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New Article Proves it: Enlightenment Democrats Plagued by Dark Ages Republicans on Health Care

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So you're a large, mostly respected American newspaper. You are tasked with producing a story about President Barack Obama taking his health care overhaul proposals to the mildly raucous town hall atmosphere of August 2009. What's the first quote in your article?

Here's how the L.A. Times answered that question, in paragraph four:

"I think it is very hard because [Democrats] don't have the message machine the Republicans do," said George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley linguistics professor who has advised some Democrats on how to sharpen their message. "The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion."

Wow. That tops even this comically straight-sounding paragraph three from a recent New York Times piece:

There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.

All the news that fits!

Top link via The Corner's Mark Hemingway. Lakoff was deconstructed in previous episodes of Reason by Tim Cavanaugh and Jesse Walker.

NEXT: Virginia Postrel and Glenn Reynolds Talk About Kidney Markets at PJTV

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  1. George Whakoff

  2. The bigger asshole, George Lakoff, Thomas Frank, or Ezra Klein? Discuss.

  3. I love how they try to make it sound like corporately backed groups have somehow gained some sort of mind control power over these people. I mean, it’s almost a conspiracy theory. Maybe proponents of these bills should just distribute tin foil hats at the townhalls. That way, the evil corporate rays can’t penetrate and control the minds of these poor souls.

  4. “Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.”

    They say that with such a pejorative tone. They would never do so when talking about the other side. I wonder how many anti-war protestors in the last 8 years were encouraged to protest by left wing commentators and web sites? OMG, people are exercising their 1st Amendment rights to free speech and association. Its fascism!!!

  5. Ezra Klein. He has by far the most punchable face.

  6. And I have no idea what George Lakoff looks like.

  7. I wonder how many anti-war protestors in the last 8 years were encouraged to protest by left wing commentators and web sites?

    The rules that apply to others don’t apply to them, as they are the Keepers Of The Truth.

  8. Klein definitely wins the “most like a smug frat asshole last seen getting ten of his buddies to beat some guy up” catagory. Franks however gains some points back in the “nasty authoritarian prick wrapped up in a thoughful liberal weenie package” catagory.

  9. Holy shit, do I hate partisans. They collectively suffer from some of the worst projection and cognitive dissonance I’ve ever seen. All these fuckers are exactly the same, they just play for different teams, and that’s all the distinction they care about.

  10. If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.

    Truth is a perception.

  11. No kidding, Epi. It’s hilarious watching the Kos Kidz parrot this garbage and act like this is completely different from their act just a few years ago. All I can figure is what Johnny Longorso (I almost added a “t” in their) said: they are the Keepers Of The Truth.

  12. The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion

    Regrettably, the democrats are hopelessly confused as to what the truth is.

    -jcr

  13. it is the hyperbole that is so annoying. No one likes it when the other side shows up in mobs at events and causes problems. But tough shit. It is a free country. Call them jerks. Say they are mistaken and are just a vocal minority. Tell people to ignore them. But shut the fuck up with the “they are just tools of the corporate interests” or “they are just fascists and dangerous” bullshit.

    The polls for both BO and the Obamacare are tanking. These assholes wouldn’t be having the vapors if the protests weren’t having a big effect.

  14. The irony of the LA Times spouting Dem talking points in an article claiming the Dem’s don’t have a message machine is hilarious.

    I would suggest, as well, that they do a little of that investigative reporting into the closed “JournoList” of leftish admin-supporters/facilitators. Shouldn’t be hard. I’m sure several of their “reporters” are members.

  15. RC Dean

    Journolist is just a bunch of smart high caliber people getting together and talking things out. It is not a Democratic message machine. It is not their fault that the Dem talking points of the day just happen to be right every single day. They would show you what goes on on it, but lesser intelects just wouldn’t understand.

  16. “The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

    That is some classic self-delusion.

  17. The 60’s, civil disobedience, nuff said.

  18. Did I miss something? Wasn’t Code Pink perceived as a bunch of unhinged lesbos?

  19. “The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

    And if not, maybe they’ll listen to Reason(R).

  20. “The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

    And if they don’t come to the right conclusion, Democrats will just call them fascist tools of corporate America and call out our union thugs to beat the snot out of them.

