No one exemplifies the liberal standpoint on electioneering better than messaging guru George Lakoff. Here’s his diagnosis of what went wrong for Democrats in last week’s election:
Let me see if I got this straight. Independents are “bi-conceptuals” with enough brain circuitry to process conservative and liberal moral messages. But while the Republicans activated conservative-friendly circuits with campaign pitches that engaged the voter’s “morality and sense of self,” Democrats didn’t supply the moral juice to activate liberal-friendly circuits. If Democratic candidates had only listened to him, Lakoff implies, the results would have been different.“[D]emographers report that the big swing in this election was among ‘independents.’ What are called "independents" are actually bi-conceptuals -- people who have both conservative and progressive conceptual systems in their brains, each inhibiting the other and usually applying to different issues. When such voters hear messages from one side but not the other, that side's moral system becomes active and is made stronger. That happened all over the country in this election. . . .
"[V]oters vote on the basis of their morality and their sense of self, which is a reflection of their moral values. In this election, conservatives reached the bi-conceptuals over the past year and a half preaching their morality (e.g. freedom -- government takeover; life -- death panels). The Obama administration only countered with policy, which goes in one ear and out the other. No moral leadership via messaging.
"What is being missed is the enormous effect of this massive communications failure by the Democrats.”
I’ll leave to you to figure out whether this "scientific" vocabulary adds anything to the trite observation that Democrats didn’t make much of a case for what they’ve done over the last two years. I’m more interested in the self-reflexive application of Lakoff's words: what message is he sending to his fellow citizens when he reduces their considered political preferences to reflexive responses to the stimuli transmitted by political messengers?
I think “contempt” pretty well covers it.