Today’s Washington Post has an op-ed by Frank Luntz that is a parade of lies and distortions.
First, the lies, at which uber-right-winger (and the “brains” behind the 1994 Contract ON America) Frank Luntz has been a master for over 2 decades and counting. According to Luntz’s own polling – and we know we all trust that (suuuure we do!) – “Americans’ agenda” is a pure Teapublican agenda, with items like:
*”Balance the budget as quickly as possible through meaningful spending reductions, a hard spending cap and a constitutional amendment so that it never gets unbalanced again.”
*”Keep taxes down by requiring supermajorities for increases, and eventually enact tax reform with a simple, low, fair rate that drastically reduces the length of the IRS code.”
*”…require Congress to provide specific constitutional authorization for every bill it passes so that the government stays within the boundaries imagined by the founders.”
According to Luntz, “each of these policies has at least 60 percent public support, so if you agree with most of them, it means you’re in the American mainstream. It also means that – wait for it – you agree with the tea party.”
That’s right; according to Frank Luntz, America is Tea Party nation. That, despite widespread polling that indicates only around 25% of Americans supporting the Tea Party or holding a “favorable” impression of the Tea Party. Meanwhile, a recent USA Today/Gallup poll indicates the following priorities by Americans:
*38% say pass a new stimulus bill
*24% say cut federal spending
*23% say repeal health care law
*8% say extend all income tax cuts
According to Scott Keeter, Director of survey research at the Pew Research Center:
Even among the strongly conservative electorate that voted this year, fewer than half in the national exit poll (48 percent) favored repealing the health-care law, and just 39 percent supported extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income groups. Although the GOP has proposed slashing domestic program spending by $100 billion, a recent Pew Research poll found a 48 percent plurality opposing even a freeze on domestic spending. And the deficit, while a key issue for Republicans, was the top priority for only 37 percent of voters in the exit poll.
We could go on and on all day. In sum, Frank Luntz’s wildly skewed “polling” for his Teapublican clients is a complete outlier (emphasis on the “lier” part). In fact, majorities of Americans, or even pluralities in most cases, do not support Frank Luntz’s policy proposals.
That’s fortunate, because Luntz’s ideas would be a recipe for disaster, turning the nation at large essentially into a nearly impossible to govern, hobbled (former?) superpower. Unless, of course, you like the way California’s been “governed” in recent years, with supermajorities required for just about anything and gridlock the result. And unless, of course, you like seeing the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer (see today’s superb Nicholas Kristoff column, “Our Banana Republic,” on this topic) , in which case you should love Frank Luntz’s Teapublican ideas.
Finally, if you like the idea of slashing entitlements – Medicare and Social Security – plus spending on veterans, environmental protection, homeland security, food safety, the people who oversee Wall Street, etc., etc., then you should absolutely adore the program that Frank Luntz is pushing. How bad would this be? According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, to get the deficit down to “3% of the overall economy by 2015” would require “a 75% cut in federal farm subsidies, a 50% cut in vocational and adult education, a 14.5% cut in the defense budget, an 8% cut for the National Institutes of Health, a 5% cut for the FBI, a 3.1% cut in veterans’ disability benefits, etc.” That’s just an example of what we’re talking about.
In sum, Frank Luntz continues to be the same guy he’s always been – a lying, right wing hack. Now, he’s claiming that his own polling finds broad public support for the Teapublican agenda, despite almost no evidence that’s the case. Another day in the life for the guy who brought us “death tax” and other fine examples of 1984 “up is down/war is peace” doublespeak. No thanks, Frank, we ain’t buyin’ the claptrap you’re sellin’.
P.S. As usual, I’ve gotta ask, why is the Washington Post printing this crap – by Luntz, Krauthammer, Will, etc. – and why does anyone still take that “newspaper” (actually the money-losing arm of Kaplan) seriously?
P.P.S. One thing I agree with Luntz about is this – “Republicans, for their part, must realize that the voters have given them a reprieve, not an endorsement.” Just ignore the rest of Luntz’ brain-dead spewings after that! 🙂