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January 07, 2014

How Frank Luntz Lost His Groove

@AOSHQDOOM linked this last night. If you've gotten the sense that America has lost its way and doesn't even seem to want to find its way back, Frank Luntz has the data to back that up. And he's depressed about it.

America's best-known public-opinion guru hasn't suddenly gone vegan. Luntz—the tubby, rumpled guy who runs the focus groups on Fox News after presidential debates, the political consultant and TV fixture whose word has been law in Republican circles since he helped write the 1994 Contract With America—has always been a hard man to please. But something is different now, he tells me. Something is wrong. Something in his psyche has broken, and he does not know if he can recover.

Frank Luntz is having some kind of crisis. I just can't quite get my head around it.
"I've had a headache for six days now, and it doesn't go away," he tells me as we take our seats at a table downstairs. "I don't sleep for more than two or three hours at a time. I'm probably less healthy now than I have ever been in my life." He's not sure what to do. He's still going through the motions—giving speeches, going on television, conducting focus groups, and advising companies and politicians on how best to convey their message.

...

The crisis began, he says, after last year's presidential election, when Luntz became profoundly depressed. For more than a month, he tried to stay occupied, but nothing could keep his attention. Finally, six weeks after the election, during a meeting of his consulting company in Las Vegas, he fell apart. Leaving his employees behind, he flew back to his mansion in Los Angeles, where he stayed for three weeks, barely going outside or talking to anyone.


...

"I spend more time with voters than anybody else," Luntz says. "I do more focus groups than anybody else. I do more dial sessions than anybody else. I don't know shit about anything, with the exception of what the American people think."

It was what Luntz heard from the American people that scared him. They were contentious and argumentative. They didn't listen to each other as they once had. They weren't interested in hearing other points of view. They were divided one against the other, black vs. white, men vs. women, young vs. old, rich vs. poor. "They want to impose their opinions rather than express them," is the way he describes what he saw. "And they're picking up their leads from here in Washington." Haven't political disagreements always been contentious, I ask? "Not like this," he says. "Not like this."

....

In reelecting Obama, the people had spoken. And the people, he believed, were wrong. Having spent his career telling politicians what the people wanted to hear, Luntz now believed the people had been corrupted and were beyond saving. Obama had ruined the electorate, set them at each other's throats, and there was no way to turn back.

...

[W]hat if the Real People are wrong? That is the possibility Luntz now grapples with. What if the things people want to hear from their leaders are ideas that would lead the country down a dangerous road?

"You should not expect a handout," he tells me. "You should not even expect a safety net. When my house burns down, I should not go to the government to rebuild it. I should have the savings, and if I don't, my neighbors should pitch in for me, because I would do that for them." The entitlement he now hears from the focus groups he convenes amounts, in his view, to a permanent poisoning of the electorate—one that cannot be undone. "We have now created a sense of dependency and a sense of entitlement that is so great that you had, on the day that he was elected, women thinking that Obama was going to pay their mortgage payment, and that's why they voted for him," he says. "And that, to me, is the end of what made this country so great."

Neo-Neocon discusses Luntz's dour assessment of the American psyche.

This is why the Democrats have picked themselves up from the debacle that Obamacare has been and are counting on their campaign against “economic inequality” to appeal in this way. But the message is hardly new, and of course it hardly began with Obama, although he has delivered it repeatedly. The soil was carefully fertilized first before he could plant those seeds and have them take root so well. This is a strain in politics and in culture—both in America and abroad—that has been building for literally hundreds of years. And it rests on a foundation that is inherent in human nature, although that aspect is not always dominant and is ever at war with another desire, one towards liberty and independence.

Obama could not have been elected (remember what he said to Joe the Plumber?) without the ground having been prepared by nearly a century of ever-increasing entitlements, and most especially a “progressive” takeover of the major institutions that shape both the growing mind and the adult one (education, the MSM, and entertainment), as well as the slow and steady undermining of the traditional family.

There is no mystery here, and there should have been no surprise. If Luntz and many others were surprised, they weren’t paying attention.

....

Despair about this is not an option, although it is sometimes a temptation. Obamacare is a little window of opportunity that needs to be opened. But the stupid party (you know who you are) had better get a lot smarter very soon. It’s late, and getting later.

Read the whole things, both.

Hot Air's Quotes of the Day were mostly about this. Well, this, and an Internet Vaporware Meme that "The Right Craves a New King, because they don't believe democracy will produce good results any longer." But the silly "king" meme is just an expression of frustration with the voters' choice to begin hooking up with Socialism, and maybe even let Socialism get to Fourth Base.


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posted by Ace at 01:54 PM

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