Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where's OUR narrative?

I think I've posted before about the love affair liberals have been having with George Lkoff and his concept of "framing". While I think framing issues is important, I think it's only a small (actually very small) part of what we need to do in order to win back the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of the American electorate.

In order to do this, I think we need to talk about the "narrative" as opposed to the "frame". Republicans are actually quite good at this and our friend Glenn Greenwald (bio here) has an excellent post on this narrative today presented in the context of the Ann Coulter flap. Here's the link to the article. (you may have to sit through an advertisement but trust me it's well worth it).

Here's a description of Coulter's utility to the Conservative movement and the "narrative" she provides:

And that is where Ann Coulter comes in and plays such a vital -- really indispensible -- role. As a woman who purposely exudes the most exaggerated American feminine stereotypes (the long blond hair, the make-up, the emaciated body), her obsession with emasculating Democratic males -- which, at bottom, is really what she does more than anything else -- energizes and stimulates the right-wing "base" like nothing else can. Just witness the fervor with which they greet her, buy her books, mob her on college campuses. Can anyone deny that she is unleashing what lurks at the very depths of the right-wing psyche? What else explains not just her popularity, but the intense embrace of her by the "base"?

and, more precisely:

Coulter plays a vital and irreplaceable role in this movement. The reason I linked to that Bob Somerby post on Maureen Dowd yesterday is because he makes the critical point -- one which Digby, among others, has been making for a long time, including in a great post last night -- concerning how the right-wing movement conducts itself and the rhetorical tool they use not only to keep themselves in power, but more importantly, to keep their needy, confused, and scared base feeling strong and protected. As Digby put it:

The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the
entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too
effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation.
Coulter says it out
loud. Dowd hints at it broadly. And the entire press corps giggles and swoons at
this shallow, sophomoric concept like a bunch of junior high pom pom girls.

What's even worse, as Greenwald points out, not only is the right-wing narrative about liberals effeminate, but the narrative also portrays Conservative (Republican) heros as the "manlyist" of men...cowboys, warriors, war heros, brush clearing studs of epic proportions.....

None of which is true....

Where's our narrative about Conservatives?

What should it be?

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