  21. “Did I miss something? Wasn’t Code Pink perceived as a bunch of unhinged lesbos?”

    Code Pink for a long time, they still might do it I don’t know, stood out in front of Walter Reed and held up signs in front of wounded souldiers and their families that said “wounded for a lie”. The soldiers didn’t ask to go to war letalone get blown up. It is pretty fucking low rent to drag them into it. go to the whitehouse and hold up signs there or (gasp) Congress. Code Pink did a lot of really nasty shit that was a lot different than surrounding some Congress critter and making him answer some questions.

  22. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.

    Friends, relatives and the internet. I knew it. Twitter is probably behind this, too.

  23. When the powder keg blows, I do wonder who people will go after first: the journalists or the politicians?

    I predict the politicians because people will want to take their time with the journaleasts.

  24. Ugh… one of my linguistics professors is a huge George Lakoff fan and it’s always hard for me not to break out into tirades when she talks about how wonderful he is.

    Although I guess most of his linguistic ideas aren’t actually as bad as his political ones.

    And it’s also very ironic that he seems to be peddling this idea that Democrats just “speak the truth” when his whole claim to fame is that he doesn’t think it’s possible to say things straightforwardly, only metaphorically, and that human communication is inherently about “framing” perceptions of the truth.

  25. (I almost added a “t” in their)

    My bad – it should have one.

  26. Resonoids know very weel that if you just keep giving right-wing libertarian dingbats the same cherry-picked evidence and dogmatic bromides over and over again, they will believe what they’re already convinced of, but who cares?

  27. And it’s also very ironic that he seems to be peddling this idea that Democrats just “speak the truth” when his whole claim to fame is that he doesn’t think it’s possible to say things straightforwardly, only metaphorically, and that human communication is inherently about “framing” perceptions of the truth.

    Not ironic; rather a lament that they haven’t taken his suggestions to heart!

  28. If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.

    I am here to tell you, based on a lifetime of disappointment and despair, that this is simply not true.

  29. “And it’s also very ironic that he seems to be peddling this idea that Democrats just “speak the truth” when his whole claim to fame is that he doesn’t think it’s possible to say things straightforwardly, only metaphorically, and that human communication is inherently about “framing” perceptions of the truth.”

    He claims that that is why we don’t live in Demotopia. Dems are just too naive and tell the truth while Republicans lie and decieve.

  30. You know, it’s not that I agree with these fanny-pack wearing people, shouting slogans with their missspelled signs… it’s the incredible, naked hypocrisy of the media on this.

    People wearing turtle costumes show up with environmental slogans painted on signs shouting “Shame! Shame!”, it’s the natural, grassroots activism of people concerned with global issues. Hey wow! Look, a spontaneous protest (with turtle costumes)!

    Someone conservative shows up yelling something rude in the back of a town hall meeting, and we have an international conspiracy.

  31. Enlightenment? Ha! To the Democrats (and the Republicans, for that matter), the Enlightenment was just something that happened to other people.*

    * With apologies to Rowan Atkinson.

  32. The other thing about this is that these protestors are going after Congressman. Congressman get paid a lot of money and are suppose to represent the people. Taking abuse is part of the job. Leftists like the ones Paul refers to will go after anyone they don’t like: some guy who writes a book they don’t like and tries to give speech about it or some one who used to be a politician but isn’t now.

  33. Democrats speak the truth while Republicans use lies and deception. Working class people are voting against their self-interest if they vote Republican or Libertarian. Democrat ideas are more intelligent, while Republican or Libertarian ideas are for ignorant backwoods hicks. And when Democrats lose, it’s because they just couldn’t get their message out – obviously, since it’s such a damn fine message. Comedy gold.

  34. The irony of the LA Times spouting Dem talking points in an article claiming the Dem’s don’t have a message machine is hilarious.

    Talking points you agree with: Honest debate.

    Talking points you don’t agree with: A message machine.

  35. I hate to get all ZOMG! The Media on everyone, but I’m slowly getting back to the belief that the media is the message machine for the Democrats.

  36. Since Edward/Lefiti/Morris/William keeps changing its name, I propose were refer to the various avatars collectively, purely for efficiency sake, as “Useless Twatwallet.”

  37. The irony of the LA Times spouting Dem talking points in an article claiming the Dem’s don’t have a message machine is hilarious.

