How many kittens does Bush need to kill...

This may sound like a joke, and it may indeed be funny to the more darkly-humored among us, but this very real survey illustrates one of the central building blocks of framing.

I'll explain.

August J Pollak's survey "A Modest Proposal for an immodest Presidency," aims to "put a humorous spin on the idea that a vast percentage of conservatives simply support the President regardless of whatever he does."

The survey essentially poses the question as to how many cats, killed by the president's hand, would it take for you as a partisan to withdraw your support.

By pegging his questions to the idea of Bush killing a cat, the responses must all reference that frame -- they all exist within it. However smart, circumspect, abstract or convincing the answers may be is irrelevant because the frame for presidential support is drawn around support, or lack of, for his cat killing.

Likewise, when support -- or lack of -- is built around the frame of national security, whatever answers given by opponents falls flat, regardless of the force or facts, because the axis of the debate is security and the president is our tether to it.

Amazingly, Pollak has actually gotten some excellent sports to respond. Dr. Rusty Shackleford of the Jawa Report (Jawa is actually a derogatory term for enemies in Iraq... like Gook for the Vietnamese...) responds: "...Meaningless question since elections are moments in time. Bush is not up for reelection so whether I support a particular policy or not has nothing to do with him being a cat killer..."

The remainder of his response discusses the history of presidential transgressions with Constitutional citations and labyrinthine logic. Doesn't matter. All you remember is Cat Killer.

I'm not saying that Democrats and opponents need to use the Dead Cat frame, or anything quite so graphic -- though I'm not wholly against it. But with all the different ways to skin the political cat, I am saying that the opposition party may do well to take a page from some unorthodox books...

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