Let Us Be Frank. Or Maybe Just Talk Like Him!

From Robert Shrum at THE WEEK (April 15,2010):

Months of death panel promoting, senior citizen deceiving, and abortion mongering have left Republicans immune to facts. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has donned his Frank Luntz mask (maybe McConnell could borrow the pollster’s toupee too), lifting wholesale Luntz’s language designed to mislead the public about financial reform. Playing dummy to Luntz’s ventriloquist, McConnell now shamelessly characterizes the bill that would avert future bailouts on Wall Street as a license for endless bailouts on Wall Street.

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This latest Republican exercise in duplicity is easily explained: The GOP can’t openly advocate the policies they believe in—because those policies led to the economic collapse of 2008. Meantime, GOP leaders look at the financial industry and see sacks of campaign cash. It’s no coincidence that last week two dozen Wall Street titans met with McConnell and Republican Senate Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn. No one was shy about the quid pro quo, according to Fox News (which helpfully repeated the Luntz propaganda).


It’s a naked manifestation of the Republicans as the party of America’s wealthiest special interests. As the process moves ahead, President Obama and the Democrats can say exactly that and hold the political high ground—as they too seldom did during the health debate. But first, and to the consternation of many in their own ranks, Democratic leaders will attempt to reach across the aisle.

This makes sense. There are Wall Street institutions ready to cooperate, to give some ground just as the pharmaceutical industry did to the tune of more than $120 billion on health-care reform. And not every Republican will follow McConnell off the cliff. Tennessee Republican Bob Corker said he hadn’t heard McConnell’s acid comments. So did his colleagues from Maine, the self-professed moderates Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Sen. Scott Brown, the fading hero of the tea parties, says he’s not willing to commit to filibustering financial reform, or even voting against it; he’s clearly running for re-election in Massachusetts in 2012, not for a spot on a losing Republican national ticket.

Oh, that was so 3 days ago! The party of no has forgotten how to say yes. But let’s continue…

So Wall Street reform will pass—or GOP hard-liners will pass the populist baton to Obama and the Democrats.

Either way, the day of reckoning for the Party of “No” is coming. The economy is improving. Democrats, who’ve been in the valley, have inched up to a midterm lead in at least one poll, CNN’s. The Republicans who rooted for Obama’s failure—and the economy’s—will only drive themselves deeper into a political cul-de-sac by standing against Wall Street reform.

In 2010, they’ll gain far fewer seats than the latter-day Gingrichites covet. And by 2012, as prosperity brings more Americans to Obama’s side, they’ll find their cul-de-sac is populated by a dwindling band of tea partiers.


New polling data this week confirm the true character of this phony populist movement. According to the CBS News/New York Times survey, Tea Party members are almost 50 percent more likely than Americans as a whole to have incomes over $100,000. It turns out that they’re not distressed; they are self-pitying and self-interested. They want their Social Security—and smaller government for everyone else. They are so out of step that 57 percent of them approve of the job performance of George W. Bush—who proliferated the deficits they claim to detest.


Tea partiers are out of step in another, more shameful way. They are more than twice as likely to believe the president favors blacks over whites, and a majority believes that too much has been made of the problems facing blacks. Many tea partiers turn out to be self-serving bigots. This tells us what they mean when they say they want their country back.


[…] Republicans appear determined to accelerate their march of folly by weakening or defeating Wall Street reform. I’m confident the angry, irrational base that claims to be anti-bailout and anti–Wall Street will cheer them on as they do it. But for most Americans, the language of Luntz can’t square the circle; it’s too transparently deceitful, too contrived, too false. In the end, in the economy and even in politics, as Ronald Reagan used to say: “Facts are stubborn things.”

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21 responses to “Let Us Be Frank. Or Maybe Just Talk Like Him!

  1. This is one of those stories that is beyond absurd.

    It reminds me of why I love NPR … the analysts have plucked McConnell’s nonsense apart in responsible reporting … and aren’t afraid of being called biased, because they’re reporting facts and reading the blasted bill!

    I was arguing about this with a real life friend of mine and said that it’s very simple … Mitch McConnell is either lying through his teeth or dumb as a post. There’s no other way out on this one. The bill simply doesn’t say what he says it says.

    That kind of thing would matter to some people …

    • yertle mcconnell, i believe, is trying to appeal to the teabaggers. they don’t care much for facts. he probably thinks that moderate rethugs will be okay with the lying, but i think he might be misunderestimating (i just can’t stop with the chimyisms) them.

