of the Beltway or not heavily involved in politics...So what specific phrase should we use instead? What phrase can we use to brand the Republican leadership and force them in the box we define? How about simply, “the reckless right wing of the Republican Party?” With a label like this, we begin to drive a wedge deeper in the GOP, dividing those who follow right-wing radicals from those who are increasingly uncomfortable with their party’s leadership...And progressives need to communicate their values and the Republican leadership’s pitfalls in ways that will really resonate with regular churchgoers, who already know that Christian values extend beyond the church doors. Progressives must emphasize that our elected leaders can’t just talk the talk—they have to walk the walk. The concept of “walking the walk” provides a good opportunity to frame Republicans as immoral and hypocritical. They are masters at masking their agenda behind feel-good language. It’s our job to strip away the window dressing to expose the bleak agenda beneath the surface. So let’s start calling them on it.


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