I might call it understanding where Debbie Downer is coming from.
By JAMES TARANTO
"Don't repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them."
That bit of advice, No. 1 on a list titled "The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know," comes from the promotional material for "The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic" by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling.
Many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoff's recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals can't seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative "moral frames," every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally [sic] out of left field.
Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions--it simply ignores them. . . .
By intentionally refusing to challenge, disprove, understand or even acknowledge the existence of the other side's argument, you allow that argument to grow in strength and win converts.
This is an important insight, not only into the way the left debates and otherwise communicates, but into the way the left thinks--or fails to think. The book's subtitle, after all, promises an instruction in "Thinking and Talking Democratic." Lakoff and Wehling command their readers not only to act as if opposing arguments are without merit, but to close their minds to those arguments. What comes across to conservatives as a maddening arrogance is actually willed ignorance.