Here at Frameshop we are starting a new game to help pass the time in this pre-2008 presidential primary period: Name That Candidate! This is how the game works: Read the "Mystery Quote" provided in the post Guess which 2008...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 02/01/2007

Here at Frameshop we are starting a new game to help pass the time in this pre-2008 presidential primary period:  Name That Candidate!

This is how the game works:

  1. Read the "Mystery Quote" provided in the post
  2. Guess which 2008 Presidential candidate is speaking (Democratic and Republican, declared and likely-to-declare)--DO NOT USE GOOGLE to locate the quote (Hey!  That's cheating!)
  3. Post your answer in the comment thread
  4. Check Back at 5:00pm (EST) for the correct answer and a Frameshop analysis of the quote.

It's that easy!  At 5:00pm (EST) the correct answer will be posted with full credit to those who answered correctly and a discussion of the framing issues in the speech.

Now, the purpose of this game is not, well...all fun and games.  The first purpose is to understanding how framing will drive the 2008 Presidential race is to actually sink our teeth into the words of the candidates--even if some of these words have yet to make it into the limelight.  But more than just knowing the words, Name That Candidate is intended to draw attention to framing issues that, while important, are perhaps not getting big media or blogger attention commensurate with their potential influence--good or bad influence.

So this is a fun way to engage the words and ideas of the candidates beyond the headlines, and to bring ourselves up to speed on the the distinctive aspects of the candidates who have the potential, for better or for worse, to shape the 2008 race.

Everybody ready for the first round of Name That Candidate?

The first Mystery Quote is after the fold...

Today's Mystery Quote:

I believe we are entering a period when the collective challenges will be the largest that they have been since Abraham Lincoln in 1861 called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days. If you go back and look at that period, no one in April of 1861 had any idea that the Civil War would lead to the scale of difficulty that it did.  Imagine they thought that there would be a brief moment of tension, that people would argue, that the government would prove it was serious by calling up 75,000 volunteers, they would have a nice conversation, and they’d be done.

Four years later 620,000 Americans had been killed. More than in all of our other wars combined. The United States had built a trans-continental railroad to the Pacific to keep California in the Union. We had run out of gold and had to issue paper money called Greenbacks which we still use ‘til this day. And they ran out of volunteers in 1863 and had to go to a draft, in response to the draft the riots in New York City were so great that they actually sent in 10,000 federal troops who ended up hanging and shooting people in the streets. Nobody imaged this scale of difficulty.  If you want to get a sense of how agonizing it was, go to the Lincoln Memorial and read Lincoln’s second inaugural.  Which is 700 words, it mentions God 14 times, in 700 words, and has two quotes from the Bible.

The difference between the rational, calm, historically reasoned Lincoln of Cooper Union in 1860, and this anguished...Second Inaugural is 4 years of agony for a country.

Now we are not faced with a Civil War, that’s not the parallel I am trying to draw. But we are faced with a series of challenges from so many different directions occurring simultaneously that their cumulative effect is greater than the Cold War, greater that the Second World War, greater than the Great Depression, and I think that the only time I know of comparable in terms of having to deal with a multitude of challenges is the period of 1861 to 1865.

Post your answers in the comment thread.  The correct answer plus analysis of the speech will be posted at 5:00pm (EST).

Good luck, Frameshoppers!

Speaker: Newt Gingrich
Speech:  Speech At Johns Hopkins University
Date:  October 18, 2006

Even though Gingrich has not declared, yet, progressives should be paying attention to how he frames the debate.  The Newt's forte is weaving history together with a vision of the future to make the future look uncertain, full of fear and laced with danger.  Ah, if only Gingrich spoke the truth!

At the core of Gingrich's framing, however, is a model he calls "5 Challenges." Those challenges are:

  1. Islamic Terrorism
  2. God in the Public Square
  3. Protecting American Civilization
  4. Competing in the Global Economy
  5. Helping an Aging Population

Taken altogether, if left unchallenged for along enough, Newt Gingrich could scare the heck out of nearly every living person on the planet.

But what makes Gingrich worth watching--and why he was chosen as the first Mystery Quote--is his ability to really frame the most complex of tales in terms of basic stories, often involving ideas about technology. Consider this additional quote from the speech.  Read along and see if you can predict where it will end up:

How many of you pump your own gas at self-service gas stations?  It is not a radical thought, right?  How many of you use a credit card to pay for it? Right, virtually the same number.  How many of you do not keep your receipts, or do not even get a receipt?  How many of you get a receipt and don’t use it?  This is my favorite group; I used to be in this group.  And I asked this question for about six weeks and I realized one evening…that me.  And it is an example of how culture changes, because I watched myself to try to figure out why I was getting this receipt that I wasn’t keeping.  And you finish pumping the gas, you pull it out, you start to hang it up, and the sign goes off and it says “would you like a receipt?”  And I’d watch myself and think, why not? It’s free. (LAUGHTER) You know and I punch yes and they print the receipt out and I look at it and go I don’t want this.  What am I doing?  Now here is my point.  I’ll ask one last group.  How many of you get a receipt, keep it, and check it against your credit card?  Ok, raise your hand.  This is the hardcore 10%.  Here is the point I want to drive at for a second.  85% or 80% of the people in this room now stipulate that you have a gas pump smart enough that it knows who you are, how much gas you pumped, what it cost, what your credit card was, and it sent the data to your credit card accurate enough that it is not worth your while to check.  You have to confess, this is a fairly smart gas pump.

By contrast last year, in dealing with illegal immigration, the social security administration received six billion, four hundred million dollars in tax payments for people who do not exist.  And couldn’t figure out that this was a problem.  Now just consider the accuracy of the two systems that I just described.  A government system which can’t figure out that we should find out who sent the six billion, four hundred million dollars, and a private sector system that you trust enough to handle your cash flow every month.

That sure is one smart gas pump.  But by the time you follow him along that line of framing, he's already set you up to see government as a clunky, stupid, blind,  bad choice for you to trust.  It is a brilliant framing of basic Reagan authoritarian principles.

The other reason we should pay attention to Gingrich is because he roots just about every word he speaks in American history.  We are about to enter a period where American history will once again become important in political debate--and Gingrich is not only one of the voices driving it there, he is very good at the wheel.

Newt knows history.  His discussion of Lincoln is dead brilliant, even if it is used to lie about the problems of the present.  And this is where he becomes very dangerous.  A man who knows history, but is willing to use it to distract the public into supporting more preemptive strikes and more propaganda campaigns against Islam and the Middle East--that is a dangerous force in  American politics.

So who knows when Newt will officially declare his candidacy, but he will definitely be a presence.  And we must keep an eye on him and his ideas so that they do not take up a dominant position in the debate.

© 2007 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2007, Frameshop

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