Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Jeffrey M. Ringer

Committee Members

Janet M. Atwill, Lisa M. King


This thesis utilizes metaphor theory and, in particular, the work of cognitive linguist George Lakoff to explore contemporary political discourse surrounding the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and the Common Core State Standards ("Obamacore") in the United States. I investigate the different moral frameworks, grounded in metaphorical notions of the ideal family, that underlie both liberal and conservative ideology in the US. After demonstrating that liberals and conservatives have coherent positions toward both the Affordable Care Act and Common Core, I argue that conservatives have been more successful at framing political issues in terms favorable to their own views. I conclude by offering suggestions for how we might promote public debate over values instead of over-relying upon preexisting cognitive frames that polarize political discourse.

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