Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of America's Most Dangerous People Is Back

Frank Luntz is good at what he does, but not in a good way. He is an influential master wordsmith and strategist that has put his expertise in the service of the Republican party and of some of the most hideous public policy causes in the recent history of America. For example, Salon notes that it is Luntz who suggested that Republicans should talk about "personalizing social security" instead of "privatizing" it, during President Bush's push to destroy one of the most successful public programs in the history of the nation. It is he who promoted the use of "tax relief" instead of "tax cuts". Again, Luntz changed the tone of the debate on the estate tax by reframing it as "the death tax". Samantha Bee had a fantastic spoof of Luntz and President Bush's fake town hall meetings in this segment for the Daily Show.

Now, Media Matters reports, he is back, smack dab in the middle of the health care reform debate, attempting to influence public opinion against it by resorting to the usual spin and lies he has trained us to expect from him. On the August 18th edition of Hannity, Luntz maintained that the only way for the president to pay for health care reform is to slash Medicare benefits: "it's almost like [President Obama is] declaring war on Medicare because it's the only way for him to be able to pay for health care." noted instead that "The claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors' Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false." [Emphasis added.]

This lie goes hand in hand with the strategy that Luntz outlined in early May in a messaging memo that had the immediate effect of changing the rhetoric used by Republicans to describe their opposition to reform. More about Luntz's 10-point plan at the Daily Kos.

Soon after the Luntz memo on health care was released, Paul Begala offered his response in a 9-page PDF. You can read more about it at The Seminal.

Remember: Informing yourself is the only sure way to defeat Luntz speak.

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