by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans own the words “freedom” and “liberty,” and their ability to take control over those and other terms reveals how successful the GOP is at “framing” political issues, the New York Times reported this weekend.
“[T]he right has been more successful than the left at framing issues related to abortion, health care, labor unions and the concept of government itself, among other issues, with carefully contrived catchphrases,” the Times’ Julie Bosman reported this weekend, citing University of California, Berkeley, professor George Lakoff.
Examples of some of these cleverly crafted phrases, which have supposedly swayed public opinion in the GOP’s favor, include “tax relief,” “pro-life, “The Democrat Party” and “death panels”, the report added.
“In President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address … [he] used ‘freedom,’ ‘free’ or ‘liberty’ 49 times in 20 minutes,” Bosman wrote.
Lakoff is then quoted as saying, “The right has taken over the words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty.'”
Absent from the Times report, however, is any mention of the fact that the other side of the aisle plays word games, too.
When talking about gun control, Democratic lawmakers prefer to use the term “gun safety.” Instead of saying “government spending,” Democrats prefer “investment.” When assailing abortion opponents, the left uses the term “anti-choice.” Democratic operatives also enjoy the nebulous and entirely ambiguous term “fair share.”