September 21, 2013
I wrote a book called, Don’t Think of an Elephant! The title made a basic point: Negating a frame activates that frame. If you activate the other side’s frame, you just help the other side, as Nixon found out when he said, “I am not a crook,” which made people think of him as a crook.
President Obama just said:
This is the United States of America — we’re not some banana republic, this is not a deadbeat nation, we don’t run out on our tab.
We can’t just not pay our bills.”
What Lakoff and other political psychologists explain is that what most Americans – and people all over the world – will hear is:
America is a banana republic, a deadbeat nation, which can’t pay its bills.
But the focus of this post is on Obama’s Nixon moment … invoking the exact image which he is trying to avoid.
Obama has failed to learn the most basic concept from the psychology of politics.