Interesting Reps K answer

Particularly if the neg reads frameworks institute style evidence

Comments?  Exactly right, I think. It’s fun to think of clever ways of  selling one’s policies, but in the real world it’s not bound to do much good.  Oh, both sides should try; as long as you don’t believe your own propaganda, there’s nothing wrong with a good attempt at spinning something.  But spin rarely works in the real world, because it doesn’t fit the way people evaluate policies.  Spin has to compete with two far more powerful things — partisanship, and to a lesser extent actual personal experience.  Basically, most politically attentive Americans are going to support or oppose health care reform (or most other policies) based on prior partisan attitudes.  Republicans are going to oppose it, because Republican elites oppose it; Democrats are going to support it, because Barack Obama supports it.  In some cases, however, personal experience may override that…I expect seniors will like having the donut hole filled in, for example.

6 thoughts on “Interesting Reps K answer

  1. Nathan Ketsdever

    1) Begs the question of what “spin” is in the case of critiques. I think its easy to read it the other way

    2) The Frank Lutz part of the quote seems to go the other way–but maybe thats my personal associations of what Frank Lutz does.

    3) I’m not sure how if the judge is an academic this matters as much as if he/she is an assumed policy maker.

    4) One peripheral side note: Its also has weird interactivity with the politics debate. (aka elite GOP backlash due to perception of spin)

  2. David Mullins

    what a fatalistic argument. I understand the difficulties of finding unifying theories of political science to explain political behavior, but to say how things are said doesn't matter is just beyond naieve. Really, painting Iraq as a member of the axis of evil didn't affect our decision to invade it? Then why did a Bush speechwriter select it? Why does either party do anything at all to frame their policies, ever?

    This card takes everyone identities in either party as entirely static, and assumes everyone has one, reducing ALL political differences to democrat v. republican (pathetically attempting to curb its own parsimony by adding "personal experience"- haha, why do poor white people and poor black people seem to have such different "personal experiences" when it comes to the economic ideologies they vote for? Moreover, why did the former, a historically republican demographic, vote so much more heavily for Barack than it tends to? Probably because McCain did not know how many houses he had.)

    It, ironically, replicates the same kind of gross oversimplification and ignorance of the productive nature of power/knowledge that most Reps Ks take as their starting assumptions for criticism.

  3. Alex Zavell

    Mullins, it seems like the point of the card is that, in general, when people posses preexisting biases or preferences about a particular policy, they are not likely going to change their view on that policy based on the way the problem it seeks to solve is represented.

    An example: Republicans oppose taxes and are pro business…no matter how much of a fuss people like al gore make about global warming, republicans are not likely to allow those representations to change their view on the desirability of a carbon tax as a solution (they will still oppose it).

    So to apply that to your example: just because you present logical and theoretical reasons why the demonization of iraq et al COULD be used to justify the intervention that doesn't mean that those representations WERE the actual reason it happened.

    Essentially, the card denies the explanatory power of reading policymaking as the result of just representations.

    That being said, I don't find the evidence very strong at all for a few reasons:

    1. It doesnt answer the Security reps K very well: most security based K's argue that security representations (i.e. the claim that a problem represents an existential threat)construct threats as so urgent and overwhelming that the normal political process of deliberation does not apply; therefore while it may be true that reps dont change someones view of health care or economic policy, in the context of security reps the way we talk about regimes such as Iran or Terrorist really can change what actions we deem acceptable. This can be illustrated using your Iraq example: democrats probably normally aren't the type to like premptive war fighting, but when faced with what was said to be an existential threat (iraq bio weapons), if they accept that the problem is real as it is represented (which happened before the invasion), they are likely to be persuaded to adopt actions that they might be opposed to in normal situations because the impact to not acting simply outweighs (very literally the "try or die" claim used by alot of debaters)
    2. Any decent specific link card will probably have warrants why reps ARE causal in that specific context which means this ev doesn't get you very much
    3. It ignores the power-knowledge component of many reps K's: it assumes that individual's biases wont be overwhelmed when faced with the claims of experts (ie dems were dis-empowered from opposing iraq when the intelligence "experts" said that the threat was real).
    4. Its pretty awful in supporting any of its claims: there is no citation of empirical studies or any real logical arguments besides a stupid quip that old people like donuts a certain way regardless of what other people say. (this warrant actually probably goes neg in the context of security arguments to some degree…even if reps like "its not cool" wont change what you eat, existential claims like "if you keep eating it, it will kill you", can definitely influence peoples practices)

