Archive for reframing

GOP consultant Frank Luntz "can't get his calls returned"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

blame Obama 2

GOP consultant, pollster, strategist, and attack dog Frank Luntz is "profoundly depressed." Now he knows how we feel after listening to his "re-framing" blather all these years. But I digress.

He's down and out because his side lost in 2012, and "there's nothing [he] can do about it." Thankfully.

Actually, he did make one good point, opining that, as The Atlantic put it, Americans "didn't listen to each other as they once had. They weren't interested in hearing other points of view. They were divided one against the other, black vs. white, men vs. women, young vs. old, rich vs. poor."

Hmm, now how did that happen?

Black vs. white: Did GOP voter suppression aid and abet?

Men vs. women: Did shutting down women's health service providers and forcing trans-vaginal ultrasounds aid and abet?

Rich vs. poor: Did attempts to kill Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security aid and abet? Did corporate "people" hoard their profits, fail to hire, and lie, cheat, and steal?

Did political shock jocks and Fox propagandists have anything to do with this sad state of affairs? Did the GOP priority to do in President Obama contribute just the teensiest bit to the bitter divides? Did all that GOP obstruction impede progress and communication? How about those raucous-bordering-on-violent health care reform town hall disruptions? And the anti-abortion extremists stalking and threatening clinics and their staffs culminating in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller? And Republicans either giving tacit approval of such activities via their silence or outright support while appearing on the so-called "liberal media"?

Any of that ring a bell, Frank? Any of that contribute to the "divide against each other" attitude you so ironically lament?

Granted, Luntz does acknowledge that he helped create this toxic atmosphere, and now *sniffle* he haz a sad, and yet...

... he blames Obama. Yesireebob, he said that.

See for yourself, via The Atlantic's "The Agony of Frank Luntz" (All together now, "Awww!"):

[H]e fell apart. Leaving his employees behind, he flew back to his mansion in Los Angeles, where he stayed for three weeks, barely going outside or talking to anyone.

"I just gave up," Luntz says. [...]

But it was Obama he principally blamed. The people in his focus groups, he perceived, had absorbed the president's message of class divisions, haves and have-nots, of redistribution. It was a message Luntz believed to be profoundly wrong, but one so powerful he had no slogans, no arguments with which to beat it back. In reelecting Obama, the people had spoken. And the people, he believed, were wrong.

Now he moans about just not being good enough to make a difference any more.

whining wah wambulance

He's *heavy sigh* ever so distraught about all those people yelling at each other, the ones he, you know, encouraged to yell at each other. And he manages to include a whole lot of Luntzisms (read: talking points) while expressing his grief. And he helped create a monster, then emerged from his lucrative bubble long enough to notice the damaging consequences, and, ta-daa! blamed the president. Got it. Perfect. True to form.

The fruits of all his messaging efforts? Well, nowadays, he's contract free:

He still advises his friends here and there, but he no longer has any ongoing political contracts. (Corporations and television networks, not politicians, are his main sources of income.) [...]

Luntz would also like to break into Hollywood as a consultant, but he can't get his calls returned. He can't figure it out. He thinks it must be a partisan thing. In every other industry, he says, 90 percent of his presentations result in a contract. But in entertainment, he pitches and pitches and pitches (he wouldn't tell me which studios or shows) and things seem to go well, but then there's some excuse. Not this time. Not the right project.

Get a clue, Frank. Not the right fit. Not the right talent. Not the right appeal. Not the right person. Not even close. Not this time, not any time.

don't call us we'll call you

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Here's what you don't know about healthcare reform

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Michael Hiltzik's L.A. Times column delves into President Obama's health care reform plan, what Americans need to know about it, why they don't know it, and why concise, effective messaging would go a long way to remedy that.

He rightly emphasizes that in this age of 24/7 news, social media, and sound bites, getting the word out about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act has been difficult, to say the least, and he wants to know why that is.

The Affordable Care plan, which the president now calls Obamacare (owning the GOP's disdainful label), won't fully kick in until 2014, but so far, more than 2.6 million young adults have been covered, it has cut prescription costs for millions of seniors by a total of $3 billion, co-pays on preventive services such as child immunizations and cancer screenings are a thing of the past, and more than 80 million people will no longer have annual and lifetime claims caps.

Did you know that?

And did you know that in 2014, millions more Americans will not be allowed to be dumped by Big Insurance, nor will those with an illness or injury have their premiums raised beyond what they can afford?

"No longer will people be bankrupted because they have a bad gene or a bad traffic accident," says Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at MIT who helped fashion the pioneering healthcare reform act in Massachusetts.

Most people do not know any of that, yet polls show that, despite most Americans supporting the various components of the Affordable Care Act, they remain evenly split about the plan itself:

Blame for the knowledge gap belongs chiefly to the act's supporters, who have consistently failed to stand up for their own accomplishment, as was evident during the 2010 congressional campaign, when they allowed opponents to define the act for them

Dems need to brag more and accelerate their own framing, as we did with Willard Romney's embarrassing Etch A Sketch moment, and a year ago with the dreadful Paul Ryan/GOP Kill Medicare plan, the one that he's currently trying to revive (for the most part).

Next week the Supreme Court will be stepping in to decide on the constitutionality of Obamacare. Let the fear mongering begin. Cue the comeback of "death panels" and "government takeover" signs.

It's time for proponents of the plan to tell their side, simply and clearly. Here are some healthcare reform facts:

As a result of a reform act mandate that offspring as old as 26 could be covered by their parents' policies, the uninsured rate in this cohort has plummeted to less than 25% ... a tangible benefit not just for younger people who can now afford insurance, but also for many parents who had continued to foot their kids' bills for individual insurance.

The billions in savings in prescriptions from seniors comes from the act's closing of the "doughnut hole" in Medicare's Part D prescription coverage [...]

