A Missed Framing Opportunity?

Framing the Argument 
For Infrastructure Jobs (And Homeland Safety) Program 

I’m a proponent of infrastructure and education becoming the cornerstones of a job-creating, future-investing job generating program.

And I’m surprised to not hear the President invoke more than merely “crumbling bridges and highways” as a means to cite the consequences of neglecting our infrastructure. He seems to choose to frame this argument as a jobs program, and necessity for a nominal modern day lifestyle and a smoothly functioning society.
It was only little over a year ago, however, that the San Bruno gas explosion occurred, which resulted in at least eight fatalities and hundreds of injuries. The explosion was tantamount to a bomb blast destroying an entire neighborhood. 53 homes were destroyed. Aging gas lines were blamed, ones that were designed and built for a handful of then rural structures, structures that multiplied with suburban expansion, overtaxing the network of lines until this catastrophe occurred.

Later the NTSB further excoriated Pacific Gas & Electric’s lack of oversite and the paucity of suitable regulatory measures in place when the network was laid in 1956.
Numerous experts at the time decried this insidious neglect as an ever increasing danger, as infrastructure ages and populations increase. Infrastructure failure continues to emerge as a public safety and public health issue.

I wonder why the President doesn’t seize this argument as an opportunity to frame a public works initiative as necessity for safe communities, much as the neo-cons successfully mobilized public sentiment into two or more colossal global adventures and compromised civil rights using well-framed fear mongering and tales of (further) impending and/or imminent destruction lest a great malignant menace be discounted, neglected or ignored.  


Perhaps trite sounding, but this ever aging infrastructure might be framed as an “enemy within”. The Right relentlessly implements this tactic using everything from “Godlessness” to tax-hikes to promote its agendas. Yes, they’ve even successfully managed to vilify our teachers.

If Obama personalized this particular (infrastructure) threat--anthropomorphized it, if you will, he may counter the rhetoric and shame some of these absurdist legislative opponents into some results. And, lo and behold, create some jobs in the process.

We continue to see the Left fail to frame arguments effectively, something the Right has consistently done.

I’m wondering what linguist George Lakoff would have to er, ah, say about it.