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The Agony of Frank Luntz
The Atlantic ^ | Molly Ball

Posted on 01/07/2014 9:10:03 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT

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.

SNIP.

His belief in unfettered capitalism and individual self-reliance appears stronger than ever. He hasn't become disillusioned with his very profitable career or his nomadic, solitary lifestyle. His complaints—that America is too divided ...

SNIP

"I just gave up, I didn't work on Mitt Romney's campaign. It just sucked, as a professional. And it killed me."

His side had lost. Mitt Romney had, in his view, squandered a good chance at victory with a strategically idiotic campaign. But Luntz's side had lost elections before. His dejection was deeper: It was, he says, about why the election was lost. "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."

SNIP

Luntz's populism has turned on itself and become its opposite: fear and loathing of the masses. "I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street turned out to be a bunch of crazy, disgusting, rude, horrible people, because they were onto something," he says. "Limbaugh made fun of me when I said that Occupy Wall Street scares me. Because he didn't hear what I hear. He doesn't see what I see." The people are angry. They want more, not because we have not given them enough but because we have given them too much.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Polls
KEYWORDS: 2014; luntz; polling
oh well. I guess other people are becoming anguished about what the left and Washington political class are doing to the country.
1 posted on 01/07/2014 9:10:03 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Luntz needs to shut up and go do polling and consulting for private businesses who run focus groups day in and day out. But no, he’s too much of an attention whore who doesn’t want to be out of the limelight, so now he’s on a National Victim Tour.

For all his pro-capitalism rhetoric, it doesn’t sound like he thinks much of how the free market is responding to his services.


2 posted on 01/07/2014 9:14:02 PM PST by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Luntz is a wanker.


3 posted on 01/07/2014 9:24:58 PM PST by jospehm20
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Never liked the guy. Phony.


4 posted on 01/07/2014 9:32:35 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

He said Rubio should lie and sell his amnesty scam to the public whether they want lower wages or not.

Is Limbaugh or Luntz closer to the public on immigration. Why was Luntz having focus groups on immigration when 3% think its important?


5 posted on 01/07/2014 9:33:29 PM PST by ObamahatesPACoal
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To: campaignPete R-CT
The people are angry. They want more, not because we have not given them enough but because we have given them too much.

He may be a whining has-been... but he's not wrong about the ugly mood developing in the entitlement set.

If they can't have what they want, they'll settle for watching civilization burn.

6 posted on 01/07/2014 9:46:05 PM PST by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with brute force, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: Valpal1
If they can't have what they want, they'll settle for watching civilization burn."

.....Or hire a politician to steal it from others through the force of law, and at gun point.

7 posted on 01/07/2014 10:04:27 PM PST by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Maybe his focus groups look different in private than when they are on TV. Most of what I see is people trying to sound and look clever for the camera.


8 posted on 01/07/2014 10:47:52 PM PST by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Luntz should just go hang out with Dick Morris and both of them need to stay off of TV.


9 posted on 01/07/2014 10:59:12 PM PST by Bullish (America should yank Obama like a rotten tooth before he poisons the entire body)
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To: Bullish

Yeah, I remember how Toe Boy kept predicting a Romney thumping of Obama. He was absolutely adamant.


10 posted on 01/07/2014 11:06:10 PM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Baynative

the best “focus group” for most campaigns is to go ring door bells for a few hours per week. Gives you a sense of what the voters are thinking ... I think it is not possible to make sound decisions on campaigns without having regular interactions with voters ... and most GOP campaigns are like that, top folks have no contact with voters.


11 posted on 01/07/2014 11:07:02 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT (NO CYNICISM SOLICITORS ALLOWED)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Oh, poor Frank.
I would have NEVER guessed that he’s made so much money!
I am truly shocked! Heretofore, I thought him rather marginal, when it came to wealth.


