As one who suffers from depression, you might think I’d have sympathy for Frank Luntz after reading that he’s “profoundly depressed.” I have sympathy for any human being suffering from the malady that has me lashing out at grocery store bag boys and hurting those who love me most, but Frank Luntz is far from human.
As Molly Ball wrote in The Atlantic in a piece entitled “The Agony of Frank Luntz“,
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 just gave up,” Luntz says.
Cry me a fucking river.
Poor Depressed Luntz (sorry, with a mansion in Los Angeles and all of his other worldly possessions, one can hardly call the wordsmith “poor”) is sad that America is so divided. Does he have any sorrow for creating that division. Of course not.
Luntz knew that he, a maker of political messages and attacks and advertisements, had helped create this negativity, and it haunted him. But it was Obama he principally blamed.
That’s denial. The first step in fixing any problem is realizing that you have a problem. But Luntz won’t own his culpability for the sorry state of our nation, and he is quite culpable.
Luntz did political polling for Pat Buchanan’s 1992 primary campaign and Ross Perot’s independent presidential bid, but he became truly famous when he hitched his star to Newt Gingrich, helping draft the Contract With America and advising Gingrich’s crusading Republican majority. He considers Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, another former client, his most important political mentors. In the ’90s, he became known as the man who could sell any political message by picking the right words. “Estate tax” sounds worthy and the right thing for a democracy to do, but “death tax” sounds distasteful and unfair….
Feel sorry for him yet? I didn’t think so.
I decided to come up with a list of the “right words” Luntz came up with. Death Tax is one. I found a bunch of them at this wiki compiled by our friends at the Center for Media and Democracy. Others are easily found via a simple Google Search.
- Government Takeover in place of Healthcare Reform
- Economic Freedom instead of Capitalism
- Death Panels
- Class Warfare
- Drill Baby Drill
Now, I’m not saying that Luntz invented those terms. But he is responsible for the fact that those, and other equally reprehensible uses of semantics, are employed by mostly Republicans in positions of power often.
Alan Grayson wrote in 2011 of how the term Job Creators became the word the right wing politicos use instead of the wealthy, or “greedy, soulless multinational corporations who don’t give a damn about you.”
Here are some actual examples of Luntz’s fine work:
Don’t say “oil drilling.” Say “energy exploration.”
Don’t say “inheritance tax.” Say “death tax.”
Don’t say “global warming.” Say “climate change.”
Don’t say “healthcare reform.” Say “government takeover.”
And don’t say “greedy, soulless multinational corporations who don’t give a damn about you.” Say “job creators.”
Luntz is like a serial killer of the English language.
As soon as I heard the term “job creators,” I said to myself, “that sounds like Frank Luntz talking.” And sure enough, it’s right in there in Frank Luntz’s latest book, Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Here are Luntz’s exact words: “You don’t create jobs by making life difficult for job creators.” That’s under the heading “The Ten Rules for 2012: What Americans Really Want to Hear from Their Representatives.”
Here is Luntz’s list of what we all “really” want to hear in 2012:
- I will never accept the status quo.
- I will never apologize for America.
- I will find at least one penny of waste to cut from every dollar of spending.
- I will never raise taxes in a recession.
- You don’t work for me. I work for you.
- I will fight for the public’s right to know the cost and consequences of every piece of legislation and regulation.
- I will always prioritize American rights over the rights of those who wish to do us harm.
- I will work with anyone who will work with me.
- I will always support freedom.
- I still believe in the American principle: of the people, by the people, for the people.
Note the absence of anything even resembling a policy, a program, or a solution to anyone’s problems. So, for instance, the Luntzified Republican Party’s health care plan really is, “don’t get sick.”
So when I hear that Frank Luntz is depressed, I’ll just turn his tactics right back on him and say he’s happiness challenged. Karma is one vindictive bitch.
I made my way back on the air today. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have long suffered from depression. If you want to see what it looks like, just watch the first few minutes of Monday’s show. It’s not pretty, but it is real. And too bad for me, I don’t have a mansion in LA, a home in Vegas or Virginia or NY to hide out in.
And with all that, I’m much more fortunate than so many who, at this moment, are hungry, homeless or sick. At least I’m sad for them too. Perhaps Luntz should take a look at those less fortunate than he, quit blaming everyone else and realize that he brought it all on himself.