  2. While wishing to say something clever, I’m forced to say something true: Mr. McConnell’s brain has reached its perihelion. He knows it, he just doesn’t care…

    • hi cynical one without peer, nice to see you again! 🙂

      maybe yertle mcconnell doesn’t care that his brain has reached its perihelion (i had to google to see what that meant), because he has frank luntz’s toupee to offer it a bit of protection. ( 😆 i loved that line in the article! do you get the feeling bob shrum has no love for ol’ frankie?) besides, what’s the diff if his brain melts? he’s not using it anyway.

  3. ‘luntz’s toupee…’ Good one, I’m still laughing. You’re right, he overplayed his shady hand. I suppose when you don’t have much to lose anyway (and you completely lack integrity), you just go for what you know.

    • i was going to use a different article, but when i read about the toupee, i changed my mind. i love when these little tidbits that the insiders all know about come out. it’s mean, but luntz deserves it.

  4. Oh yeah, he does, and good call. Incidentally, I hear his toupee is the source of all the power.

  5. Now that’s good. Thanks for making my night…

  6. Those posters are so funny that when the word dummy registered in my brain, I heard it in the voice od Redd Foxx! There will surely be trouble at the country club over this one. And I hope you appreciate my suffering, for the sake of raisin research, having read The Globe and Mail full account of Mrs. Screechy’s speech in Hamilton. In written form it has all the readability and cohesion of a certain German Chancellors writing. But amongnst all the crazed, disjointed remarks, behold the nugget of wisdom to mankind: “God doesn’t want you sitting in a parked car” ???

    • i feel bad, because jerry mahoney and knucklehead smiff were so much better looking than yertle and boohoo are. here’s a bit of trivia for you. did you know that paul winchell was the first to patent an artificial heart that can be implanted in the chest?

      i started reading the transcript of what i hesitate to call a speech, because it was just gibberish. i got through a few paragraphs, and then i couldn’t take any more.

  7. It’s Winchell-Mahoney Time
    It’s Winchell-Mahoney Time
    It’s time for fun!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. I was a big fan of the original show when I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles.


    As for the photomanip, you did a great job of turning McConnell and Bone-head into the dummies they are. Say, which one is Knucklehead Smiff?

    • Never mind. Bone-head is Knucklehead Smiff. How fitting!

      • i used to love that show when i was a kid! i don’t really remember much of it, other than the theme song.

        glad you liked the photomanip (i like that word!). it turned out to be a bit more complicated than i had counted on. for some reason, boohoo didn’t give me any problems, but yertle did. that color version of yertle is actually the second one. i didn’t like the first a bit.

  8. Nice shade of orange for the Boehner dummy, but I think Mitch is missing a few chins.
    The endless bailout debate is rich. Who started all this bailout problem in the first place (besides Ronnie Reagan’s bright deregulation theory), yes this current debacle came under the watch of
    “The Decider”, one G.W. Bush.
    The shrub had to throw in one more crisis before he bailed, and knowing in Texas they do things “big”, a U.S. based global financial meltdown seemed like a grand way to ice his legacy cake, if you will.
    Much as the GOP would hope we have short memories, and would not remember seeing Bush delivering his financial meltdown speeches, and the rush to let Hank Paulson (yes, Goldman Sachs) have complete & total immunity to do whatever he saw fit.
    Now the GOP is going to try to spin banking regulation as irresponsible. Yea, right–How’s deregulation working out???

    Anyone want to bet if they throw in the word “freedom” on this issue?

    (The freedom to lose your entire 401K/life’s savings?)

    • they already are throwing the word freedom around. one of the shrews, marsha blackburn was on meet the press this morning, and she was spewing crap about the financial reform bill being the end of freedom as we know it. she was blabbing about free markets and all the other talking points about how the bill will institutionalize bailouts, blah, blah, blah. i was shocked that david gregory called her out on it. maybe he saw jake tapper on the colbert report and the new call for fact-checking what’s said on the sunday talking heads shows.

      • My wife and I saw that, too. I don’t think Gregory was calling her out on her facts as much as he was calling her out for not answering the question. Just the same, it was good to watch him actually do his job.

        As for Blackburn, she was a real talking points machine. She also seemed to have a crush on Diaz-Balart, who is now a Telemundo correspondent.

        • neon vincent, i was just shocked that he didn’t just shake his head in agreement. she never did answer the question. she just went into talking points mode and kept going until he cut her off and asked someone else a question.

          jose is just as creepy as his brothers.

      • They have already worn it out, even the Queen of the Tea Party takes to the podium & shrieks
        “Do you Loooove your Freedom??”

        First it was freedom to let for profit health ins companies run us bankrupt.

        Then freedom to spew hate- the tea party

        Freedom of speech for corporations, that are “people”

        Now freedom to let Wall Street run rampant & gamble our hard earned money and trash global markets.

        They are giving freedom a bad name!