The Art of Political Speak

If GOP strategist Frank Luntz is correct—The Republicans’ dilemma is all about language—then Republican candidates need a fast tutorial in word use.

Capitalism, for instance: a no-no word is number 1 on Luntz’s list of ‘Shall Nots.’

And so, The Eye of Newt’s attacks on Mitt Romney, specifically citing the immoral form of capitalism practiced by Bain Capital, how it destroys jobs, often leaving community wreckage in its wake, takes a “F” in the Frank Luntz speed course–Poisoned Words for Politicians, 101.

Free Enterprise is an acceptable phrase.  Better yet is Economic Freedom.

In an almost comical exchange between Luntz and Sean Hannity, the word-meister explained that:

The word capitalism was created by Karl Marx to demonize those people who make a profit. We’ve always talked about the free enterprise system or economic freedom.

Suddenly, they’re trying to defend something that has only 18 percent support.

OMG!  Not only are Republican candidates eating their own, but they’re using a word created by Karl Marx!  Call in the Commie Cops.  Call Phyllis Schlafly to resurrect Joe McCarthy and his goon squad.  If you want a true chuckle watch the following:

Need we mention that President Obama [of whom I’m no fan] is repeatedly referred to as a ‘socialist?’  Yet now we have Republican candidates using Marxist terms and doing what they insist Barack Obama has done: wage war against capitalism.

This is what happens when your political philosophy is sloppy and baseless, when the only attack you can muster is one both supporting and attacking your centerpiece idea: unfettered capitalism, free market fundamentalism, which leads to vulture, crony capitalism.

The kind we have right now.

Rick Perry jumped on the Gingrich bandwagon and defended his own Romney attacks as doing the frontrunner a favor by distinguishing venture capitalism from vulture capitalism.  Better to defend it now than later, the Texas word wrangler said.

Did you think Rick Perry read Greg Palast’s book Vultures’ Picnic?   I think not.

Not to be outdone by Rick Perry’s explanation, Uncle Newt offered a more startling explanation.

It’s an impossible theme [Mitt Romney’s business practices] to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect.

Got that?  The Devil made Newtie backtrack, rethink his strategy.  Regrettably, it’s impossible to slam Mitt Romney with a clean conscience while Barack Obama is in the White House.

Oh, the unfairness of it all!

Just as a reminder: Uncle Newt is considered an intellectual in Republican circles!

Despite what the Newster says, his sudden reevaluation of Romney attacks could—just possibly—have something to do with the massive flack he’s received from conservative quarters.  Rush Limbaugh suggested Romney aim this barb at Gingrich over Mitt’s unfortunate ‘I like to fire people’ comment:

“Yeah, I like firing people, but I never fired a wife on her deathbed.”

Ooooo.  That hurts!

Even though I have no horse in this race, this is just too, too delicious.

If I were Frank Luntz, who made a specific point of listing the Ten Commandments of Political Speech in late November, I’d seriously consider demanding my wayward pupils stay after school to write 1000 times:

I will never use the word capitalism.  I will never say the word bonus.  And on my mother’s grave, I will never-ever utter the words: Wall Street.

The election of 2012 is stacking up to be a thing of true wonder.

Btw, did you know that Hillary Clinton received 10% of the New Hampshire vote, a write-in effort.  And yet, not a peep from the MSM.

I’m shocked, I tell you.  Positively shocked.

9 Comments on “The Art of Political Speak”

  1. Frank Luntz’ bad hair is 2nd only to Donald Trump’s. Luntz has been crafting the Republispeak for longer than I can remember. He wrote the playbook, they gather together for team meetings, go over their lines and leave the locker room to prey upon the public. Death tax, socialized medicine and so on. Loved it when he had the audacity to say that NO ONE supports crony capitalism. ROTFLMAO. They may not like to say it, but they sure as hell love to practice it. It’s the bedrock of the Patriarchy.

  2. foxyladi14 says:


  3. bostonboomer says:

    Romney did fire a few women from the Mormon Church on their near deathbeds.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Really? I hadn’t read about that. The ammunition for attacks seems to be piling up.

      But don’t use that ‘bad’ word–capitalism. Never thought I’d live to see the GOP literally eat its own and its own message.

      The Eye of the Newt in all his glory. What a sight to behold. Hahahaha.

    • dakinikat says:

      I still can’t get over he tried to get that one woman to put her baby out for adoption. I can’t imagine living with the idea of having a child out there some where that I really didn’t want to give up just because some rich old man said he thought it was best. Women shouldn’t serve as breeders for childless couples. She has every right to keep her baby and to try to manipulate her into giving it up is cruel.

  4. Allie says:

    That Hillary getting 10% of the vote thing is hilarious. Could the RNC and DNC be more pathetic with their choice of candidates? I’ve always thought the voters were so much smarter but the system is rigged, unfortunately.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    I was wondering what percent Hillary was going to get in the write in…thanks for letting us know.

  6. dakinikat says:

    I hate these Republican word games. I still remember those damned “peacekeeper” missiles. It’s Orwellian and it prevents real dialogue on issues. But, preventing shared understanding of definitions and concepts to block real dialogue is the goal. Gawd forbid the electorate actually understand something in any meaningful way.

  7. propertius says:

    Marx didn’t coin the word “capitalism”. According to the OED, Thackeray did in 1854. It’s a perfectly reasonable back-formation from “capitalist”, which dates to the 18th Century.

    It seems they can’t even tell the truth about etymology, much less anything else.