“Mr. Lakoff specializes in cognitive linguistics, the study of the nature of thought and its expression in language. His current research is on heavy-duty topics such as the nature of human conceptual systems, especially metaphor systems for concepts such as time, events, causation, emotions, morality, the self, politics, et cetera.” This is your guest lecturer. This is your guru that will be talking to Democrats in the House tomorrow. “He applied his ideas to the political realm in the little-noticed 1996 book Moral Politics. The current paper back is a bit easier to grasp. It’s clearly reaching a wider audience, New England and California. Mr. Lakoff describes an exercise he gives his students at the start of Cognitive Science 101. ‘Don’t think of an elephant. It is impossible,’ he says. ‘Every word evokes a frame which can be an image or other kinds of knowledge. Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk. They’re associated with circuses and so on. When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.'”
My friends, the Democrats, I understand this, the Democrats could have me to their strategy session tomorrow. Have you not heard me on this program saying, “It’s sort of like saying, ‘Don’t think pink.’ What are you thinking of? You’re thinking pink.” Don’t think that! Don’t think that! Don’t! Well, my friends, I hate to say this, but I came up with that in an ad-lib monolog about 12 years ago, and now the Democrats have glommed onto this “don’t think elephant” guru from Berkeley as though they’re onto something new and revolutionary. “Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and architect with the Contract with America and Frank Luntz, pollster and message expert, have used language to great effect for years. A clear recent example came four years ago as President Bush entered his first term and started talking about tax relief. ‘For there to be relief there must be an affliction, an afflicted party, and a reliever who removes the affliction and is therefore a hero,’ Mr. Lakoff writes, ‘and if people try to stop the hero, those people are villains for trying to prevent relief. That frame explains the trouble Democrats had when speaking against Mr. Bush’s plans. The conservatives had set a trap. The words draw you into their world view.'”
You know, let ’em keep thinking this if this is going to turn ’em on. They have no concept apparently that the substance of tax cuts, that the substance of tax cuts is not about somebody’s a villain and so forth. It’s not about that at all. It’s about conveying what tax cuts means. Tax cuts are tax relief, but the Democrats continue to miss the whole point of substance. They miss the whole point that issues matter that, people are smart enough to understand them and figure them out and have their own opinions on issues. The Democrats still think everybody else is bumbling idiot and they have to be talked to in certain code words in order for serious thought to get through their thick skulls. You get down to it, this is a gift, ladies and gentlemen. On the one hand, we’re told that Bush is such a dumb idiot cowboy that he’s got us all risking our lives in a war that’s unnecessary, and now this latest guru comes along, this professor, and portrays him as one of the smartest cunning linguists that we’ve ever had in American politics — and meanwhile, the Democrats still think their problem is words! (Laughing.)
RUSH: I wonder if Carol Shakeshaft knows Harry Lakoff, or whatever his name is. Lima, Ohio, this is Rich. Welcome, sir, nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: Good talking to you, Rush. I hope you can hear me.
RUSH: Yeah, I hear you just fine, thanks.
CALLER: I’ve been listening to you for a really long time and, as I told your call screener, I am an independent liberal, and I’ve come to terms with that and everything, and I believe in my thinking and all that, but the Democrats, you know, they need to get off of this, you know? Hello?
RUSH: Yeah. Off of what?
CALLER: They need to quit changing words. You know, if President Bush and the government wants to privatize, you know, Social Security, I’m all for it, but better something than get it done. Don’t stand around, you know, hem-hawing around and not, you know, trying to help out.
RUSH: Well, what this does is illustrate one of the problems that the Democrats have and it is they cannot look forward. It’s how their party is put together. They are a loose-knit coalition of groups, and the groups have a couple things in common: Big government and hatred of Bush. But besides that they’ve got their own single issues. So you’ve got the seniors, and the Democrats think that they’re all oriented toward maintaining Social Security as it is: “You can’t touch it, can’t change it, can’t do anything,” and that was John Kerry’s position in the campaign, and I ask you: “Who lost and who won?” and you go Big Labor, go to teachers union, go to any of the groups. You know, civil rights groups that make up their coalition, and they’re trapped by ’em. It used to be, folks, that the Democrats ran that show.
The Democrats sat at the head of the table and all these disparate group representatives were their little, you know, toadies, and as long as those toadies delivered votes on Election Day, the toadies got to sit at the table. Well, now the toadies are telling these other people what to do. “You better not forsake my issue, dude, or you not gonna be sitting at the head of the table. I will be,” and everybody at the table is telling them this, and so they’re trapped. They really can’t move forward because they’re going to offend every group sitting at their table, and that means they’re going to be threatening people who are out there trying to gin up their vote and their vote turnout and this kind of thing. They’re in a big mess because they can’t. They’re trapped. They can’t, even if they could devise a strategy for moving forward. And the best thing they’ve come up with yet is this Lakoff guy from Berkeley. If that’s the best they can do, they’re not even on the page yet where substance exists.