Strong opinions, weakly held

Framing is losing

Here’s Ezra Klein on framing:

One of my rules in politics is that whichever side is resorting to framing devices is losing.

I find I buy into this much more than I buy into the idea that proper framing is the key to political success. (Sorry, George Lakoff.)


  1. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Lakoff pointed out some important things (in a facile and overly general way), but progressives were wrong to think of framing as a magic bullet.

    It’s probably wrong to dismiss framing as just a last-ditch strategy. The fact that conservatives successfully got everyone to call them “pro-life” put pro-choice folks behind the rhetorical 8-ball.

  2. I came to say essentially what Matt said. Ezra Klein’s example is correct, but to draw a broad conclusion about framing from it is a stretch.

  3. I should be clear and say that I’m a big believer in the power of language. There are plenty of examples where what you call things makes a bid difference in how they’re received. Examples abound. But I can’t think of a single policy that was ever saved by reframing.

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