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ing under U.N. command have to do with each other? Come to think of it, Lakoff thought, I can’t articulate my morality clearly, and most conservatives and liberals can’t either. After looking for an underlying metaphor that would unify political positions that seemed contradictory, Lakoff hit on the metaphor of the nation as a family, a metaphor that structures the politics of conservatives and liberals, as he shows in Moral Politics. Conservatives prefer a “Strict Father Family” model, he argues, while liberals prefer a “Nurturing Parent Family.” Such generalizations seem dangerous, but the method produces a reliable map of American political discourse. For instance, it suggests why supporting the death penalty but criticizing abortion rights because the Strict Father punishes moral inferiors and protects moral dependents. And it’s why there are relatively few liberal thinktanks and scholarships for college studentsliberals spend their money compassionately, not strategically. In a new afterword to the book’s next paperback version, Lakoff explains that Bill Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky upset conservatives because, “It was an affront to strict father morality,” he wrote. “It was literally a family matter.” The book, published by the University of Chicago press, has landed Lakoff several consulting gigs. Last spring he met with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland. He’s also tentatively lined up to do work for Robert Casey Jr., a likely Democratic candidate for governor in Pennsylvania. Would he ever work for a Republican political campaign? “Not a chance:’ Lakoff says. Last year he also refused to support or work for Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential campaign. “I was asked by many people,” he says. “I was asked by his sister [Laura Nader, an anthropologist at Berkeley], by one of the founders of the California Green Party, by one of their major funders. I just bawled them out. I said, you all shouldn’t be doing this. I might like what he’s saying, but he’s absolutely dead wrong on this and destructive.” In other venues, Lakoff’s ideas are used to communicate progressive political values and complex scientific ideas to the general public, notably by two think tanks, Institute in Washington, D.C. This is, perhaps, fancy PR with academic credentials that depends on its intellectualism to be attractive. But if you can systematically collect and analyze the conceptual models people use to organize their experience, Lakoff argues, you also know the metaphorical resources they possess, some of which might be ignored and untapped, and which you can use to articulate ideas more effectively. On these principles, one of Lakoff’s former students, Joe Grady, and a colleague, Axel Aubrun, operate a consulting firm called Cultural Logic in Washington, D.C. In one recent project, they interviewed flea collar shoppers at PetSmart, asking them to explain why they put strips of toxic chemicals on their beloved pets and let them walk around inside the house. Usually people focus on the size of their pets relative to themselves and conclude that the toxic danger, like the dog, is small. But when Aubrun and Grady reframed the question, to focus on the shared environment, the shoppers’ reasoning broke down. That difference, Aubrun and Grady figure, may help predict which pro-environment messages are likely to fail and which will succeed. Normal pollsters are interested in surface phenomena, Aubrun says. “They’re interested in the weather. We’re interested in the climate.” . . . when George Lakoff, a Berkeley linguist, travelled to Austin for a day-long meeting with Democratic political consultants back in August, he was anxious. “I’m the novice,” he said at the time .. . Lakoff was being a little demure. All of this brought Lakoff to Texas in August, to help get Texas Democratic operatives up to speed on how to appeal to Hispanic voters by producing messages that have a mix of values that are neither purely conservative nor liberal, in theory mirroring the values of the traditional Hispanic family. On authority figures; on the other hand, they also extend compassionate regard to the 12/21/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13