    Honesty in journalism died long ago.

    Remember when Dateline NBC rigged crashes of pickup trucks so they would explode every time there was a collision?

  38. Someone conservative shows up yelling something rude in the back of a town hall meeting, and we have an international conspiracy.

    I wonder how many of those conservative protestors agreed with the bank bailouts in 2008.

  39. What is funny is that these twits seem to be completely unaware of how stupid they look. No one is buying this shit. At worst the average person thinks the tea party protestors are harmless cranks. Claiming they are some threat to Democracy or tools of the corporate conspiracy just makes the speaker look ridiculous.

    I think this is the Dems and the media learning all the wrong lessons over the Sarah Palin deal. They were able to destroy Palin by going completely insane and eating the furniture. Well it worked then because Palin did some dumb things and gave them ammunition and she was one person they could focus on. Personal destruction has always been the favorite indoor outdoor sport of politics.

    But, the tea party protests are not one person. Further, the protestors are not politicians and are not held to the standards that politicians are. Also they represent an undercurrent of skepticism in the country about Obamacare. And of course the Democrats made a living over the past 8 years protesting the government. So going insane and trying to pull another Palin feeding frenzy just makes the media and the Dems just look stupid.

  40. “I wonder how many of those conservative protestors agreed with the bank bailouts in 2008.”

    About none of them. The bank bailouts were incredibly unpopular in every poll. And the vast majority of Republicans in Congress voted against them. Just because Bush and Paulson wanted them, doesn’t mean the average conservative did.

  41. Not ironic; rather a lament that they haven’t taken his suggestions to heart!

    Yeah, I was actually just returning to this thread to point out that I had misunderstood Lakoff’s implicit criticism of that line of thinking.

    But I don’t think the people at the LA Times even realize that he was being critical. The general tone makes it sound like “still believing in Enlightenment reason” is a GOOD thing… which, if the folks at LA Times knew anything, is not really what Lakoff was getting at at all.

  42. There was a recent town hall in Everett WA. Some 3000 people came. I saw some pictures of the people holding signs. The opponents all had signs that were hand-written. The people in favor had signs that were mass-produced. Hmm, who seems more “grass roots” there?

  43. “He’ll Always be Edward”

    He can kill with some bile,
    He can wound with his guise.
    He can ruin your faith with his casual lies.
    And he only reveals what he wants you to see.
    He hides like a child,
    But he’ll always be Edward to me.

    He can drain you of blood,
    He can take you or leave you.
    He can ask for the truth,
    But he’ll never believe you.
    And he’ll take what you give him, as long as it’s free.
    Yeah, he steals like a thief,
    But he’ll always be Edward to me.

    CHORUS:
    Oh–he takes care of himself.
    He can bate if he wants,
    He’s ahead of his time.
    Oh–and he never gives out,
    And he never gives in,
    He just changes his name.

    And he’ll promise more
    Than ten times that he’s leavin’.
    Then he’ll carelessly cut you,
    And laugh while you’re bleedin’.
    But he’ll bring out your jest
    And the worst you can be.
    Blame it all on yourself,
    ‘Cause he’ll always be Edward to me.
    –Mhmm–

    CHORUS:
    Oh–he takes care of himself.
    He can bate if he wants,
    He’s ahead of his time.
    Oh–and he never gives out,
    And he never gives in,
    He just changes his name.

    He is frequently kind,
    And he’s suddenly cruel.
    He can do as he pleases,
    He’s everyone’s fool.
    And he can’t be convinced,
    His dogma’s too deep.
    And the most he will do
    Is throw shadows at you,
    But he’ll always be Edward to me.
    –Mhmm–

  44. “The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

    Isn’t that what the protests are about?

    Ohhhhhhh, right, not THAT enlightenment.

  45. For some reason people don’t normally yell at those with whom they agree.

    OF COURSE it’s the Republicans doing the yelling. The Democrats control the government.

  46. But, the tea party protests are not one person.

    What I want to know is how many of the assclowns that call them “tea-baggers” know what that terms *really* means. I’m guessing that Pelosi does, but let’s not go there as to why she does.

    Smirnoff is probably protecting their trademark on Tea-Par-tay!, which is why we don’t hear that so much.

