The Best Book This Cycle
By Markos Moulitsas
Sep 20th, 2004
I'm not one to recommend books lightly. In fact, I don't think I've ever said, "you HAVE to get this book." But there's always a first time for everything.
I get swamped with review copies of books these days, and given the number of liberal-leaning anti-Bush books saturating the market, there's no shortage of reading material that I'll unfortunately never get to. But I nearly flipped with joy when I checked my mail today (too lazy to do it yesterday) and found a copy of George Lakoff's new book, Don't think of an elephant!, he of the Rockridge Institute. I'd been dying to read my first Lakoff book since I read this piece he wrote for the American Prospect. The fact that the obnoxious Jonathan Chiat of the New Republic dissed him only made me more anxious to read him. And rumors that the DNC have taken Lakoff on as a consultant clinched the deal.
So back to the book, I knew after reading just a handful of pages that if there's one book you read this year, it should be this one.
Lakoff's obsession is the use of language to frame political debate. And it's his findings that will help rescue the Democratic Party from itself, extracating itself from playing with the frame built by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (think tanks, leadership institutes, media outlets, etc). What's a frame? You know them -- "Death Tax", and "Tax Relief", and "Pro-life", and so on. Bush says, "We don't need a permission slip from the UN to defend the US", and suddenly, the Republicans have framed the runup to war in a certain way. Our mistake, as a party, has been our willingness to play within our opponents' frame, rather than building our own.
I will be writing more about the book over the coming days. I'm absolutely smitten by it.