Frank Luntz’s right wing talking points

You have to give the Republicans credit. When they realize they’re losing the battle of words, they change the words and issue a memo to their mouthpieces. Frank Luntz is their Orwellian thesaurus. Here’s the spinmaster’s rewriting of the Republican jargon to deal with issued raised by Occupy Wall Street, so you should be hearing it now on Fox News or whenever you hear a representative of the GOP speaking (from Yahoo News):

1. Don’t say “capitalism.”

“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”

2. Don’t say that the government “taxes the rich.” Instead, tell them that the government “takes from the rich.”

“If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But “if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”

3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the “middle class.” Call them “hardworking taxpayers.”

“They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”

4. Don’t talk about “jobs.” Talk about “careers.”

“Everyone in this room talks about ‘jobs,'” Luntz said. “Watch this.”

He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a “job.” Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a “career.” Almost every hand was raised.

“So why are we talking about jobs?”

5. Don’t say “government spending.” Call it “waste.”

“It’s not about ‘government spending.’ It’s about ‘waste.’ That’s what makes people angry.”

6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to “compromise.”

“If you talk about ‘compromise,’ they’ll say you’re selling out. Your side doesn’t want you to ‘compromise.’ What you use in that to replace it with is ‘cooperation.’ It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you’re selling out those principles.”

7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: “I get it.”

“First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ . . . ‘I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”

Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.

8. Out: “Entrepreneur.” In: “Job creator.”

Use the phrases “small business owners” and “job creators” instead of “entrepreneurs” and “innovators.”

9. Don’t ever ask anyone to “sacrifice.”

“There isn’t an American today in November of 2011 who doesn’t think they’ve already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to ‘sacrifice,’ they’re going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how ‘we’re all in this together.’ We either succeed together or we fail together.”

10. Always blame Washington.

Tell them, “You shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it’s the policies over the past few years that have created this problem.”


Don’t say “bonus!”

Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a “bonus.”

“If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you’re going to make people angry. It’s ‘pay for performance.'”

OK, so how can we use some of these tips in a GOP talking point.

Let’s say you hear Newt Gingrich say something like: “Job creators in our free market system want to offer young Americans careers. But if Washington take money from the rich and waste it, who’s to stop it from later taking money from hard working taxpayers.”

Now, I’ve used seven Luntz tips in this statement, so the translation is: “Entrepreneurs in the capitalist system want children to work. But if Washington taxes the rich to make sure there’s adequate government spending, who’s to stop it from taxing the middle class?”

The speaker will conveniently not mention that government spending is more likely to benefit the middle class than the rich, because the rich can already pay for everything they need and don’t care about programs that benefit the general public. But beyond that, the damage is done. The concept of child labor is obfuscated in Luntz jargon.

Medicaid money

Here’s a map of federal funding of Medicaid:

Now it seems that many of the states that rely the most on the federal funding of Medicaid are states where GOP congressmen and governors are the most vocal about gutting the program. Which begs the question: Why are the people in those states so willing to elect people whose goal is to make their lives shorter?

Palin punk’d Romney

If I were Mitt Romney and I had let everyone know that I was going to announce that I was running for president in a speech in New Hampshire, I would despise Sarah Palin for this.

This is the front page of the Manchester Union Leader, one of the state’s biggest newspapers. This newspaper has destroyed presidential hopes (ask Ed Muskie). A Republican would sell his first born for an endorsement from this newspaper. Romney coveted a big front page splash on his announcement.

And then the Thrilla from Wasilla brings her buscapade to the state and blows him away.
Don’t think for a minute that she didn’t know what she was doing.

Romney is the “front runner” and a half-term governor made him look like a chump in his own back yard on his big day.

I still don’t think Palin’s ever going to say she’s running for the presidency. I’ll bet she thinks the GOP field will be so scattered come convention time, she’ll just walk in and delegates will fall to their knees, begging her to take the nomination. It’s delusional, but it mavericky.

But in the meantime, people like Romney need to strike back hard when Palin pulls this kind of stunt. Because if they can’t outmaneuver her, Obama can just start enjoying the next four years of his presidency.

