Monday, July 18, 2005

If you're not anti-dragon, you must be pro-dragon

The NYT Magazine has an article on the "Framing Wars" ie "How to phrase things in a way that gives people the idea you want them to have" and how the Democrats have apparently/supposedly recently adopted this tactic [Republicans have apparently been doing it for a while], with some success.

As usual, the Daily Show already had a spoof covering this idea [involving Steven Colbert, of course] in which he argues that the Democrats should adopt an "anti-dragon" platform because dragons are undeniably bad, stealing maidens, burning villages etc and hence, anybody who opposes the "anti-dragon" platform must be "pro-dragon" and a bad person. Failing that, he suggests, the Democrats should adopt a different platform, like, say, the Republican one.

There's also an interesting bit of political insight [or an example of political knavery, if you will], in the NYT article, namely that sometimes it's actually a very conscious decision not to offer a different solution than the one being criticized:

"[...] In this way, Democrats had decided to follow the example of Bill Kristol, the Republican strategist who had urged his party (shrewdly, as it turned out) to refrain from proposing any alternatives to Clinton's doomed health-care plan in 1993. ''The minute we introduce a plan, we have to solve the problem'' is how one senior Democratic aide explained it to me. ''We are the minority party. It's not our job to fix things.''

Obviously that's not a long-term solution, nor a way to win an election, but I can certainly see how it can work in the short term. In any case, I thought it was a reasonably thought-provoking article.


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