Careful with those facts, Eugene!

"I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right."

Attributed to George M. Cohan, it's the first rule of politics. Or the first one I was taught, anyway.

In a long-forgotten political campaign on the South Side of Chicago back in 1960-something I worked on a press release for my now long-forgotten candidate in which I outlined the misrepresentations of his opponent and refuted them with the facts of ours.

"No, no, no," I was told. "Don't keep repeating what he said and don't repeat his name more than once."

Because when you read, "George Smith says that poor people have only themselves to blame," and then you list the reasons that George Jones says he is wrong, what are you going to remember? The first guy's name or the second? The pithy statement or the list of facts?

I finally stopped watching MSNBC last year because, after having avoided listening to Rush Limbaugh for most of his career, suddenly every program led with another pithy statement from Rush or Glen Beck.

"Stop it!" I would scream at my TV. "You're giving them free air time!"

Finally, someone with a bigger audience than my little Bookhouse will ever have has written a piece warning of this very thing.

George Lakoff wrote this piece, The Santorum Strategy, recently in Truthout. I've been trying to spread the warning. Stop talking about them! Start talking about us!

The repetition of language expressing [conservative] values leads to more and more working people becoming political and accepting those values in their politics. As long as the Democrats have no positive moral messaging of their own, repeated over and over, the Santorum Strategy will go unchallenged and conservative populism will expand. Moreover, repeating the Santorum language by mocking it or arguing against it using that language will only help radical conservatives in propagating their views.