Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (and Win Elections)

ISBN: 0977197298
ISBN 13: 9780977197293
By: Jeffrey Feldman George Lakoff

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About this book

“Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world. . . . When you hear a word, its frame is activated in your brain. . . . In politics our frames shape our social policies. . . . Because language activates frames, new language is required for new frames.”—George LakoffFor decades, the powerful communications machine of the conservative movement has controlled our national political discourse. One of the biggest obstacles to progressive victory has been seeing what American political speech looks like when it is not “framed” by the Republican noise machine.Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (and Win Elections) is about unleashing the power of communication in contemporary progressive politics. The book presents fifteen key speeches by American presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George Bush—in order to define the big ideas and images—the “frames”—that each speech evokes to show how those framing techniques can be applied to today’s political debate in order promote a progressive perspective.An essential book in today’s political climate, Framing the Debate will be instrumental in helping to reshape progressive political language and rhetoric.An expert on speeches and messaging, Jeffrey Feldman is the editor in chief of the influential political blog Frameshop ( He also has a weekly segment on The Thom Hartmann Show on Air America, and travels the country offering seminars on language and progressive politics.

Reader's Thoughts

jonathan berger

Not the most thrilling stuff, but easy enough to get through. The format works by virtue of its brevity and economy of prose--there's no bloviating here--although at times it feels overly specific. The excellent time-invested-to-insight-gained ratio makes it a no-brainer for any would-be politico's mental toolkit.


Another good book on Framing. Feldman uses famous presidential speeches to make his points about how carefully crafted messages inspire and motivate citizens.

Aldon Hynes

I loved this book and I encourage people to get out and read it.I wrote about it on my blog:

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