12 posted on 01/07/2014 11:34:51 PM PST by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: campaignPete R-CT
I have long been wary of Frank Luntz' influence out of suspicion that he would shape and trim principles in the service of popular slogans when his professional brief should be to deploy language in the service of principle, preferably conservative principles.

The left has stolen our language time and time again to the point where it is difficult to know how it wishes to describe itself today as opposed to yesterday. It seems that the left has chosen to revert to a centuries-old description, "progressivism" to wash away the stigma of "liberalism." The left is much better at stealing the language then is the right, so we need someone on our side to try to keep the playing field and the vocabulary which is part of the game on the level.

This piece describes Frank Luntz as a guru who was in despair, whose depression over the the dependency mentality in America has driven him to go John Galt in Vegas. Perhaps that is so, perhaps this is merely the Atlantic's snarky way of jazzing up the column and a way for The Atlantic to demonstrate how Eastern hip it is by parading its cynicism. I put very little trust in the profile drawn in this piece.

Instead, let's consider whether Luntz has got it right, that we have passed the tipping point, that the dependency culture has taken over the country and the situation is irredeemable. That does not seem to fit well with Luntz's criticism of the Romney campaign for using the wrong language. Our criticism as conservatives on FreeRepublic of the Romney campaign goes much deeper than that. From the beginning we thought he was the wrong man, fatally compromised by Romney care, a Rino, who was unwilling to preach the gospel of conservatism and to indict Obama for the radical Alinskyite he is. If Luntz is actually saying that the situation past recovery, how can he believe that the problem is vocabulary?

Our criticism of Romney includes a pacifism in the face of enemy fire on all occasions except one debate, but it does not begin there and it does not end there. Romney lost the election for many reasons but one cardinal reason was clearly that he failed to turn out the conservative base because he took it for granted, condescended to it, and never connected. He was unbelievable as a principled conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan. We conservatives believe the Romney needed more bare knuckled conservatism and much less buttoned-down Rino defeatism.

It seems that what Frank Luntz is saying is that Rino Romney lost because he relied on the wrong set of Rino advisers who used the wrong argot for the unwashed. Before the rest of us follow Frank Luntz to Vegas and and go John Galt with him, let's give conservatism a try.


13 posted on 01/08/2014 12:33:07 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

I can do without his polls and colored lines at the bottom of the screen. It’s not something I need in my face at all times. Luntz reminds me somewhat of Norquist. Both think they have the right answers and consider themselves truth tellers presently met with the scorn of ignorant masses.


14 posted on 01/08/2014 1:16:42 AM PST by lee martell
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To: campaignPete R-CT

“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.” I I I I I , sounds like someone else who is known to be a phony.


15 posted on 01/08/2014 2:36:55 AM PST by Duke of Milan
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To: nathanbedford
Didn't Frank Luntz gain his popularity because Rush Limbaugh said the Luntz poll on W. Bush was the most accurate?
I have never liked Frank Luntz and I believe that C. Edmund Wright is correct about him in his April 29, 2013 article Frank Luntz and Focus Groups are Destroying the GOP Message .
So let the fake conservative Fank Luntz go into obscurity, because he's of no use to us now.

"Establishment Republicans" LOSE every time they're tried.
And the media loves for the GOP to lose.
That's why they support "Establishment Republicans" .
So take a good long look at where "Establishment Republicans" ALWAYS take us.


16 posted on 01/08/2014 2:56:08 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: campaignPete R-CT
Luntz would also like to break into Hollywood as a consultant, but he can't get his calls returned. He can't figure it out.

Snort!

17 posted on 01/08/2014 3:16:07 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: nathanbedford

You pretty much nailed it.


18 posted on 01/08/2014 4:25:13 AM PST by LS ('Castles made of sand, fall in the sea . . . eventually.' Hendrix)
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To: nathanbedford

NB, conservatives have been “giving conservativism a try”, even in New England. The populist landslides in the NH and ME state houses in 2010 were impressive. A rural, political unrising from the grassroots.