  47. Obama Delegate / Organizing for America Organizer Pretends to Be a Doctor at Townhall
    The Lone Star Times and blogger Patterico reveal that a woman named Roxana Mayer, who claimed to be a general practitioner at town-hall event with Rep. Sheila Lee Jackson, is not in fact a doctor and was a Democratic National Convention delegate for Obama from Texas.

    http://lonestartimes.com/2009/08/13/obama-camp-plants-fake-doc-che-fan-at-jackson-lee-forum/

  48. Libertarians – Age of Enlightenment
    Democrats – Romantic Era
    Republicans – Both

  49. “He’ll Always be Edward”

    I think the scansion might be a little off. That doesn’t fit at all to the tune of “Pop Goes The Weasel”

  50. “(I almost added a “t” in their)

    My bad – it should have one.”

    You could have done worse. 😉

  51. Town hall protesters are “evil-mongers,” says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

    Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily.

    Your congress critter in action.

  52. What’s the going price per ounce of evil? I may want to diversify my gold holdings.

  53. Please, everybody knows that all those “tea baggers” are just the corporate pawns of Lipton and Tetley.

  54. “a woman named Roxana Mayer, who claimed to be a general practitioner at town-hall event with Rep. Sheila Lee Jackson, is not in fact a doctor and was a Democratic National Convention delegate for Obama from Texas”

  55. Don’t do it, Longtorso. I think evil is about to suffer an inflation.

  56. Please, everybody knows that all those “tea baggers” are just the corporate pawns of Lipton and Tetley.

    They are all just shills of Big SFTGFOP.

  57. John | August 13, 2009, 2:25pm | #
    “I wonder how many of those conservative protestors agreed with the bank bailouts in 2008.”

    About none of them. The bank bailouts were incredibly unpopular in every poll. And the vast majority of Republicans in Congress voted against them. Just because Bush and Paulson wanted them, doesn’t mean the average conservative did.

    Not entirely right. True in the House (and certainly true among both your average man-on-the-street of conservative, moderate and liberal), but in the Senate 33 Republican voted for the bailout; 15 against. (http://tinyurl.com/4fpfn7)

    Bush is Republican most to blame for the bailouts, but by no means the only one.

  58. Some of the hysterics is just liberals preparing themselves to lose on healthcare. You have to understand liberal causes are never unpopular and never bad ideas. They are only defeated because of racism, corporate shilling and lies. A lot of this stuff is just laying the groundwork for the lies liberals will tell themselves after Obamacare dies and they get shelacked in the midterm elections. It was all going to be Camalot until the Republicans showed up and ran a campaign of lies, distortion and racism.

  59. “Bush is Republican most to blame for the bailouts, but by no means the only one.”

    The Dems controlled the Congress and continued them once BO came into office.

  60. @JW –

    At the New York Tea Party I went to, there was a twerpy little lefty “reporter” interviewing older folks at the protest and trying to manipulate them into saying that they were “teabagging”, or stuff that was similarly juvenile. Younger conservatives joined me in trying to drown out and ruin the asshole’s video (with noise, not physical attacks).

    I also note this bizarre new strain of using the term “Astroturf” not to mean “Fake grassroots protest,” but just “bad protest”. The left is trying to turn it into a dysphemism like “neocon” or “fascist”. It would be funny if it weren’t depressing.

  61. “At the New York Tea Party I went to, there was a twerpy little lefty “reporter” interviewing older folks at the protest and trying to manipulate them into saying that they were “teabagging”, or stuff that was similarly juvenile. Younger conservatives joined me in trying to drown out and ruin the asshole’s video (with noise, not physical attacks).”

    You are kidding? You have more self control than I do. I would have punched him. What a shitbag. Hey lets go see if we can get some old person to say teabag. But remember they are the enlightened reality based community. The rest of us are just wingnuts and dumb rednecks.

  62. Don’t do it, Longtorso. I think evil is about to suffer an inflation.

    That depends. If evil can be minted by the govt (fiat-evil?), I’m at risk. If, however, the human race has a set amount of evil and the Obama admin plans to horde it, it would be a good investment.

  63. Remember me name fix to put the ‘t’ back in my user name.

  64. About none of them. The bank bailouts were incredibly unpopular in every poll. And the vast majority of Republicans in Congress voted against them. Just because Bush and Paulson wanted them, doesn’t mean the average conservative did.

