Thursday, February 01, 2007

BOEHNER REFUSES TO HEAR ANY DISCORDANT NOTES, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE TOO COMPLICATED FOR SOMEONE WITH A 2-DIGIT IQ TO UNDERSTAND IN A TANNING BOOTH

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I don't usually pay a lot of attention to Republican consultants, even though they're a lot smarter and a lot more in touch than the Democratic variety (who I pay no attention to whatsoever, unless they're carrying a knife in the vicinity of someone I like). But Frank Luntz' perceptive comments on Al Gore in last week's Rolling Stone reminded me that this is a guy who says things worth hearing with an open mind. John Boehner may be blackballing him but Bob Novak knows Luntz is no dummy, especially compared to Boehner. Novak's column today features the disconnect from reality that Luntz believes congressional Republicans are now wallowing in.

"The Republican message machine is a skeleton of its former self," Luntz told Novak. "These people have no idea how the American people react to them." Boehner, who doesn't like anyone disturbing his quiet time in the tanning salon, has been trying to ban Luntz and his warnings from GOP conclaves for years. Now, as Minority Leader, he's had the power to do it. "Like those of Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz's prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans have never been very comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. 'They do not want to hear the truth,'" is what he confided to Novak.

"Luntz sees a disconnect between Republicans and voters that projects a grim future for the party. That contradicts what House and Senate Republicans are saying to each other in closed party conferences. While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party's congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats."

Luntz claims that "the post-Tom DeLay congressional Republicans "were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to 'revolutionize' Washington. Washington won." Novak ends his column explaining why Luntz is right and Boehner is a boob and a loser:


In keeping with his belief that words work, Luntz deplores the language Boehner used publicly shortly after his election as majority leader last February: "While I would hope that we could agree on one big issue that we would fight for, you know, it is really for the members to decide. What I have got to do is provide the process to see if we can get ourselves there."

In fact, there was no Republican theme for 2006, as individual members of Congress make clear in private sessions with Luntz. Yet, the Republican minority overwhelmingly reelected Boehner as leader against the reform candidate, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. Immediately after the 2006 election returns were accompanied by exit polls indicating voter concern with scandals, Pence said: "The greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending." Luntz agrees, and so do McCain and a few other members of Congress.

Indeed, Luntz is not alone in his gloomy prognosis. Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes his party "underestimates" the 2006 outcome and thinks the outlook for Republicans is as dangerous as it has been "at any time since Watergate." Sen. Jim DeMint, a[n ultra-reactionary] reform Republican from South Carolina, says the newly minority Republicans are like the Israelites yearning for the fleshpots of Egypt. The question is whether the party will heed warnings or follow the route of its leaders, who mainly want to trash Nancy Pelosi.

2 Comments:

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