* speaking of kathleen - here's a recent post of hers:
COUNTERING TERMS OF ENSMEARMENTand kathleen on Coulter:
Persuasion research clearly indicates that the mind is influenced by associations often without below consious levels (e.g., subliminal messages). Influence can be facilitated when, for example, words with positive connotations or denotations are paired with otherwise negative words and vice versa. If derogatory associations of these types go unchallenged, they can stick.
Framing works this way too. One person's error of judgment is another's obvious negligence. Words are weak vehicles of meaning and a lot depends on the driver. Republicans are more adept right now at formulating negative associations that describe Democrats. Democrats, in part by virtue of needing a political savvy upgrade and because of their penchant for trying to be experts on all things, have not learned to uncouple such ensmearing associations. They let them stand and become part of their image. They do themselves a terrible disservice when they don't place into the common vernacular word associations that counter such attacks on their credibility. We all benefit from having a sort of red-flag alert in our minds when words are conjoined in ways that disadvantage our causes or our reputations. In both The Secret Handshake and It's All Politics, I write about the ability to be quick on your feet -- to reconceptualize before too much damage is done. And in The Skilled Negotiator I've written about how often a good outcome depends on directing the course of discussion away from dysfunctional associations. A simple example: If someone says to you, "You certainly came on strong in that meeting," you can respond with "I hope it wasn't too much," or redirect and redefine by saying something like, "Someone had to. It was a critical issue." In the latter case, you do yourself a service.
The Democrats aren't proficient at red-flag alerts of this type. They should evaluate at the end of each day the associations being promoted by the opposition in their particular area of expertise and take action to demolish or revise them. Peace, for example, is the hard stuff of governing. Yet we've allowed being a "wartime President" to become an indication of accomplishment rather than a failure to negotiate. We've come to think that having the most power means we don't need to be regarded with respect around the world -- a kind of bully mentality. We allow leadership tobe associated with not asking anyone their opinions and staying the course even if the direction is clearly wrong. We have a lot of work to do in crafting new, constructive associations.
"Let me also note that a man could not get this far afield of civility without the curtain closing on his charade. Coulter is therefore useful. She is a perfect spear thrower for the hateful side of Republicanism. She says what they dare not and dodges the dismissal they'd surely experience.and more here:
And then there is the pure entertainment value. How far will a woman like this go we wonder? Who will she pillory next? Who will be the new Petruchio prolonging the play? What level of outrage will she move to next? The answer: Whatever it takes to keep the curtain up and a bizarre audience amused.
But even the most vitriolic of shrews cannot last forever. When she finally crosses the line from which there is no return, she will then likely morph into the caring head of a New Canaan based charity – a shrew reinvented – a predictable ending to a play to which only Shakespeare did true justice. He knew the beauty of verbal sparring, the dancing and jousting beyond the limits yet never drawing blood – an exhilarating verbal clash of equals – a game reserved for the very few. Now that was the real thing. " (link)
"This is the antithesis of what America is supposed to stand for, no matter one's political party. It's the language of someone desperate for attention. And so as she supposedly stands by her man, George Bush, she weakens him as a President of the people. She brings him down by the weight of her indignation for those who weren't born to their cause, but instead were led to it as Christopher Reeve, Dana Reeve, Michael J. Fox and a host of others who took the horror life dropped on their doorstep and turned it into a means of improving who we are.
Money, power, family connections and media position have come to be, to the Coulters of this world and those she ably represents, what make a person of "consequence." All others are supposedly fakes. This is what you vote for if you vote Republican. Not always in the past and not now in every case, but surely in the majority of cases at this deeply noxious point in time."