A big boo hoo for poor Frank Luntz. As ye sow, dude ...

A big boo hoo for poor Frank Luntz. As ye sow, dude ...

by digby

So Frank Luntz is out there blubbering like a 5 year old about how divided the country has become and he just can't figure out why. Frank Luntz!

I'm not going to bore you with his pathetic sniveling here, suffice to say he seems to be having something of a breakdown. You can read all about it in this deeply weird profile. But let's just say that if he's truly worried about the political and cultural division in this country he should take a look in the mirror (and check his bank account) to see just who's been making zillions over the past few decades exploiting them.

If I may:
Luntz was Pat Buchanan's pollster during the 1992 U.S. Republican presidential primary, and later that year served as Ross Perot's pollster in the general election.

Luntz also served as Newt Gingrich's pollster in mid-1990s for the Contract with America. During that time, he helped Gingrich produce a GOPAC memo that encouraged Republicans to "speak like Newt" by describing Democrats and Democratic policies using words such as “corrupt,” "devour," "greed," "hypocrisy," "liberal," "sick," and "traitors."
Far be it from me to assert that Luntz was the first to demonize liberals but he certainly was one of the most successful at making a profit from it.

And he's such a lovely fellow:
FRANK LUNTZ: I always use the line for Nancy Pelosi, "You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn't work the first time, let it go."
In case you missed the full scope of Luntz's original contribution to greater civility in our politics, this might remind you:
[T]he clearest expression of Gingrich's [and Luntz's] philosophy of media came in a GOPAC memo entitled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control." Distributed to GOP candidates across the country, the memo's list of words for Democrats and words for Republicans was endorsed by Gingrich in a cover letter: "The words in that paper are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language." Next time you hear Gingrich complain about media focusing on the negative, refer back to these lists.

As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that "language matters." In the video "We Are a Majority," Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules, Attitude and Learning. As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates, we have heard a plaintive plea: "I wish I could speak like Newt."That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases.

This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that, like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used....

Contrasting Words

Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

decay... failure (fail)... collapse(ing)... deeper... crisis... urgent(cy)... destructive... destroy... sick... pathetic... lie... liberal... they/them... unionized bureaucracy... "compassion" is not enough... betray... consequences... limit(s)... shallow... traitors... sensationalists...
endanger... coercion... hypocrisy... radical... threaten... devour... waste... corruption... incompetent... permissive attitudes... destructive... impose... self-serving... greed... ideological... insecure... anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs... pessimistic... excuses... intolerant...
stagnation... welfare... corrupt... selfish... insensitive... status quo... mandate(s)... taxes... spend(ing)... shame... disgrace... punish (poor...)... bizarre... cynicism... cheat... steal... abuse of power... machine... bosses... obsolete... criminal rights... red tape... patronage
There was also a list of positive terms to refer to themselves, naturally.

That was a long time ago. This is a more recent example of the same work.

The reporter who interviewed Luntz for the profile was confused by his angst, unable to figure out exactly what it was that so upsets him today. I'd say he's suffering from delusions --- and guilt:
He feels a kinship with Jeff Daniels' character, the gruff, guilt-ridden, ostensibly Republican antihero, who is uncomfortable with small talk and driven by a "mission to civilize." "I love that phrase," Luntz says. "That doesn't happen in anything that we do."
No. No it doesn't.