Class warfare, redux…

Ben Fritz, of SpinSansity, takes a look at the recent, and increasing, use of the term “class warfare” in regard to Bush administration tax and economic policies. I offered my opinion on the term earlier. Check here and here. Fritz concludes:

Apparently confident that “class warfare” is a powerful tool in their rhetorical arsenal, Republicans have been using the phrase frequently during the current debate. But Democrats seem well aware of how powerful the term has become and are launching a major effort to reclaim the term they thrust into the political vocabulary, turning it back against Republicans. Regardless of who wins the current debate, what’s most notable about the rise of the term “class warfare” is how one phrase has become so central to economic debate in American politics, simplifying complex issues concerning tax and spending priorities into a back-and-forth over the meaning of just two words.

I beg to differ on a point that certainly is not minor: The winner of the battle of definitions wins the policy–that’s what’s important. That the term has become central to the debate, and simplifies complex issues, is stating the obvious about terms and their political use in general. Terms come and terms go. Among the important central questions we should be asking are these: Who is winning the battle of definitions? Why? What role are the news media playing? How will each possible outcome affect policy and the people?

UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): There’s a lot to read about class warfare on TomPaine.com, including a compendium and articles by Matt Miller and John Moyers.