It's a well-known truism in public relations, advertising and most importantly, politics: He who controls the framing wins the argument.
So perhaps it's not a surprise that the DLC is closing its doors under Harold Ford's chairmanship. Because, honestly, is there a bigger Republican in the Democratic Party than Harold Ford?
As a favorite and repeated member of David Gregory's Meet the Press round table, Ford is the GOP Party's best advocate, routinely undermining Democratic principles and platforms by not only accepting GOP framing, but actively pushing it. How sick is it that the purported spokesperson for the Democratic Leadership Council does nothing more than echo the pandering Lindsay Graham?
Once again, the very young, well-compensated Ford has no problem with extending the age of full benefits for Social Security to 70. Well, when the most arduous thing you do at work is pucker up to Republican memes, I'm sure you can imagine another 30 years of working. But tell me, Harold, what about the vast majority of people who rely on Social Security as the primary source of income in their retirement? Should we make truck drivers stay on the road to the age of 70? What do we say to those with back-breaking blue collar jobs? Suck it up until you're 70? Should my grandmother have been doing the surprisingly physical work of nursing terminal patients in her 70s? My mother is not yet 70. By Ford's calculation, she should still be working, the freeloader, instead of caring for my grandmother, allowing her the dignity of remaining at home despite her age-related dementia. Harold, you selfish prick, do you consider anyone's situation beyond your own cushy existence when speaking out AGAINST the Democratic platform?
Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American - the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle-class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.
Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud, over and over, that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.
Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called "Democratic Communication Disorder." Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives. Talk matters, because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.
And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonks — talking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. "Benefits" are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.
Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like "entitlements" instead of "earnings" and speak of government as providing "services" instead of "necessities."
I've been really angry by the lack of progressive voices on these shows. And Harold Ford--the ultimate in entitlement figures--is emblematic of the dangers inherent in a system that gives Ann Coulter a platform but still blackballs progressives like Markos Moulitsas.
Please Democrats, for the love and continuation of this democracy, STOP USING REPUBLICAN MEMES!