[Note: Not all political messaging involves framing specific words or phrases. Framing a political message involves longer story-telling, as well. It's about creating a picture in people's minds of who you are and what you stand for, whether it's by using individual "catch phrases" or a larger narrative.
In this installment, The Winning Words Project is attempting to paint the larger picture of who and what "government" really is: "We, the people." It's a critical aspect of why the Democratic Party has so often failed in combating the Republican narrative—Republicans have defined "government" as a monolithic, non-living entity that needs to be slayed like a dragon that is destroying our country with its fiery breath and gigantic talons.
Until we create our own image of government that is not a deadly dragon, all of our messaging can be overpowered by the impression that no matter what policies we are fighting for, and no matter how moral we make them, all we are doing with them is feeding the dragon, not taming it or taking it down. But if people stop seeing "the government" as a dragon, but come back to recognizing it for what it is—US—it becomes harder and harder for the Republican narrative to be supported. People don't want to see us destroyed! Here is the story we should be telling ...]
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union ..."
There's a reason the Preamble to our Constitution begins with those words: Government is us. So when Republicans say they want to choke government and make it small enough to drown in a bathtub, they mean they want to "choke" and "drown" us ... you and me; we, the people.
Government is us. So when Republican leaders get on television and attack the government, they're attacking us. They're telling us our services aren't wanted or needed to build and maintain this country's infrastructure, operate 911 switchboards, code the military's computers, represent defendants who cannot afford an attorney, lay pipe that takes sewage away from our homes, drive city buses, nurse our returning veterans at VA hospitals, process small business loan applications, or tens of thousands of other jobs we do that keep this country running, prosperous, and safe.
Mitt Romney says he's "going to do something to government." And just so we're clear, when Romney says he's going to "do something" to government, he means he's going to do something to you and me. As in fire us. "Choke" us. "Drown" us in a bathtub. Romney says, "I'm going to make it simpler and smaller and smarter. Getting rid of programs, turning programs back to states, and finally, making government itself more efficient."