Frameshopping: Sharpen Up

Filed in National by on June 27, 2012

Frameshopping is the art of crafting a political argument or attack using effective language and brevity. A strong frame can find its way into ads, tweets, and the zingers delivered by the pundits. Conservative Frank Luntz is the master of this art, regularly releasing language guides that have helped the far right control the conversation; even supposedly liberal news outlets often end up phrasing issues in Luntz’s poll-tested pro-conservative language.

Here are a few sharp barbs I thought up; in the comments, offer your own punchy one liners that you’d like to see injected into the mix.

Mitt Romney is lying, greedy slimeball with no integrity whatsoever. (this sounds like an ad hominem, but it’s quite well supported by his behavior in the campaign trail. Having framed this challenge, you can follow up with examples)

Mitt Romney wants to be president so he can create tax loopholes for himself at your expense. (Language: tax cuts sound good, tax loopholes sound bad. And “at your expense” personalizes the reaction. Follow up by contrasting “corporate jets” with “crumbling bridges and schools”)

Obama got the economy back on track, but then the Tea Party derailed it. (Even Republicans get fed up with the Tea Party hysteria. Note that the 2010 GOP takeover of Congress obstructed all of Obama’s job-creation bills.)

Romney’s offering the same thing Bush did: more endless wars, more Enrons, and no accountability. (Language: accountability sounds good, regulations sound bad. Bush is really bad, and no one on Earth likes Enron)

The GOP has lost its mind; they’ve turned into the Sarah Palin Party. (Who better to symbolize the complete nonsense coming from the right these days?)

Your turn – give us your best progressive frames!


About the Author ()

X Stryker is also the proprietor of the currently-dormant poll analysis blog Election Inspection.

Comments (24)

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  1. liberalgeek says:

    The Sarah Palin party is good.

    I’ll add:

    The Tea Party downgrade

    Romney is a country club quarterback

  2. puck says:

    Gotta pin the Ryan budget on Romney:

    The “No Tax For Mitt Romney” tax plan.

    Mitt Romney, the Outsourcer in Chief

    “End of Medicare as we know it” – that one still works for me.

    And there’s nothing wrong with the classics:
    – Republicans will take away your Social Security
    – Republicans will take away your Medicare

    Republicans want to take away your Medicare and give you a bunch of junk coupons instead.

    Voucherized Medicare, privatized Social Security.

    To unemployment hostages this fall: “Let’s roll.” (OK, that one is over the top)

    “Trickle-down still doesn’t work” (and if you want to be bi-partisan, you can add “And Obama proved it again.”)

    Mitt Romney – Born an ordinary millionaire, but pulled himself up by his bootstraps.

    For some reason I also want to see lots of video of Mitt Romney’s dancing horse. Preferably in Democratic campaign ads targeting Romney for waffling on an issue.

    Now for this one: Obama got the economy back on track, but then the Tea Party derailed it. – This might be effective, but I’d have trouble saying it with a straight face. The margin of victory for every economy-killing piece of legislation came from Democrats. Or the margin of defeat for good policies. Until 2011, when anything good stopped coming out of the House at all. Sorry for the buzzkill, but the problem is conservadems, not teabaggers.

  3. xstryker says:

    To create the perfect “Out of touch heartless aristocrat” zinger, you’d need to combine the car elevator, the dog on the roof, and the dressage horse. Maybe like this:
    Mitt Romney’s got a horse on his plane, a car on his elevator, and a dog on the roof – no wonder he thinks corporations are people and bankruptcy is good for business.

    Hah, outdid myself there! I ought to send that one to James Carville.

  4. xstryker says:

    Puck – I’m talking about post-2011, with the Tea Party ruling the House. Before that, we got a stimulus bill passed, even though it was watered down.

  5. liberalgeek says:

    Why won’t Mitt bring his money home to America? Is he ashamed of his wealth, or planning to move to Switzerland if he loses?

  6. socialistic ben says:

    I still have to credit Gov Perry for Vulture Capitalism.

    Mitt Romney and his Compassionless Conservative Cronies want to take a cut of your hard earned money for themselves, raise your costs of living, (ending social security) profit off of your misfortune (privatizing Medicare and Unemployment insurance) wait for you to die, then pick over you estate all while hiding their money in Non-American bank accounts.

