Go Jump in a Lakoff

Democrats' quest to figure out how to relate to voters in the American heartland has brought them to--where else?--Berkeley. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the party is seeking advice from George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics and cognitive sciences at the University of California, who "is a hot item in liberal circles these days as he argues Democrats must develop a message that resonates more deeply with voters"...Lakoff suggested that instead of talking about how Bush had run up the national debt, Democrats should label it a "baby tax''

More on Lakoff and the Democrats. I think I might be inclined to agree with James Taranto on this one. If the Democrats really want to identify with the flyover redstate voters, hiring a consultant from Berkeley is probably not the best way to do it. They'd be better off hiring someone from Texas A&M or Purdue or somewhere red. And anyway, "baby tax"? I'm afraid I have to rank that down there with Kerry's "W is for Wrong". And, while I am of course nowhere near the linguist that the great Lakoff is, I always thought euphemisms tended to fade to dysphemisms pretty quick anyway. Who knows, maybe it will work. Maybe not.


Blogger The Neologiac Spooneristocrat said...

Well, yeah, okay "hiring a consultant from Berkeley" may not be the best way to do it, but where are the other consultants? There's not there, as far I can tell. If you pay attention to Lakoff's arguments (i.e. go beyond his examples of new phrases, which I admit are laughable), he's made the argument that Democrats haven't invested in message-related thinktanks or consultants at all, not anywhere near as much as Republicans began to do in their post-1964 moment of truth. I think Lakoff's idea of message-framing is useful and relevant, although all this talk on the national media circuit is counterproductive. Message-framing is the dirty secret behind any political body--Dems shouldn't be publicizing this any more than Karl Rove publicizes his tactics.

5:25 PM  

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