Obama’s “I Am Not a Crook” Moment

Washington’s Blog

Obama Says America Is Not a Banana Republic and We Have to Pay Our Bills …  What Do Experts Say?

America’s top liberal communications expert is George Lakoff.  Professor Lakoff (who we’ve previously interviewed) points out that when a politician says “Not X”, people usually think of X: 

I wrote a book called, Don’t Think of an Elephant! The title made a basic point: Negating a frame activates that frame. If you activate the other side’s frame, you just help the other side, as Nixon found out when he said, “I am not a crook,” which made people think of him as a crook.

President Obama just said:

This is the United States of America — we’re not some banana republic, this is not a deadbeat nation, we don’t run out on our tab.


We can’t just not pay our bills.”


What Lakoff and other political psychologists explain is that what most Americans – and people all over the world – will hear is:

America is a banana republic, a deadbeat nation, which can’t pay its bills.

Of course, there is some basis for accusing the U.S. of becoming a banana republic … a deadbeat which can’t pay its bills.

But the focus of this post is on Obama’s Nixon moment … invoking the exact image which he is trying to avoid.

Obama has failed to learn the most basic concept from the psychology of politics.


4 thoughts on “Obama’s “I Am Not a Crook” Moment

    1. Thank you Mark. I wish that we could say the same thing obama does and have every one else pay our bills like the govt. does when it has the hard working American tax payer pay for their wasteful spending ways.

  1. Dear barry They aren’t our BILLS you moron.Its money STOLEN& hoarded by YOU & other traitorous pieces of INHUMAN MURDEROUS FILTH THAT ARE VERY soon to be tried convicted and HUNG FOR FKN TREASON

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