    If the protests were nothing more than astroturfing by the GOP, most of the protestors would have defended or excused the bailout.

    It was the bailouts that catalyzed the Tea Party movement.

  65. @John – He had a video camera, and I’m a lawyer. Felony assault charges just aren’t worth it.

  66. Good point Brian. And rest assured, if anyone so much as touched the little TWIT, the national media would have portrayed that person as an angry terrorist.

  67. Academics and print media. Like fist and astroglide.

  68. There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans.

    There is no dispute, however, that the likelihood of any statement which begins there is no dispute being complete and utter bullshit is well north of ninety-five per cent.

  69. Y’know, a lot of people are tossing around that Jefferson quote: “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.”

    Me, if I had to choose between newspapers that serve the government and no newspapers at all, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.

  70. H.L. Mencken — All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.

  71. If, however, the human race has a set amount of evil and the Obama admin plans to horde it, it would be a good investment.

    If Hillary runs into a non-imaginary sniper on one of her overseas junkets, expect those futures contracts to jump!

    -jcr

  72. Me, if I had to choose between newspapers that serve the government and no newspapers at all, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.

    I already did, many years ago. I get my news from google now.

    -jcr

  73. Did I miss something? Wasn’t Code Pink perceived as a bunch of unhinged lesbos?

    Get back to us when somebody puts fake blood all over their hands and waves them in Arlen Specter’s face.

  74. I think it is very hard because [Democrats] don’t have the message machine the Republicans do

    Why do liberals keep repeating this lie? It’s obvious they have a much better message machine than the Republicans.

    Now that I think about it, I know why. It keeps the rank and file activists on permanent full boil.

  75. There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.

    OMG! People who are against the plan are protesting, and encouraging others to protest. WTF is wrong with them?

  76. Don’t do it, Longtorso. I think evil is about to suffer an inflation.

    The government has been keeping the price of evil artificially low by siphoning evil out of its reserves and putting it out on the open market. Once they run out of evil, expect an evil bubble of hellacious proportions.

  77. “Get back to us when somebody puts fake blood all over their hands and waves them in Arlen Specter’s face.”

    I can’t think of any liberal groups that splatter fake blood on people.

  78. Lamar,

    Heir

    But they were liberals, so it’s OK when they disrupt meetings and scream angrily.

  79. I do think that the liberals may be winning on the hypocrisy front. At least the GOP leadership know that they’re assholes.

  80. “The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

    Wow. I would laugh – giggle even – if I weren’t numb from disgust and boredom at this time.

  81. If the protests were nothing more than astroturfing by the GOP, most of the protestors would have defended or excused the bailout.

    It was the bailouts that catalyzed the Tea Party movement.

    Excellent point, Michael.

  82. But they were liberals, so it’s OK when they disrupt meetings and scream angrily.

    Well, they are unhinged.

  83. I don’t know if anyone missed this but:
    Actual DNC web ad

    Can you imagine all the fools it took to produce that ad without one person stopping to ask if it was a good idea?

  84. I can’t think of any liberal groups that splatter fake blood on people.

    I don’t remember saying they splattered fake blood on people. I said they put fake blood on their hands and waved them in someone’s face. You really don’t remember that?

  85. The bit about the enlightenment was supposed to be a slight jab. Democrats do have a problem talking to stupid people. Particularly stupid people who worship at the alter of Kim Jong Rush. Cost them an election or two.

  86. Democrats do have a problem talking to stupid people.

    I’m sure they’re very patient with you.

  87. Kim Jong Rush!

    Liberal attempts at clever nicknames are getting increasingly retarded.

  88. I can’t think of any liberal groups that splatter fake blood on people.

    Google “fur protest+paint”

  89. maybe its time for real blood…. opps.
    Don’t want to be detained.

  90. What? The[Democrats] don’t have the message machine? What do they call the White House? Its the biggest Democrat message machine there is. Isn’t Obama still a Democrat? Or has he switched parties? He can’t be a republican, can he? Oh, my head is swimming from the enlightenment of the state supported main stream drive by media. “Print garbage and they will buy our prattle.” Keep up the excellent unbiased, verified, substantiated, high quality reporting of news – you’re doing GREAT.

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