Monday, May 23, 2005

Scheiber on Lakoff

I'm way behind on my blogging responsibilities. I've wanted to comment on the latest Pew study of the electorate (though Ruy Teixeira said most of what can be said here and here) and the Newsweek Koran story, but I've been finishing up a few other projects. Anyway, I wanted to mention Noam Scheiber's critique of George Lakoff in The New Republic. This is the latest in a string of critical pieces and, as Pete Ross says at Teixeira's site, it's the most thoughtful to date. (The title of Ross's post, by the way, is "Dems Drunk on 'Frames'?" The answer to that question is undeniably YES.)

Scheiber's argument is, essentially, that Lakoff would have Democrats frame issues according to his own preferences - which are decidedly left - rather than those that would appeal to mainstream (read: swing) voters. Fair point, but that still isn't the biggest problem with Lakoff's approach. It's that he thinks framing is the solution to Democratic woes when a far more effective approach is priming (based on issues the party owns). I hope to have my own critique of Lakoff very soon (though don't hold your breath).


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