From professor George Lakoff in the NY Times:
The first rule of using negatives is that negating a frame activates the frame. If you tell someone not to think of an elephant, he’ll think of an elephant. When Richard Nixon said, “I am not a crook” during Watergate, the nation thought of him as a crook.Also, recall how flexibility was regarded by the administration as wavering and appeasing. Suddenly they hope to get away with using it -- but thankfully it's not working.
“Listen, we’ve never been stay the course, George,” President Bush told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News a day earlier. Saying that just reminds us of all the times he said “stay the course.”
“Stay the course” was for years a trap for those who disagreed with the president’s policies in Iraq. To disagree was weak and immoral. It meant abandoning the fight against evil. But now the president himself is caught in that trap. To keep staying the course, given obvious reality, is to get deeper into disaster in Iraq, while not staying the course is to abandon one’s moral authority as a conservative. Either way, the president loses.And of course he deserves it. Not we the American public, not our military, our soldiers, not the Iraqis, not the rest of the world involved. Just him alone.