Reframing HuffPost’s Terrible Advice to the Democrats
Doug Schoen writes in the usually sensible Huffington Post that the Democrats should roll over, as usual, and give GWB the blank check he’s looking for in Iraq: no limits on dollars or on deployment.
I think this an extremely wrong-headed and ill-advised idea–some of the worst advice I’ve heard anywhere in quite a while, in fact.
Here’s most of the public comment I made:
The Democrats need to hold fast, and to frame the dialogue thusly:
“We gave GWB a very reasonable bill that funds the war for the time being but begins a phased withdrawal. we are exercising our Constitutional authority as controller of the purse strings and a check on unbridled Presidential power. But Bush wanted a blank check, and that would be negligent–perhaps even criminally irresponsible. We do not want this crime on our hands, and we will not be a party to it. We absolutely refuse to abdicate our responsibilities by bringing forward any kind of blank check bill. Bush is the one who will not negotiate, and who is trying to usurp the power we were granted back in 1787″.
I’m using “framing” here as George Lakoff would use it: to wrap the debate around a construct that brings the public’s reference into focus–just as a black frame on a white wall allows the eye to differentiate elements in the white-background picture hanging within that frame.
The frame I’m proposing above is one that paints the Democrats as patriotic, as responsible–and GWB as overreaching his authority. This frame was not much in evidence in mainstream media during the run-up to the war, and if it had been, perhaps it would have slowed or stopped that unfortunate tide.
For far too long, the Democrats have allowed the right wing to create the frames. We have to take them back, and this is a great place to start.