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Monday, November 2, 2009

The Luntz Memo

Political operatives are abuzz over what is being called the Luntz memo.

The new memo updates a similar analysis Luntz wrote last May. Some of the advice is familiar. But one striking difference between the two documents is in the treatment of Barack Obama. Last May, Luntz advised politicians to stay away -- far away -- from criticizing the president. "Your political opponents are the Democrats in Congress and the bureaucrats in Washington, not President Obama," Luntz wrote.
"Every time we test language that criticized the president by name, the response was negative -- even among Republicans." He continued: "If you make this debate about Republicans vs. Obama, you lose. But if you make it about Americans vs. politicians, you win." Therefore, the advice was to go after Washington bureaucrats and government health care, but never Obama.

That was then. Now, things are different. "In the spring, we counseled strongly that you should avoid direct confirmation with President Obama," Luntz writes in the new memo. "That has changed." The "thrill is gone" from Obama's relationship with the American people, Luntz writes, and it's now OK to go after the president's proposals with the president's name attached. "There is no change in support for the plan if it is called 'Barack Obama's plan' instead of the plan of 'Democrats in Congress,'" Luntz says. "So long as the attack is grounded in policy and NOT personage, you can talk about opposing 'President Obama's plan.'"

The jist of the memo is this. Attach the president to the health care debate because his focus group research says the people now like that. That's different from this past spring. The same focus group research (though certainly not the same focus groups) were turned off by attacks that attached the president to health care attacks. Instead, back then, attaching health care attacks to Democrats, or, even better, to D.C. were effective. This has to do entirely with the president's waning popularity and the end of his honeymoon period. Luntz adds that while these attacks are more effective today over this spring, he still maintains that attacks that attach health care reform to D.C. are more effective than attacks that attach health care reform to President Obama. As such, Obamacare is much less effective than D.C. care.


Anonymous said...

So, attack it as corrupt rather than just liberal?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is my naivete showing, but shouldn't the focus be on exposing the bill's failures to actually address making health care better in this country?

Honestly, if there were a real attempt going on to improve American health care, I would support it, whether it was Democrats running the show or Satan himself. As it is, it seems obvious that every single bill that's been proposed would increase costs, increase bureaucracy, provide no incentives for bright young people to become doctors, make no concessions to tort reform, and just generally foster a gigantic power grab by the government, all at further taxpayer expense, even though this Congress has already spent more than all previous congresses combined in U.S. history.

This thing should be a no-brainer to take apart. Instead, though, the GOP seems to be taking the "We don't like it, and Democrats are evil" tact, which doesn't really resonate with me. Tell me why you don't like it. Sell me on the right way to fix this. Take personal politics out of it.

Socialists throughout history have bragged about how government-run healthcare is the fastest, easiest way to bring Socialism into a country. Once it's in place, every thing you eat, every job you work, every hobby you enjoy, every dollar you spend, can be regulated under the auspices of "saving the American taxpayer money on healthcare".

A perfect example of this has already come up: the idea of charging more in taxes for people who are overweight. Right now, there's no basis for this, since there is no government-run health care. Right now, you can seek out a health care provider who won't ask you how overweight you are, or look for the cheapest premiums based on your current health. It's not perfect, but nothing is. Once the government runs the show, however, you won't have any choices any more. Let me rephrase that: you won't have any FREEDOM any more.

It's as simple as that.