Frameshop: Five Toxic Right Wing Lies
by nanobot, Fri May 13, 2011 at 04:39:51 AM EDT
The biggest complaint progressives have against the Obama administration may be the total failure to counter right wing frames that dominate the media and the culture of America's political landscape. For what it's worth, here are five radical right wing lies or "frames" put together by Andrew Kimbrell from Tikkun and posted at Alternet. The author suggests Obama must aggressively counter these lies in order to move America forward:
1. Reactionary Narrative:Government is the problem. It is bad, even evil, and should be eliminated or privatized as much as possible.
Progressive Narrative: Government is good and a major part of the solution to our economic and social problems — large, robust local, state and federal government services are critical to our individual and national well-being.
2. Reactionary Narrative: Quality health care is a commodity available to those who can afford it.
Progressive Narrative: Quality health care is a basic human right.
3. Reactionary Narrative: Free market competition is the basis for our economic life — the benefits of the winners will trickle down to the losers.
Progressive Narrative: The free market is a dangerous fiction (as is trickle-down economics) — not everything is a market commodity and even then those commodity markets have always been regulated. The question is how and for whom to regulate markets so as to create the most equitable distribution of wealth.
4. Reactionary Narrative: You counter terrorism by fighting land wars and overthrowing dictators (especially when oil is involved).
Progressive Narrative: The Best Way to Fight Terrorism is through Cooperative International Police Action and Foreign Policy Changes – Not Land Wars.
5. Reactionary Narrative: Global warming and other environmental problems are either vastly exaggerated or don’t really exist — and if they do exist, the solution is market and technology based.
Progressive Narrative: It’s the ecology stupid — global warming is the greatest threat to the survival of civilization. The solution to global warming and other major environmental crises is governments at all levels cooperating to change our economic and technological systems to better comport with the principles of ecology.
(you know what to do)
The author opens with a harsh and common critique of the Obama administration:
In the absence of a progressive voice in the White House, the radical Right continues to dominate the political noise, forcing its policy narratives into policy decisions.
It was Teddy Roosevelt who with characteristic aplomb dubbed the presidency a “bully pulpit.” T.R. used the nation’s highest office as the perfect platform to rally the American people around a vigorous and, in his case, often controversial agenda. With Obama, we have, for the most part, an empty pulpit. . . .
This has been the signature failure of the Obama administration. Instead of standing on principle, Obama’s modus operandi has been to accede before the battle has really been joined. We have seen this repeatedly in the major issues of his presidency: the emasculation of the so-called “stimulus package”; the abandonment of the health care public option; acceding to the Bush tax cuts; failure to push for effective global warming legislation; surrendering to the hawks on the Afghan war; failure to stand up for the rights to public trial for those detained in Guantanamo; and now complicity in irresponsible and unnecessary cutting of critical government services.
As we all know, there is a solution:
But as T.R., who was also routinely libeled, knew, it is not the job of the president to accept roadblocks from his enemies in Congress and then quietly whisper “uncle.” It is his job and that of his surrogates to aggressively go out to the public with a principled message and progressive narratives and to marshal the millions who support them to contact Congress and change their obstructionist and misguided ways.
I join a large body of progressives who are desperately hoping that as Obama swings into campaign mode his administration steps up to the plate and starts putting at least a few of the outright lies to rest, entombed right next to Matt Taibbi's Vampire Squid.