Do GOP pols know about Frank Luntz's "Five myths about conservative voters"? (How about Dem pols?)
It should be interesting to see how political strategists of both parties respond to Frank Luntz's "five myths about conservative voters."
"[W]hile big names such as Rush Limbaugh and Larry Kudlow may defend 'capitalism,' my polling indicates that conservatives would rather embrace 'economic freedom.' The former represents big business and Wall Street; the latter evokes small business and Main Street."
-- GOP pollster-strategist Frank Luntz, in a WaPo
op-ed, "Five myths about conservative voters"
op-ed, "Five myths about conservative voters"
I approached this WaPo op-ed by Frank Luntz, "Five myths about conservative voters," with trepidation, because Luntz has seemed to me the best strategist the Right has had in the modern era. Because he has a bad habit of being right about messaging and the way American voters respond to issues, I'm fraidy-scared of him, but even more afraid to ignore what he has to say.
The piece turns out to be unexpectedly interesting, the only peculiar thing about it that it seems to be cast as a debunking of blood libels against conservative voters perpetrated by ill-willed and ill-informed left-wing commentators. In fact, though, it's properly directed at the entire power structure of the political Right and the Republican Party. Because they're the people who believe all the things Luntz is debunking.
GOP pols almost without exception at least claim to believe all the things Luntz attacks. And I think the whole economic-predator wing of the party in fact believes them utterly and absolutely. Maybe in pussy-footing around this central fact he's being tactful about the people who pay most of the party's (and the Right's) bills, and I'm inclinded to assume provide most of his income as well. This is something we've written about for ages: the way the Republican elites toss the red meat of crackpot ideology at all those right-wing voters they delight in treating as brain-dead turds, counting on them to support, or at least not organize to oppose, the campaign of economic rape, pillage, and plunder they've been wreaking on the country for several decades.
But let's get to what Luntz claims are those "myths about conservative voters," right after we take note of his opening sentence: "We may be six months away from Election Day, but I’ve already racked up nearly 100,000 miles this year crisscrossing the country and listening to voters in more than 20 states."
This is important, I think, because this mode of working may have something to do with why Luntz tends to be better informed about what his voters are thinking than, say, most Democratic strategists. Check out, for example, Howie's dozens of posts deriding the cluelessness of the DCCC.
Naturally there's a lot in Luntz's presentation that I would disagree with. For example, when he says that conservative voters "rallying behind the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) not simply because it cuts the size of government, but because it cultivates accountability," it really ought to be pointed out that the idea that Paul Ryan believes in accountability is appalling nonsense," and can only be said by someone who is either a moron or a liar. But the finding from a poll Luntz did that "self-identified conservatives" care considerably more about effectiveness than about size of government is interesting indeed as a reading of the state of mind of the portion of the electorate he calls home.
Similarly, Luntz's claim that "the big difference between left and right" on income inequality is "the difference between opportunity and outcome," that "conservatives want to increase opportunity, giving everyone the freedom and tools to prosper, so that the poor may someday become rich," while "liberals want to redistribute income, making the rich -- quite simply -- less rich," contains more lies and arrant nonsense than you'd think would be possible to cram into a single sentence. Still, the news that, according to a poll Luntz took in January, "fully 66 percent of conservatives consider the growing gap between the rich and the poor a 'problem,'" and "21 percent call it a 'crisis,'" should open a lot of eyes.
Frank Luntz's "Five myths about conservative voters"
1. Conservatives care most about the size of government.
2. Conservatives want to deport all illegal immigrants.
3. They worship Wall Street.
4. Conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare.
5. Conservatives don’t care about inequality.
I'm going to leave it to you to check out Luntz's discussions of each of these "myths." I think you'll be startled enough to hear such a respected pollster insisting that commanding numbers of conservative voters don't believe these propositions, which are established as bulwarks of official conservative dogma. You would have had difficulty, for example, finding any challenges to any of them by any of the clowns who threw their wigs into the presidential race this cycle.
I wonder how the Republican establishment will react to what seems to me a bombshell. For that matter, I wonder how the Democratic establishment will, since the Dem power structure seems almost as wedded to these "myths" as its Republican counterpart.