FRAMESHOP:FRAMESHOP: WHITE HOUSE "COMPROMISE," MANNERS

White House Seeks to Controll Rules of Political Manners to Win Iraq Debate In the White House Press briefing, yesterday (May 2), the word "compromise" was repeated 13 times by Tony Snow and reporters asking questions. Clearly, the power to...

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

White House Seeks to Controll Rules of Political Manners to Win Iraq Debate

In the White House Press briefing, yesterday (May 2), the word "compromise" was repeated 13 times by Tony Snow and reporters asking questions.  Clearly, the power to define "compromise" is part of the framing strategy the White House sees as essential in the post-veto environment of the Iraq debate. 

In his first answer to the first question, Snow tried very hard to set the rules of the discussion, repeating "compromise" like a drum beat:

  Let me make a couple of points about -- it's interesting, it appears that the discussion about compromise is all the White House needs to compromise, it's never asked what the Hill is going to do. Fortunately, when there are talks today I think both sides are going to be working in a spirit of trying to get something constructive done.  But as tempting as it may be, I'm not going to tell you what precisely the President is going to say.  You'll have opportunities to hear from people who will have been involved in the meeting and they can give you their readout. What the President is not in the mood to compromise about is an attempt to try to tie the hands of generals or troops on the ground. He's not in the mood to compromise about an approach that creates a sense of doubt among our allies, weakens the Iraqi government. Instead what he wants to do is to pull together a package -- and I think both sides want to do this

(full transcript here)

Snow's performance, yesterday, should make it very clear that the White House sees defining acceptable behavior in the debate as a key part of defeating the Democrats in this Iraq spending bill.

Snow is trying to define certain behavior as bad--trying to impose political manners on Democrats.

Will Democrats take the bait?  Possible.  There is a strong core identity amongst Senate Democrats who get suckered by these arguments about behavior in debate.

But Dems should not fall for this as any discussion of what is and is not good manners in a debate is just a thinly veiled attempt to control a negotiation--it is an extreme form of passive aggression.

Democrats should see that they are advancing the voice of the people and keep a tough tone in their language.  And they should continue giving President Bush bills to sign that force him to reject the will of the people:  putting an end to the occupation in Iraq.

© 2007 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2007, Frameshop

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