I ran across a commentary by Frank Luntz the other day. It seems Mr. Luntz is a bit concerned about the anger in American politics these days.
I listen to America -- in focus groups, telephone interviews, town halls and polls in all 50 states -- for a living. It used to be fun. Now it's become painful.Luntz, for those who don't immediately recognize the name, is the very talented wordsmith who has made a good living advising Republicans how to package their bilge with the right words so Americans will swallow it down whole. His concern troll piece is a fascinating demonstration of what happens when a supposedly well-meaning person is deliberately oblivious to the consequences of what he does for a living. (more)
When you consider that Luntz has made a good living finding ways to sugarcoat both conservative policies and politicians to sell them to the voters, you might wonder why he seems so surprised that things aren't going better for the world. Well, part of that might just be due to the fact that his profession has largely been the business of putting lipstick on pigs instead of finding ways to sell the American people ideas that just might work in the real world. But I repeat myself - Luntz works to get conservative messages across.
The Albany, NY Times Union was where I found Luntz's piece. (I have to give them credit. Although they run a number of conservative idiots like George Will, they've also started running Tom Teepen lately so there is some hope.) Anyway, to get back to Luntz:
According to my research, 72 percent of Americans agree with Howard Beale -- they really are "mad as hell." Second, 57 percent believe that their children will inherit a worse America than they did. Just 33 percent believe their children will have a better quality of life than they have.Did it ever occur to Mr. Luntz to wonder if maybe his chickens are coming home to roost? Has he even looked at what the conservative policies he enabled have done to this country? Deregulation and trashing of government? Framing issues in terms designed to provoke emotional rather than rational responses? Policies that enrich the few while impoverishing the many? Has he looked at who is screaming loudest that we're going to Hell in a handbasket, and who is openly calling for the President - and America - to fail?
My research includes interviews with 6,400 people from December 2008 through April 2009. It is buttressed by two dozen "instant response" groups of 30 voters in almost a dozen states over the last 100 days. No matter how I slice and dice the results, we're a very unhappy people.
I love his solution though.
My research suggests that we can reduce American anger if we begin to fix two complaints: the lack of accountability and the lack of respect in our dealings with each other.emphasis added
The core American complaint about politics is that wrongdoing isn't punished, other than at the next election. From scandalous personal behavior to bailouts of everyone and everything except the hard-working middle class, Washington is seen as the source for America's mistakes. Enforcing rules and letting failures fail would stop the excesses today and prevent the mistakes of tomorrow.
There you have it, folks. Frank Luntz has seen the light and is calling for full investigations into all the crimes of the previous administration. After all, they're the ones who blew the deficit wide open, started two wars they couldn't finish, let Wall Street run wild, made torture official policy, put the president above the law, started the bailouts, and too many other things to mention. True Luntz does name Washington as the source of America's mistakes, but I'm sure he realizes that's all changed now and it's time to put Washington to work cleaning up the mess.
Let's give Eric Holder carte blanche to go full bore as high and as low as he needs to go to drag the doers of wrong into the light and punish them. (Actually, as Attorney General he already has that power, right?)
It's also nice that Luntz is finally calling out the right wing media machine of Limbaugh, Beck, FOX, Malkin, etc. and the crazies like Michael Steele, Boehner, Coburn, Bachman, etc. It's about time someone told them to talk nice or STFU.
That IS what he's calling for, isn't he?
p.s. If you want something to refresh your mind after reading Luntz, click on the link to the Tom Teepen column. If he's not in your local paper, write/call in and suggest they start running him.