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Dems Need Fiercer 'Frames'

Parker Blackman, deputy g.m. and managing director of Fenton Communications west coast office, floats some interesting ideas for Democratic wordsmiths in a new article excerpted at TomPaine.com. Blackman urges Dems to take a page from George Lakoff's "frames" theory and put Bush's wing of the GOP in its rightful pidgeon hole:

We all know that the current leaders of the Republican party—be it President Bush, Tom Delay or Bill Frist – represent the extreme right wing of their party. But most of America doesn’t see them that way, because nobody has successfully framed them as such. It's time we start calling them what they are—irresponsible, reckless, extreme and radical. These are four adjectives that most accurately describe their agenda. More important still, these adjectives imply un-American values and speak to a flaw in their collective character.

...Most Americans are moderate in their views; extremism on either side of the political spectrum makes them uncomfortable. Reckless behavior makes them very uncomfortable. Americans would rather that their leaders be conservative in the true sense of the word.

Blackman also believes that many Republicans can be peeled off from the GOP vote:

...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.

By creating this wedge, we open the door for some Republicans...to say, “Well I’m a Republican, but I can’t support a reckless agenda like this one.” Voters don’t have to repudiate their core beliefs or admit that they were wrong to vote for Bush...By demonstrating how the extreme right-wing faction of the party is clashing with Republican moderates, we can reinforce the fact that the party leadership is so extreme that even members of their own party —true fiscal conservatives and social moderates—are feeling uncomfortable with the agenda.

Blackman's idea makes sense, and offers Democratic candidates a way to gain support from moderates in both political parties without compromising progressive principles.