The Art of Political SpeakPosted: January 12, 2012
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.
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.