GOP pollster Frank Luntz is the genius who helped shift Republicanspeak from “inheritance taxes” to “death taxes,” and dramatically change public support as a result. You see, “inheritance” sounds unearned and aristocratic to the masses, while taxing death sounds outrageously insensitive and unfair. Score!
Similarly, at the behest of his wealthy clients Luntz changed Republicanspeak from “oil drilling” to “energy exploration,” “global warming” to “climate change,” and “health care reform” to “government takeover of health care.”
Is Luntzian linguistics Orwellian? In a 2007 interview with National Public Radio’s Terry Gross, Luntz embraces his inner Big Brother:
“To be ‘Orwellian’ is to speak with absolute clarity, to be succinct, to explain what the event is, to talk about what triggers something happening… and to do so without any pejorative whatsoever.”
Now Luntz is urging his Republican clients to repeatedly use the term “Job Creators” whenever referring to the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Luntz seeks to focus Americans’ attention on the 1%’s trickledownedness, rather than it’s gawdy and growing wealth.
Brilliant! After all, in the midst of a sluggish recovery no one wants to stand in the way of “job creation,” so this turn of phrase is getting Luntz’s wealthy clients exempted from debt reduction sacrifice. (“Sacrifice,” incidentally, is a bad bad word Luntz is urging Republicans to ban. If only Churchill and FDR had been so clever.)
This whole business got me to thinking, “if I could afford to hire old Frank Luntz, what could the wunderkind wordsmith do to get ME exempted from sacrifice?
Perhaps the inventor of “job creator” would tweak Republicanspeak so that I would be henceforth exempted from debt reduction sacrifice on account of my vaunted status as a “Child Creator.” After all, who in their right mind wants to stand in the way of the procreation of the species?
Or maybe Luntz would choose to brand me a “Values Creator.” As a dad, I have the critical task of teaching children values and virtues. (I admit that my track record is imperfect on this front, though certainly no worse than Luntz’s “Job Creators.”) Again, don’t “Values Creators” deserve as much protection as “Jobs Creators?”
Or maybe Luntz would brand me a “Sales Creator.” As the Chief Spending Officer (CSO) for a household enterprise with a blazing burn rate, surely I should be exempted from paying for infrastructure, schools, health system, and national security. With the state of the economy, Congress wouldn’t want to stand in the way of “sales”, would it?
What a wonderful world this would be if Frank Luntz could only rebrand us so we were ALL exempted from doing our fair share to support America!