Greg Sargent reported yesterday that only ten members of Congress have signed their names to a statement the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence distributed several weeks ago (i.e., before the Aurora gun massacre). The statement doesn’t ask senators or representatives to pledge their support for banning assault weapons or for regulating the purchase of high-capacity magazines.
This weekend’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum” at a Des Moines megachurch probably seemed like a great idea to Iowa social conservatives when it was first developed. You’d have the presidential candidates arrayed around a “Thanksgiving table,” obediently waiting for a symbolic serving of activist support. In the pews would be thousands of stolid Iowans of the sort most likely to show up at the January 3 caucuses. Wielding the microphone would be focus-group king Frank Luntz, probing the worldviews of the candidates to determine their fidelity to a teavangelical, big-God, small-government creed.
Jack Shafer, unlike me, sees no problem with Fox News demanding its hosts stop using the phrase public option: The call to refer to the program as the government option instead of the public option came from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Media Matters and Kurtz report. But this shouldn't disqualify the new term from the Fox News stylebook. Government option is superior to public option in that it emphasizes that the government—and thus the taxpayers—will be footing the bill.
In 2009, pollster Frank Luntz was warning Republicans not to use the term "public option." That year, Fox News Washington editor Bill Sammon sent out a memo instructing his subordinates not to use the phrase: From: Sammon, BillSent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AMTo: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -ProducersSubject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option" 1) Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whene
My latest TRB column is out. It's about Frank Luntz, and the strange duality of his role: Luntz has slowly evolved into a fully self-aware comic figure—a kind of right-wing, establishmentarian Abbie Hoffman, exposing the moral vacuity of politics by openly conceding the total subordination of fact to spin.
Last week, Republican pollster Frank Luntz offered himself up as a punch line in a segment for “The Daily Show.” The somewhat convoluted premise of the sketch was that the show’s correspondent, Samantha Bee, was helping a security consultant track down his stolen guns. For her search team, Bee assembled an ex-con, a former loan shark, and Luntz. At one point, as the three questioned the consultant’s cleaning staff, the ex-shylock threatened to break their bones unless they confessed. “No no no no no,” interjected Luntz.
Even by the standards of politics, Republican opposition to financial reform is unusually shameless. The GOP party line, in keeping with the postmodernist stylings of Frank Luntz, is that they oppose financial regulation because it's a big handout to the financial industry. Here's Mitch McConnell: This bill not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of Wall Street banks; it institutionalizes them. “The bill gives the Federal Reserve enhanced emergency lending authority that is far too open to abuse.
The right-wing group "Committee for Truth In Politics" seems to have taken the advice of the postmodernist Frank Luntz, and cast new regulations on Wall Street, which Wall Street is furiously attempting to kill, as a giant favor to Wall Street. Check it out: Factcheck.org debunks the claim that the financial regulation bill contains some new bailout fund. "The Committee for Truth in Politics" refuses to disclose its sources of funding, and I wouldn't bet against them being financed by the financial industry.
I'm hardly naive about the willingness of politicians to twist the English language to suit their ends, so that tax hikes become "revenue enhancement" and cutting Medicare turns into "preserve, protect, and improve." But the thoroughly relativistic approach to truth employed by Frank Luntz never fails to take my breath away. Luntz's latest memo advising Republicans on how to fight financial reform, obtained by Sam Stein, is a classic of the genre.