FRAMESHOP:FRAMESHOP: EDWARDS CALLS "WAR ON TERROR" A "POLITICAL FRAME"

Key Turn in 2008 Presidential Race John Edwards First Presidential Candidate to Specifically Address Danger of Bush "Framing" Jonathan Singer at MyDD.com reports a major moment in the 2008 Presidential election: John Edwards stating specifically that the "Global War on...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 05/03/2007

Key Turn in 2008 Presidential Race

John Edwards First Presidential Candidate to Specifically Address Danger of Bush "Framing"

Jonathan Singer at MyDD.com reports a major moment in the 2008 Presidential election:  John Edwards stating specifically that the "Global War on Terror" is calculated political rhetoric that should not be the basis for defining America's national security.

Edwards called the "Global War on Terror" a "political frame" during a recent speech in Portland, OR:

And I don't know how many of you even noticed this or how many of you watched the Democratic presidential debate from South Carolina, but I suspect some of you did. But a question was asked whether you agree with the language - the Bush language, which is what it is - "Global War on Terror." And I did not. And I said, I took that position at the debate.

This is a political frame and political rhetoric. They use it to justify everything they do. They use that language to justify the war in Iraq. They use it to justify Guantanamo. They use it to justify torture. They use it to justify illegal spying on the American people.

It is time for us to quit kowtowing to these people. We have to say what we really believe. Now, are there really dangerous people in the world? Of course there are. We need to be smart and aggressive and intelligent, use intelligence - did I say dangerous people? - we have to use intelligence to fight them and stop them. Everybody recognizes that. But the one thing that's been proven beyond any doubt as a result of what's happened in the last six years is raw power alone will never make you a leader. You actually have to have the moral authority.

(transcript courtesy of MyDD)

In this statement, Edwards is seeking to build on a moment in last week's Democratic candidate debate.  But notice how Edwards is seeking to move the discussion forward by using the phrase "smart and aggressive and intelligent" to define a broad logic for a new American vision of foreign policy.

The "smart and strong" frame for national security has been suggested many times on Frameshop as a strategy for changing the debate whenever Bush tries to link Democratic positions on Iraq to future terrorist attacks in this country.

Edwards appears to be taking huge strides forward in an effort to drive the debate to new terrain.

His rejection of the "Global War on Terror" as problematic political framing comes on the heels of several weeks where his campaign message was dominated by calls for "action" to end the war.

With his big vision for rejecting Bush's framing, Edwards now opens himself up to define the purpose of U.S. military and diplomatic action in general, beyond the stifling confines established and re-enforced by Bush and Cheney.

Can we imagine a foreign policy discussion that was not stymied before it even began by knee-jerk fears  set down by the Republican framing?  Edwards appears to be trying to move the country to that place.

© 2007 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2007, Frameshop

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