  7. puck says:


    “Mitt Romney is running on his business experience running Bain Capital. Well, here’s some people who had business experience with Mitt Romney:”

    (grim montage of first-person layoff and factory closing stories)

    “America can’t afford Mitt Romney’s experience. “

  8. socialistic ben says:

    actually, we should call them “un-american” bank accounts. it sounds more negative

  9. liberalgeek says:

    The planned bankruptcy candidate.

  10. liberalgeek says:

    Vulture capitalist is good. I’d want the vultures from The Jungle Book in the commercial.

  11. xstryker says:

    Un-American sounds awkward. Go with the always-scary “foreign” or the tax-cheat emphasizing “offshore”

  12. xstryker says:

    Mitt Romney’s prescription for American businesses is bankruptcy – that’s how he ran companies for Bain Capital and it’s what he wanted for our auto manufacturers. It’s also his health care plan.

  13. puck says:

    “I’d want the vultures from The Jungle Book in the commercial.”

    Too comical. I’d want real vultures up to their necks in a carcass. Preferably looking around with guilty expressions.

  14. puck says:

    “Mitt Romney’s Massachussetts – 47th out of 50 states in job creation. And now he wants to bring his experience to the White House. America can’t afford Mitt Romney’s experience.”

    “Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital – a leader in shutting down factories and sending jobs overseas. And now he wants to bring his experience to the White House. America can’t afford Mitt Romney’s experience.”

  15. Liberal Elite says:

    Romney wants to fix America. He thinks we’re a troubled asset. Yea.. He wants to fix America just like he ‘fixed’ those companies.

  16. socialistic ben says:

    even worse, “European banks”

    “Rather than paying any taxes on his millions and millions of dollars, made (dont say earned) by firing Americans, Mitt Romney HIDES his money in EUROPEAN banks. THAT money gets used to bail out SOCIALIST GREECE!”

    Better still for a commercial,… show a car pulling into an elevator. At every floor the door opens and a different fun-fact about Romney job-killing record is shown. at the bottom floor, (make sure the elevator is going down, down, down… like America would with a President Romney) the car drives off, away from a billion dollar mansion and onto a road full of vacant store fronts and busted down signs that read “jobs sent to _____” insert scary sounding foreign country” the car should resemble a non american car company, but should also look “wimpy”
    tagline “Mitt Romney.. the Bane (get it?) of America’s future”

  17. xstryker says:

    Mitt Romney thought going after Osama Bin Laden wasn’t worth the effort.

    This is a good time to remember some of Romney’s gaffes from his previous go-round.,28804,1621231_1621230_1621172,00.html
    It’s funny how Joe Biden’s gaffes humanize him, while Romney’s make him sound like some kind of creepy alien robot. Scanning trees… assessment: height within acceptable parameters.

  18. Liberal Elite says:

    @XS “Un-American sounds awkward. Go with the always-scary “foreign” or the tax-cheat emphasizing “offshore””

    I like “foreign tax-cheater account”. It’s a bit wordy, but assigning “cheater” to Romney is worth it.

  19. xstryker says:

    To poach the theme of DD’s open thread starter today, one of
    my favorites:
    They only call it class warfare when we fight back.

  20. xstryker says:

    Private enterprise runs on public infrastructure.
    Public assistance is good for business – without our social safety net, Walmart would go bankrupt and their employees would starve to death.

  21. AQC says:

    I don’t know what I believe but I stand by it.

  22. socialistic ben says:

    That’s a harsh reality, X. Can you imagine having to bail out Wal-Mart? In many towns it’s made itself people’s only source for…. well, everything. They’ve created an interesting model for a horribly side-ways kibbutz havent they?

  23. socialistic ben says:

    OH i got it… for the Jewish vote. “Help baptize your dead bubby. Romney 5772”

  24. xstryker says:

    I’m not a fan of Walmart, but they wouldn’t be as big as they are if they didn’t have a very large base of customers. The problem needs to be tackled politically, but the campaign trail is probably not the best place for that, unless you’re running in a very blue state.