Thursday, February 24, 2005

GOP Handbook

Unfortunately, I haven't yet had the time to read the entire Frank Luntz playbook.[pdf] (Go to Think Progress for some good rundowns.) But I have been flipping through it. I'm not saying anything new here, but this "playbook" perfectly epitomizes what's wrong with politics in this country. I can sum it up with an example paragraph:

It's "INTERNATIONAL" trade, NOT "foreign" trade or "global" trade.

For many reasons unrelated to this issue, the word "foreign" conjures up very negative images. Since Americans are more "pro-international" than they are "pro-foreign" or "pro-global" (globalization is a particularly frightening term to many Americans), we suggest you accept this terminology. INTERNATIONAL trade is favored over FOREIGN trade by 68% of Americans.
The unspoken part of this paragraph and the rest of this 160 page handbook is that the Republicans DO favor FOREIGN trade, or anything else you want to call it. But by changing their language, they can convince people to vote against their own interests. George Orwell invented a whole language with which Big Brother was able to control people's thoughts.

And essentially, that's what this entire book is. DEATH tax, not estate tax. Tax FAIRNESS, not tax cuts. PRODUCTIVITY in the workplace, not sweatshops. Ministry of LOVE, not Ministry of Torture. You get the idea. They've reframed their language - not their policies - to make them palatable to the average joe. By rights, the Democrats should be doing it too, I guess. But it still makes me sick.

Instead of dumbing down our language and using misleading terms and idealized framing of policies, we should be educating the populace. People should be able to see death tax, estate tax, inheritance tax, or grandma's corpse tax and know what it means, who it benefits, and what getting rid of it would do to the economy. There's your panacea for Democratic victory, (and victory for democracy) - an educated citizenry.

I also believe that I should be starting centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, and that the radical Islamists should chill out and smoke a bowl. Yep, I'm full of ideas!

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