And here’s another from The Chronicle on how the Democrats are looking at Lakoff’s advise.
“It’s all about words and craftsmanship,” said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, of Lakoff’s advice. “He shows us that we ought to take the Republicans’ words and show why they don’t work, why they just aren’t so.”
Taranto at the Wall Street Journal writes some of the first criticism of Lakoff’s thinking – or at least the implementation of it.
You see the problem: It’s not as if the Dems don’t already do what Lakoff is recommending. Indeed, the supposedly groundbreaking insight this professor of linguistics and cognitive sciences is offering is nothing more than a commonplace of political rhetoric: Generally, it is good to describe things you’re for in favorable-sounding terms and things you’re against in unfavorable-sounding ones.
The Dems seem to think Lakoff invented euphemism and dysphemism. Judging by the examples in the Chronicle piece, we’d say he isn’t even very good at employing them. “Public protection attorneys” as a euphemism for trial lawyers is simply laughable. (Actually, “trial lawyers” is a neutral term; it has negative connotations because trial lawyers have a bad reputation.) Calling same-sex marriage “the right to marry” seems unlikely to persuade anyone that the definition of marriage should change.
Fair point. Bottom-line is that while Lakoff’s recommended words might not be ideal, the process and thinking he has developed remains as powerful as ever. And as an observer of the latest election, did the Democrats need a message that more clearly resonated or what?