I just read this article detailing the advise given to the Republican Governors Association by GOP strategist Frank Luntz. See the article for his full advise, but here are his basic points:
- Don’t say ‘capitalism.’
- Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’
- Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’
- Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’
- Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’
- Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’
- The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’
- Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’
- Don’t ever ask anyone to ‘sacrifice.’
- Always blame Washington.
- Don’t say ‘bonus.’ Say ‘pay for performance.’
I’m surprised (because Frank Luntz is deviously clever) how easy these talking points are to respond to. Here are my responses:
- Republicans’ “economic freedom” means the freedom of wealthy corporations to behave as immorally as they wish. What they’re really talking about is a continuation of the sort of unfettered capitalism that’s gotten us into the mess we’re in. That doesn’t make sense.
- It’s the responsibility of all Americans to contribute what they are able for the good of the nation. It is unjust for anyone to have to choose between paying for medical bills and paying for food. It is also unjust for some people to spend ungodly amounts of money on luxuries when that money could go to pay our teachers better. That just wouldn’t make sense.
- There are lots of people who work hard in this country. But unfortunately, how hard you work has become divorced from how much money you make. The lower on the economic totem pole you go, the harder people are working for every dollar. Let’s not pretend that the wealthiest Americans have it as hard as the working poor or the shrinking middle class. This is unfair.
- Everyone wants job security. Everyone wants ownership of what they do day in and day out. The spending cuts pushed by Republicans would force hardworking Americans to scramble for degrading minimum wage jobs while wealthy CEOs who capsize the US economy get paid millions on the way out the door. That is unfair.
- It is a waste for financial firms exploding with revenue to be bailed out with the taxes of hardworking Americans. It is a waste for defense spending to dwarf education spending. It is not a waste to spend taxpayer money on ensuring an equal opportunity for all. It is not a waste for all of us to pay our fair share to secure America’s future. We need that honest investment in the future.
- Compromise and cooperation are important, because there will always be disagreements, and to govern, choices have to be made. But the principles of equality and fairness cannot be bargained away. It’s okay to admit a mistake if your entrenched position is unjust. Everyone makes mistakes, but real responsibility comes from being able to admit them. We need responsible leadership to fix our broken system.
- It’s wonderful that Republicans are starting to realize that their way of doing things is making people angry. But offering the same old solutions is not the way to make things better. As long as industry-backed politicians are still pushing for less regulation, lower taxes, and less investment in the future, you have to wonder whether they really “get it”. We need our leaders to actually do something good.
- Good jobs are created by innovation and a level playing field. When the unregulated financial speculation brings the economy down around our ears, good jobs are lost. Further, it’s hard for young entrepreneurs to create the next big employer when they’re burdened with impossible mountains of education debt. We need a stable economy, and we need to invest in creativity.
- Most Americans have sacrificed a great deal because of the irresponsibility of corporate practices. Unfortunately, those responsible have not sacrificed at all. Until wealthy Americans are paying their fair share, it makes no sense for hardworking citizens to sacrifice even more by giving up services we need. It makes no sense to continue with the same broken system we have now.
- Wealthy politicians are as much to blame for the mess we’re in as wealthy executives. But getting money out of politics is the only way to solve the structural problem that allowed them to destroy our economy. As long as fundraising is a primary ingredient of campaigning, neither Washington nor Wall Street will be responsible. Until that changes, I will protest.
- The performance of countless hardworking Americans goes unrewarded all the time. As long as big-money corporations are able to pay big-money employees big-money bonuses while many Americans are going hungry, there’s a big problem in this country. Until that changes, I will protest.
What do you think? Are the same Republican goals of less regulation and lower taxes on the wealthy going to fix things?
One Reply to “Frank Luntz doesn’t get it.”
Bravo, Alex. Thank you for speaking up so clearly against the distortions that pass for political speech from some quarters.