War in Wisconsin

Things in Wisconsin are getting ugly.

Republicans in the Assembly (the lower House) rammed through the “bust the union” bill last night at 1 a.m., running roughshod over Democrats still debating the issue. The GOP pushed it through so fast, they didn’t even allow some Democrats to cast votes. Let’s just say the message they left everyone with is that there is no compromising with them. Let that be a lesson to the Senate Democrats who have exiled themselves to neighboring Illinois.

Here’s a video of what happened when the vote was cast, supplied by Talking Points Memo:

This really calls for a NSFW rant from The Rude Pundit.

Like the man says, elections have consequences. Pay attention to whom you’re voting for.

NOTE: And he doesn’t let Obama get off Scott free on this one:

Speaking of, it’s way, way past time for President Obama to stop being such a pussy about this battle. He doesn’t have to specifically address the concerns of each state (although he should). But howzabout a clear but general statement on support for collective bargaining rights, huh? Would that be so fucking hard? Or is the White House too worried that Hannity will get pissy about it? Or that it would focus attention on the fact that the White House froze the pay for federal workers?

On the move

Well, I’m relocating, again. This time, it’s Washington (the D.C., not the ST), so it looks like the next few years will consist of regular commutes between home in Louisville and home in the District.

It interesting being in a capital city again. On first glance, Brussels and Washington have a lot in common. Both are international cities, filled with important government buildings and swarming with foreign embassies. Both have some kind of demonstration every other day (this week, I’ve passed two on the way to work: one union related, the other internationally inspired).

The road systems are both totally insane. Streets head into circles/rond points (French for circles), and change names when you least expect it. (Do bureaucrats even understand the concept of a grid system?)

There are palaces everywhere. (Yes, we do have palaces in America. What do you think The White House is?)

The capitals are the homes of the most powerful people in the world, and the most desperate, usually within blocks of each other.

Both are enclosed within a major highway: the Ring Road in Brussels and the Beltway in Washington.

And best of all they share this trait on their specific continents: everybody in Europe hates Brussels, and everybody in America hates Washington.

Who could ask for anything more?

Shooting in Arizona

Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot today along with about a dozen other people, at a constituent event in Tucson.

Details aren’t clear, but there have been deaths. The congresswoman was shot in the head and is in critical condition. The gunman, who used an automatic weapon, is in custody.

No one knows why the gunman committed this hideous act. Suffice to say he’s insane.

But Arizona is the state that allowed people to openly carry automatic weapons near an appearance by President Obama in August 2009 and its governor recently signed a law that makes it easier for people to carry concealed weapons.

And don’t forget: Sarah Palin did this:

Putting Democratic congressmen in crosshairs is the sign of a demented mind. But that’s what she did.

Let the games begin

The Circus Maximus we call the U.S. House of Representatives is back with a new starring cast of Republican gladiators. Yesterday, led by new Speaker of the House John Boehner, they pulled out their swords and professed their love of country by reading the Constitution on the floor of the chamber.

To no one’s surprise, they managed to fall on the swords.

Let’s look at the reading itself. The party of purity when it comes to demanding Americans adhere to originalism in all things constitutional, didn’t read the original document. They left out the naughty bits: You know, the part about slavery, and how a black person was three-fifths of a white person. And the part that said don’t even think about getting drunk.

Essentially the stuff that proves that when times change, you should change a document written in the 18th century.

But that’s not the best part. Two Republican congressmen, drunk with power, didn’t even bother to show up to be sworn in.

Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.

The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in, but watched it on television from the Capitol Visitors Center.

“That wasn’t planned. It just worked out that way,” said Fitzpatrick at the time, according to local press on hand, which noted that he “happened to be introducing Texas Congressman Pete Sessions while glad-handing his supporters in the Capitol Visitor Center that he secured for them when the House swearing in began.”

They cast votes, but they weren’t officially congressmen: Which is unconstitutional.

The circus is in town.

Send in the clowns.