Even in CT, Conservative candidates resulted in numerous freshmen state representatives.

Of course, above the state house level ... campaigns are unduly influenced by the political insider class, the donor class, the media. One can slog along under the radar without the support of the above ... at the local precinct level. Big newspapers and TV ignore state rep races because their readership is spread over so many districts ... but when the same people dare to move to the limelight of Congressional and statewide races (in Connecticut), there is an onslaught from the newspapers. Which is not overcome.

There is no conservative media to get the message out. And of course, our best conservative candidates cannot raise the money from the $1000 donors, who steer their money into other races with RINO candidates.

So, yes, conservativism never went out of style, despite the undue focus on all things Presidential.


19 posted on 01/08/2014 5:11:34 AM PST by campaignPete R-CT (NO CYNICISM SOLICITORS ALLOWED)
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To: campaignPete R-CT
I agree entirely with your assessment of the effect of the media in dampening conservative chances. This is an article about Frank Luntz who styles himself as a media consultant. A media consultant's job, among other things, is to break through these barriers and fashion the message in so compelling a way that it sweeps the media along who cannot ignore it because of its momentum.

In other words, a personality like Newt Gingrich can get coverage despite a media which despised him. Frank Luntz is a professional who should be able to find ways to get the story out.

My feeling is that the problem is candidates who are intimidated into passivity, something akin to passive aggressive campaigning. Then there are the candidates like John McCain who virtually endorsed Obama for the presidency in 2008. These candidates cannot be helped even by a John the Baptist preparing the way. One must ask if they really want to win, or win on terms which are acceptable to conservatives.


20 posted on 01/08/2014 5:50:41 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: campaignPete R-CT
Ringing doorbells is a strange anomaly. It is both clearly essential and almost useless. I've spent hundreds of hours at it and although I know it works to an extent, I can't see a benefit. That sounds weird to say.

In my own 2010 county wide campaign I kept a little tally sheet with me. At one point I made a chart on one neighborhood that was traditionally split right down the middle. I visited 106 homes in 9.5 hours. Some people saw me, looked at my button and hat and said, "You've got my vote", right off the bat. Some were exactly the opposite. A good many people simply asked, "What party are you from?"

About 10% actually asked a question or wanted to know what I thought about an issue and an equal amount wanted to tell me how much they hated government and all politicians. In the end, my breakdown was no different than election department statistics from the last three elections.

The following weekend I went to a local hardware store and saw double the people in the same time span and had multiple conversations where several people ended up becoming involved and though I couldn't always gauge their feelings my chance to gain favor seemed much better when I wasn't interrupting people at home.

In the parking lot, I also saw met several people who wanted to mouth off and sound aggressive in front of others.

The biggest thing I took away from the experience is that campaigning is demeaning and sucks BIG TIME, IMO. I was interested in some important local issues while liberal opponent saw himself as a servant of Obama. He ignored local things to talk about global warming and free stuff and won by 5 points.

21 posted on 01/08/2014 8:53:29 AM PST by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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To: Baynative

well, the door-to-door canvassing I had in mind was that done by volunteers. It’s not necessarily a useful activity for the candidate .... not that efficient. Unless the total votes involved in the election are 10,000 or less.

The advantage is that you know to whom you are talking. With the voter list. Not so at the Hardware store. Plus u can do a lit drop d-2-d. Vols also tend to hear more comments from voters that they would never say to the candidate ... u catch ‘em on their best behavior ... not very accurate.

About 5% of the GOP vote (in areas I am thinking of) cannot be reached by usual means (glossy flyers, phone banks, ads, etc.) and the only way to get their attention is 1-on-1 contact and neighborhood events.

CT GOP has deteriorated into a mini-cabal that got rid of people and has $$$ donors combined with robo-calls. Politics with no people! Brilliant.


22 posted on 01/08/2014 10:07:08 AM PST by campaignPete R-CT (NO CYNICISM SOLICITORS ALLOWED)
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