Some may not know it, but we have a liberal Frank Luntz (minus the deception), and his name is George Lakoff. Let's face it, the Democrats wouldn't be where they are today if they had listened to Lakoff, and the advice he's been giving about messaging the health care reform bill. But that's water under the bridge. Here's Lakoff's latest attempt to herd the Democratic cats:
Huffinton Post: "Life and freedom are moral issues. It is time for Democrats to talk about health in those terms. Health means freedom. If you have a serious illness or injury and cannot get it treated, your freedom will be limited in many ways. Your physical freedom: you may no longer have the freedom to move around. Your economic freedom: you may not be able to work or your medical bills may impoverish you. Your emotional freedom: you will not be free to live a happy life.
Your security is far more likely to be threatened by the lack of treatment for illness and injury than by any likely terrorist attack. Real terror is seen in the thousands of letters sent to the White House and Congress by people whose lives have been shattered or threatened by the behavior of the health insurance corporations. If you are sick or injured and that happens to you, you face terror -- very real terror.
Where the conservatives argue loss of freedom ("government takeover") and life ("death panels" and abortion), the administration has been giving policy wonk arguments about economic and pragmatic policy ... But they do not communicate the moral issues.
Affordability means economic freedom! Why should anti-trust exemptions be ended for health insurance companies? Economic freedom! Anti-trust exemptions function like corporate bailouts. They transfer the money from ordinary people into corporate coffers. They threaten our economic freedom.
It is time to return to the moral fundamentals. Health security is deeply patriotic -- perhaps our most important form of security. Health means life. Health means freedom. Everyone can understand that."
George Lakoff is Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book is The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics