Election 2014  
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Why the GOP Campaign for the Presidency Is About Guaranteeing a Radical Conservative Future for America

The Republican presidential campaign is not just about the presidential race. It is about using conservative language to strengthen conservative values in the brains of voters.

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Incidentally, Rush Limbaugh's "slut" and "prostitute" remarks, while even more extreme than Santorum, make sense to conservatives in terms of the same conservative moral logic. Limbaugh apologized for those two words, but not for the logic behind them. Even after the apology for the two words, the logic lingers.

All moral logic in politics, whether progressive or conservative, is based on metaphorical thought processes, applying family moral values to political moral values. Republicans understand this and Santorum carries it out masterfully for the benefit of all conservative Republican office seekers at all levels, today and in the future.

The Santorum Strategy does not end with this election. It is part of a permanent campaign that has been going on since the Gingrich revolution of 1994, and will continue into the indefinite future.

Democrats tend to be literalists, assuming that the presidential campaign is only about the presidential campaign and that birth control is only about birth control. In 2010, they thought that health policy was only about health policy, even as conservatives were metaphorically making it about freedom ("government takeover") and life ("death panels").

It is vital that Democrats not make that mistake again. 

George Lakoff is the author of Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate ' (Chelsea Green). He is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and a Senior Fellow of the Rockridge Institute.

 
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