The act already has eliminated a loophole that allowed insurers to deny coverage for children with preexisting conditions, and has provided federal funding for states to provide coverage for adults with chronic conditions who were denied insurance in the private market.  [...]

Conservative analysts Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Vernon Smith, a Nobel economics laureate at Chapman University, observed last week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the reform act would cost insurers $360 billion over 10 years without the mandate, but produce a gain of $6 billion with it. For insurers, they concluded, "the benefits of the individual mandate ... are projected to balance, nearly perfectly, the costs" of other regulations in the reform act.

Now the Obama administration needs to get out there and feed this to the country in small, easily digested bites. He's already engaged the Twitterverse by doing this:

That led to a steady stream of supporters who, in 140 characters or less, provided all the soundbites he needed.

And that was a very good, and very smart, start.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

How they're going to kill Medicare and Social Security

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

This is a guest post by my buddy and Blunt video contributor, SaturNine (@Satur9). Wise words:

Mitt Romney's grandstand play of declining Medicare Part B today is a lot more worrisome than you think.

On Twitter this morning, a common response was "Oh, he's worth a quarter-billion dollars, why doesn't he announce publicly he's not taking Food Stamps?" But that is EXACTLY the argument that the Republicans want you to make.

This is their plan for killing off Medicare and Social Security: First, frame the argument that they're welfare.

Social Security was originally referred to as old age insurance. It, and Medicare, were designed as insurance programs. You pay into them when you don't need them, they pay out when you do. Just like any other insurance.

The right wing's plan is to make us stop talking about them like they're insurance, start thinking of them as need-based plans. When they win on the terms of the argument, they're halfway to winning the argument -- the next step is supposedly fiscally necessary savage cuts to these "welfare" programs.

Do not succumb. Do not let them frame the argument by comparing Social Security and Medicare with Food Stamps or any other need-based program. They're insurance. We're paying into them so that they'll pay out when we need them. End of story.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Nancy Pelosi: Big Girls Don't Cry, Big Boehners Do

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

This is from yesterday, but I only just saw it. Taegan provides us with some levity:

"You know what? He is known to cry. He cries sometimes when we're having a debate on bills. If I cry, it's about the personal loss of a friend or something like that. But when it comes to politics -- no, I don't cry. I would never think of crying about any loss of an office, because that's always a possibility, and if you're professional, then you deal with it professionally."

-- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), quoted by the New York Times Magazine, noting how House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) shed tears during an election night speech.

Nancy is on to something. She has re-framed the whining and crying of the Party of No by calling the GOP unprofessional... and not just because one of their FearLeaders lapses into blubbering every five minutes.

No, they're unprofessional because of their conduct; the appalling shunning  of their own president; their obstructionism at the expense of the entire nation and nation's legal system; their accusations about how the Democrats are handling the economy while their ideas would launch the deficit even farther into the stratospheretheir tantrumy foot stomping about shutting down the government; their utterly disrespectful shouting, over talking, interrupting, infantile name-calling; and their clear disdain for those who don't look, sound, or dress like them.

That is not only unprofessional, it's despicable.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Call "pro-life" what it is: Pro-forced pregnancy

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

This is an L.A. Times letter to the editor that is responding to the piece I posted about here.

I've often opined that the term "pro-life" should be replaced with "pro-forced pregnancy", since that's what it really is. Apparently, others agree:

Words we choose

Re "Framing today's abortion debate," Opinion, May 29

How about changing the names of the two opposing positions? Instead of "pro-life" versus "pro-choice," how about something like "pro-choice" versus "forced pregnancy"?

After all, doesn't "forced pregnancy" really capture the spirit of antiabortion sentiment, which is that women should be required to submit their bodies to a usage mandated by government or other people, and that the rights of the unborn should take precedence over the rights of the already born (if she is female)? Named this new way, I wonder how the poll numbers would change?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Framing today's abortion debate: Pro-freedom v. "pro-life"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

There is a good op-ed in today's L.A. Times that discusses re-framing the abortion debate. "Pro-choice" is becoming a passé buzzword. It's time for a new catch phrase if we want to get more attention and have a more effective message.

But first this:

[A]bout 15% of Americans agree with the particulars of the "pro-life" policy of Palin's Republican Party. Or that, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 59% of Americans want Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, if she is confirmed, to uphold Roe vs. Wade.

They also examine the polls that are being cited by anti-choice groups.

You'd think framing wouldn't matter all that much considering "pro-choice" is easy to remember and makes sense (after all, choice in this case implies less government intervention), but you'd be wrong, per the op-ed:

[T]he antiabortion movement seems to be winning the framing war with its "pro-life" label. It is this trend, not changing policy views, that the Gallup polls have picked up. [...]

"Pro-choice" has turned into a tone-deaf rallying cry, inadequate to our actual policy preferences and to the philosophical values Americans hold on the subject of abortion. It essentially cedes the moral high ground to the antiabortion movement. It doesn't do enough to communicate the very American ideals at the foundation of the abortion rights movement — the belief that, in a free and democratic nation, the decision to have a child should rest with the individual woman and those with whom she freely consults.

Perhaps "pro-choice" was once good enough shorthand for liberty, human dignity, individualism, pluralism, self-government and women's equality. But anyone who thinks it is still sufficient, as we enter our fifth decade of the culture wars, hasn't been paying attention.

The piece goes into some detail about the anomalies in the Gallup poll that leaned "pro-life", and that it was an outlier poll, and how some poll results were inconclusive. In other words, the overall picture is nuanced, not as black and white as Barbie McLipSchmutz would have you think.

The article concluded with this:

Are you pro-freedom or pro-life? Now those are values worthy of debate.

I have a feeling "freedom abortions" won't go over all that well, but the point is well taken.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare