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Political Language

Thursday, October 21, 2004
Take a look at the interview with George Lakoff in the Washington Monthly. This is great stuff- Lakoff is right on the money. It's very much in line with what I've been saying on this weblog, but Lakoff puts it in very succint and specific terms. Lakoff makes the crucial tie between building an organizational infrastructure and articulating a compelling political message. He also understand the importance of political symbolism- we shouldn't just be rattling off policy proposals.

I do differ with Lakoff on some points. Substance continues to be important because of its rhetorical import. To be in favor of small business, local communities, and greater political participation are policy positions, but they have symbolic effects as well. By changing some of our political means, we can persuade voters that our ends are appropriate. Lakoff himself notes that Democrats have the natural political majority when it comes to policy. One of our strategies should be to emphasize substance in order to highlight Bush & Co.'s hypocrisy and deceit.

Also, I think it is a mistake to jettison the DLC. No, we should not sell out the corporations. But these people are intelligent, committed Democrats with a lot interesting policy proposals. Our aim should be to broaden our coalition, not start chopping off pieces of it.

Despite these criticisms, Lakoff sounds like required reading. Which is why I am going to go out and buy is book this week. If people are interested, I'll write a more comprehensive book review after I've done so.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:59 PM
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