Ubiquitous GOP "message guru" Frank Luntz is the guy who teaches Republicans how to kill things. When Democrats introduce a bill and Republicans decide that they'd like to kill it, for sport, they ask Luntz to come up with a couple of phrases to reiterate hundreds of times a day, so as to terrify the American people.
When Republicans want to (try to) kill a health care reform bill, Luntz instructs them to refer to it as a "government rationing care," because that's the arbitrary phrase that most angers his focus groups. For financial reform, the arbitrary phrase is "permanent bailouts." A bill doesn't even have to be written yet for Luntz to do his job, because no matter what's in it, the most effective attack phrase won't change.
Right now, though, Luntz is panicking. He sees Republicans being out-messaged on the economy as the left's dangerous class warfare talk is resonating with voters and threatening capitalism!
"I'm so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I'm frightened to death," said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation's foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. "They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism."
This is what Luntz told attendees during a session at this week's Republican Governors Assocation meeting. Yahoo's Chris Moody sat in on Luntz's chat, in which he "offered tips on how Republicans could discuss the grievances of the Occupiers, and help the governors better handle all these new questions from constituents about 'income inequality' and 'paying your fair share.'" Notebooks out, everyone. Frank Luntz is going to teach us how to deal with hippie talk!
First: In order to save capitalism, you must stop using the word "capitalism." No one likes it anymore! Say "markets" or whatever instead:
"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."
Next: Never say you oppose taxing the rich. The public likes taxing the rich. The solution, when presented with this topic, is to use entirely different words and trick people:
"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."
There's much more on Luntz's list. Expect to hear every Republican politician in the country using each of these phrases by noon tomorrow.
[Image via AP]