No Such Thing As A Free Luntz

February 1st, 2007at 02:16pm Posted by Eli

Master Scribe Robert Novak spins us Frank Luntz’s Sad Tale Of Woe:

Pollster Frank Luntz for the past decade has issued warnings to his fellow Republicans that they did not want to hear, but never has he been so out of touch with them as he is today. “The Republican message machine is a skeleton of its former self,” Luntz told me. “These people have no idea how the American people react to them.”

…While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party’s congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats.

Like those of Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz’s prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans have never been very comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. “They do not want to hear the truth,” Luntz told me. While truth-telling is celebrated by Republican reformers such as presidential front-runner John McCain [BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!], it is a decidedly minority view in the GOP.


“The Republican Party that lost those historic elections was a tired, cranky shell of the articulate, reformist, forward-thinking movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change,” Luntz wrote. He went on to say that the Republicans of 2006 “were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to ‘revolutionize’ Washington. Washington won.”

[Luntz] often has worked for the media and made comments too harsh for the ears of reclusive Republicans. He has clashed frequently with Rep. John A. Boehner, the Republican leader of the House who stifled ethics legislation last year when he was still majority leader.

Boehner, elected chairman of the House Republican Conference when the party took control in 1995, tried then to keep Luntz from addressing closed-door meetings but was overruled by Speaker Gingrich. When Luntz warned publicly in October 2005 of rejection by voters in 2006, he was forced to deliver an abject apology before he could speak at a retreat of House Republicans held at the Library of Congress. After seven straight years on the program, Luntz was kept off last week’s 2007 session at Cambridge, Md., by Boehner.


Indeed, Luntz is not alone in his gloomy prognosis. Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes his party “underestimates” the 2006 outcome and thinks the outlook for Republicans is as dangerous as it has been “at any time since Watergate.” Sen. Jim DeMint, a reform Republican from South Carolina, says the newly minority Republicans are like the Israelites yearning for the fleshpots of Egypt[!!!]. The question is whether the party will heed warnings or follow the route of its leaders, who mainly want to trash Nancy Pelosi.

Poor, heroic, truthtelling Frank Luntz, shut out of the halls of power by the little men who cannot appreciate his vision. I weep.

Novak doesn’t explicitly frame it as such, but this really sounds like a disagreement between Luntz and Rove, with Rove pushing Republicans to continue sliming and attacking Democrats, and Luntz urging them to focus on selling their destructive policies with misleading language. It certainly does sound like a difficult choice to make, but Luntz and Novak believe the Republicans have made it.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to expect Republicans to pick one strategy over the other. They’re not mutually exclusive, so there’s really no reason Republicans can’t lie about themselves and their opponents at the same time.

Additional Thoughts:

o Luntz didn’t mind the strategy of relentless insult and attack when his idol, Newt Gingrich, was the premiere practitioner of it.

o How often do you see the word “fleshpots” in a Robert Novak column? (No, on second thought, please don’t tell me.)

o Be sure to click on the link to see the alarmingly retouched photo of Frank Luntz provided by… Frank Luntz.

o If anyone wants to orchestrate a steel cage deathmatch between Luntz and Rove, please let me know, and I will dedicate myself to raising whatever funds you need.

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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