For those who haven’t heard(*), conservative strategist Frank Luntz produced a 160-page playbook (zipped file) advising Republican politicians and pundits how to spin the right-wing agenda to make it more palpatable to mainstream America.
(* = And of course you haven’t heard it, since the evil libural media haven’t bothered to mention boo about it, but that’s another story to be buried…)
Among Luntz’s handy tips:
[li]“Resist the temptation” to use facts and figures when talking about the economy. Hell, avoid specifics all together – “Americans don’t want to be told that the economy is doing better, because most haven’t seen any evidence of such.”[/li]
[li]Blame everything on 9/11 – the deficit, the stock market, rising unemployment, Bush’s tax cuts, everything. “Much of the public anger can be immediately pacified if they are reminded that we would not be in this situation today if 9/11 had not happened,” writes Luntz. Heck, there’s even a section titled “Without the context of 9-11, you will be blamed for the deficit.”[/li]
[li]Don’t pass all of the right-wing agenda at once; save something for the mid-term elections to rile up the base.[/li]
[li]Talk up your efforts in promoting security and time-saving, to draw in the soccer moms. “And since women value time over money, your strategy should include your successful efforts to promote legislation that in some way provides women more free time.”[/li]
[li]Use symbols to make your message easier for the masses to understand. “The American people cannot always be expected to directly grasp the connection between your policies and your principles.”[/li]
[li]Blame China for trade issues. “A villian always helps. Our polling indicates that 31% of Americans see China as the country that ignores agreements and breaks rules the most often… [they] could function as a stunningly effective foil when talking about fairness.”[/li]
[li]“When All Else Fails, Go After The IRS. … The IRS is in some ways the last remaining symbol that differentiates the party of Lincoln and Reagan from the party of Hillary Clinton and Lyndon Johnson.”[/li][/ul]
There’s a lot more, of course, including the appendix on the “The 14 words never to use,” but this gives a good gist of the document: Luntz and the GOP believe Americans are mindless sheep, who can be easily manipulated using his guidelines and examples.
So, is this an indication of how little the Republican party thinks of the voters, that they can be twiddled with a guidebook of sound bites and bullshit? Or is this merely a new and improved version of Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC buzzword memo? Or both?
So politicians and pundits obfuscate and spin? Gee, this is new and shocking stuff!
Listen, I’m as Republican as they come, especially around here, but I won’t pretend special virtue when it comes to communications of this nature. Further, I find it ludicrous to expect it, given the nature of American politics on all sides.
There’s so much else you can legitimately attack my party on than this, which doesn’t amount to a fart in a hurricane.
Clearly, this document was written by the Chinese in an attempt to make us waste time arguing over it when we should be working together to replace the IRS with a more American-friendly instutition: a necessary step in this post 9/11 world.
If the statistics cited in Tab 14 " Things never to say" are correct, then what does that say about the public?
If slight differences in phrasing really do make these differences in the amount of public support then what does that say about the public? I’ll tell you - it says that 'rational ignorance is The Greatest Threat to Our Republic today.
Good post. May I observe, though, that the second paragraph is what sets you apart from some Republican partisans (and to be honest, some Democratic partisans too), who would claim the moral high ground for them and theirs?
Yeah, they’re out to win elections. And a lot of people don’t pay close attention except when an issue that’s hot-button to them is raised, preferring instead to judge on sound bites.
Well, I could certainly try to do this. But people who know me well know that I once worked for a PR firm that did lots of campaign work for Republican candidates. I was an intern once for then-Congressman Santorum, an enlisted man in the Navy and I work for a defense contractor today.
Sometimes, the best you can hope for is to be a relatively virtuous and upstanding hack or whore.
I guess I missed the part in my post where I was the making that particular claim. I said that political operatives can be sleazy…nothing more, nothing less. Unless you’re making the case that “peddling political propaganda to the populace” is worse than campaign finance reporting crimes or illegally soliciting foreign nationals to contribute to national political campaigns…I guess I don’t see your point.
Luntz is a partisan political operative, right?
David Rosen is a partisan political operative, right?
They both are doing actions…that when caught in the light of day make them look stupid. FWIW, I kinda doubt that the Democrats don’t have strategic memos out there…and I’m guessing that a few of those memos (like the actions of Mr. Rosen above) are probably not shining beacons of hope.
Does that excuse the actions of Luntz…nope.
Does it seem like you’re claiming that only evil Pubbies engage in sleazy partisan silliness…yep. (Of course if you can point out a thread that you started (or post that you made) lambasting Dems for any sleazy political tactic, I’d glady withdraw the last claim).
FWIW…I don’t think that either party has the high road in terms of strategic political tactics…to imply that one party does seems a tad silly.