Winning Words

commented on How Republicans Are Getting It Disastrously Wrong: It's The Message, Not The Messaging 2013-01-31 07:24:53 -0800 · Flag
Thank you for the compliment on how well-written our site is, Brad. However, I find your claim regarding conservatives’ feelings about government to be contrary to the talking points the Republican Party (that allegedly speaks for your interests) puts out there (Reagan’s famous quip that “government is the problem” being what started the whole ball rolling).

And raw numbers are quite meaningless when determining the value of anything, but especially government. We’ve just spent the last 10-12 years fighting the longest and most expensive wars in American history while at the same time lowering our income by slashing tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Surely you can see that that was a formula destined to fail.

Thanks for your input! I hope you’ll keep coming by. :)


commented on How To Talk About Gun Legislation — It's 'Responsibility' Not 'Control' 2013-01-13 14:48:19 -0800 · Flag
Thanks, Matt, Karoli & Thomas, for your thoughtful feedback.

Matt, “regulation” is another code word that the right wing gets their panties in a wad over. That may be what it is, but it’s still a word that “bristles.” The object of framing isn’t simply to change words; any wordsmith can do that. The point is to use language that evokes a moral position. Being responsible is moral, and it’s a moral held in high regard by conservative-minded people. That’s why we chose it.

Karoli, same thing. I know there are groups out there pushing for the language to be changed to gun “safety,” and if that’s what ends up sticking, we wont’ exactly complain. But safety doesn’t trigger a moral response, whereas responsibility does. It may feel like a distinction without a difference at the beginning, but when we see how society responds to the acceptance of responsibility for gun ownership in far greater numbers than we could ever achieve by demanding government control, we’ll see the fruits of our efforts in this regard.

Thomas, this isn’t merely a code word; if it were it would be easy to undress, akin to “right to work” being code for “right to get union benefits without having to pay union dues.” That’s code. We want exactly what we’re saying: responsibility. Make sense?

published #RNCConventionSlogans in Winning Tweets 2012-08-27 08:29:04 -0700


published Dear Stephen Ohlemacher: You Fell For It 2012-08-19 19:15:06 -0700

commented on Romney-Ryan VoucherCare Destroys Medicare; Obama's Plan Strengthens It 2012-08-17 11:06:31 -0700 · Flag
Thanks for your input, Michael! We incorporated your frame into our “You say” responses.

published Robert Reich in Find Posts By Author 2012-08-16 18:14:39 -0700

Robert Reich


Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and is currently a Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock" and “The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Read Mr. Reich's blog at Follow him on Twitter @RBReich


Mr. Reich's posts at The Winning Words Project:


published Donate to WWP 2012-08-10 15:03:00 -0700

published Roy Temple in Find Posts By Author 2012-08-01 17:44:36 -0700

Roy Temple


Roy Temple is a veteran Democratic political strategist from the great state of Missouri.

Temple is an innovator in the use of digital media in advocacy efforts. He is an original founder of Fired Up! Missouri, which was recognized by The Washington Post as an outstanding local political blog. In addition, Temple secured a pivotal FEC advisory opinion (FEC AO 2005-16) that offers guidance to bloggers about the intersection of blogging, advocacy, and campaign finance law.

Temple has been active in Democratic politics since 1986, having served as political director on Governor Mel Carnahan's first bid for Governor of Missouri and as campaign manager for his re-election in 1996. Temple was also Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff to Governor Carnahan during his tenure. Temple served as the liaison between Governor Mel Carnahan and the Clinton White House on federal issues and appointments, and worked with Governors and their staffs from across the country during Carnahan’s tenure as Chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association.

Temple later served as U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan’s Chief of Staff. In that role, Temple supported Carnahan’s work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee, and the Government Affairs Committee (now the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs). Temple was particularly involved in Carnahan’s work on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations during the hearings on the collapse of Enron.

In 2004, Temple served as the Missouri State Director for the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry, and in the general election served as the Minnesota State Director for Kerry-Edwards 2004.

During the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, Temple was a principal in the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic polling firm, The Feldman Group. At the Feldman Group, he worked primarily on U.S. Senate races, and in 2006, his work included Senator Sherrod Brown’s effort in Ohio, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure efforts in Maryland, Montana and Rhode Island. During the 2008 cycle, Temple was heavily involved in Al Franken’s pursuit of the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota, and worked closely on the DSCC independent expenditure efforts in the Oregon Senate race.

Temple’s analysis and commentary has been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, POLITICO, and by the Associated Press. In addition, he has appeared on the NBC Evening News, CNN, MSNBC, the Fox News Channel, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and others.

Temple graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a B.S. in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of law where he earned his J.D. Temple is a member of the Missouri Bar.

He would appreciate a follow on Twitter.


Mr. Temple's posts at The Winning Words Project:

Small Business Person Testimonial by Rhythmdvl

How to talk about the role of government in our accomplishments—Small Business-person Testimonial:

I'm a small business. [My wife and I] have been hiring and using an array of subcontractors during the past few years, and have grown our business during a horrid economic climate. Long, long hours in the office, often sleeping two to four hours a night for a few weeks on to shepherd projects through. Backbreaking effort that is still going on.

I can crow about our achievements and beam with pride at the dividends our sweat equity is paying. Every word, every project, every deal, every sacrifice we've made is coming back to us many times over as clients and institutions have come to rely on our services. It's our reputation, one that we built.

But because I'm not a political hack, I can simultaneously exalt and glorify those people and institutions that made this possible. Whether it's the specific teachers, guidance counselors or financial aid workers who helped make it possible for a high school dropout to get an Ivy League education or Tim Berners-Lee (et al) who made it possible for us to run our business out of our home or holy shit the list goes on.

No longer a high school sophomore obsessed with Ayn Rand, I can easily recognize that however grand my—or anyone else's—accomplishments are, they wouldn't have been possible without an army of public and private institutions and people. Fuck yeah these people should be glorified, and if it's a matter of recognizing that a portion of my income should go to society so my [children] and [my political opponents' children] will have equal opportunities to maximize their potential, so be it. Doing so doesn't detract from our accomplishments, and doesn't mean we're some bastardized and politically expedient version of socialist.

~ Rhythmdvl
July 25, 2012

commented on SHOCKING: The Real Reason Our Government Is The Size It Is! 2012-07-27 11:48:18 -0700 · Flag
Great suggestion, Adam. However, since we aren’t the original authors of this piece, we aren’t at liberty to change the text throughout. So what I’ll do is add “strong government” to our suggested re-frames in the “how to” section. Thanks for the input!

Keep it coming, folks! We love to hear from you!

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