  4. David Mullins

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-8780">
    Alex Zavell :
    So to apply that to your example: just because you present logical and theoretical reasons why the demonization of iraq et al COULD be used to justify the intervention that doesn’t mean that those representations WERE the actual reason it happened.
    Essentially, the card denies the explanatory power of reading policymaking as the result of just representations.
    That being said, I don’t find the evidence very strong at all for a few reasons:
    1. It doesnt answer the Security reps K very well: most security based K’s argue that security representations (i.e. the claim that a problem represents an existential threat)construct threats as so urgent and overwhelming that the normal political process of deliberation does not apply; therefore while it may be true that reps dont change someones view of health care or economic policy, in the context of security reps the way we talk about regimes such as Iran or Terrorist really can change what actions we deem acceptable.
    3. It ignores the power-knowledge component of many reps K’s.

    Would you explain what I'm missing Scott? I said both of these things, almost exactly. The ability to justify policies depends on how those policies are justified. I will use quotations from the article to make my point:

    "For the Democrats and health care reform, it's just going to be the case that mandating that young healthies buy insurance is not apt to be popular; Democrats can improve that situation by having larger subsidies, but they can't really change it by spinning it"

    Why is it inevitable that mandating people buy insurance is unpopular? The author assumes this, and there are a number of perspectives, within partisanship, that it could be spun as.

    Republican: Good: Increases private business for Health Care Companies, as you say, republicans are "pro-business."

    Bad: Government control of industry should always be resisted, and individual freedom dictates you shouldn't be forced to buy something you don't need with YOUR MONEY that YOU EARNED.

    Democrats: Good: Everyone has health insurance, which is egalitarian and redistributive.

    Bad: The corporations win.

    "What spin, and framing, can do is to change polling results — it's no doubt true that Sabl's formulation ("government will get you insurance if your employed won't") will poll better than "government forces you to buy insurance whether you want to or not." Frank Luntz has made a career out of finding clever wording that will yield terrific poll results. The problem is that if its not attached to any underlying beliefs, or subsequent actions, then what's the point?"

    Which qualities are emphasized in the policy, and how it is talked about will have an immense effect on the response from both parties, and is entirely the result of framing and spin. yes, members of congress have pre-given biases but they are well aware of the effectiveness of spin on the American public, and so they will change their biases if those biases threaten their re-election.

    Why isn't this argument just an incredibly defensive and generic "reps don't change politics" claim? "Lots of things change politics, not just reps" hardly answers the internal link of the reps K sufficiently. Especially, as Zavell said, when the reps K has overwhelming specificity.

    "And there is a danger of, as I said, believing your own spin, and forgetting which of your policies are popular and which are not"

    This is the biggest problem with the article, it assumes the popularity of any given policy is pre-given, and not the result of how that policy is introduced in someone's mind.

    GENERALLY, republicans and democrats both say they oppose reducing civil liberties, but everyone voted for the PATRIOT act because it was justified in terms of saving us from the terrorists, who had just won. The popularity of this act before 9/11 would have been much, much less, but recent events changed how we talked about terrorism, it became an existential threat, and the policy passed.

    Speaking of "democratic" and "republican" viewpoints, as this article entreats us to do so that we may accept them as inevitable, is an absurdly blunt instrument because there is such immense variance within each party/ideology at any given time, not to mention over time.

  5. Scott Phillips

    Mullins,
    "Which qualities are emphasized in the policy, and how it is talked about will have an immense effect on the response from both parties, and is entirely the result of framing and spin"

    Who is being naive now? I'll sum it up in a question: how could obama have "spun" health care to get GOP votes in the senate?

Comments are closed.