George Lakoff warns: Palin appeals to voter emotions

While all the messy skeletons in Sarah Palin’s closet would indicate that she’d simply be laughed out of the court room — “There is a special investigation underway into Palin’s decision to fire the state Public Safety Commissioner; her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant; her husband has been active in an Alaska secession movement and she has attended meetings of the secessionist organization; Palin helped run a ‘527’ third party political group of the kind McCain has adamantly criticized in the past; and she has come under fire for spending little time with her newborn Downs Syndrome child” (from Huffington Post). Add to that John McCain’s blatantly obvious lack of judgment and foresight when he chose somebody with less than two years’ experience as Governor of a state ranked #47 on the population list, somebody who only recently applied for a passport and barely went beyond Canada as far as foreign countries go, and one would think the Democrats have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Not so, writes George Lakoff in an excellent analysis of the realities of voters’ minds. I’ve often wondered why hard-working people in the Midwest for example, struggling to make ends meet and in danger of losing the little they have, would vote for the person and the party responsible for all their woes. Well, it’s them feelings, stupid — or, as Lakoff explains more eloquently, “…the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind — the worldviews, frames, metaphors, cultural narratives, and stereotypes”, which are far removed from factual reality. It is Palin’s job to stir up and evoke conservative values, and her stance on pro-choice and gay marriage counts more and outweighs the fact that just a few months ago she confessed ignorance concerning the duties of a Vice President.

So, this is something that rational, thinking, factual, realistic liberals need to keep in mind: “Democrats, being Democrats, will mostly talk about the realities nonstop without paying attention to the dimensions of values and symbolism. Democrats, in addition, need to call an extremist an extremist: to shine a light on the shared anti-democratic ideology of McCain and Palin, the same ideology shared by Bush and Cheney.”


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