Are the GOP Leadership Capable of Real Dialogue and Working together with their Colleagues across the Aisle and with President Obama?
Americans can hope that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl will overcome their tendency to constantly mouth talking points that are big on rhetoric and short on specifics to solve real problems.
Talking Points Alert:
Here is a menu of the latest talking points bandied about the airways by Republican politicians. They all got the memo from PR word-guru Frank Luntz who is the GOP wordmeister of focus-driven talking points. He strives to find the words that will stimulate some sort of emotional reaction from his listeners. However, if someone wants to know what the actual talking point means, usually the answer is another vacuous talking point. It’s like people that end up taking all kinds of medications. Sometimes a medication is taken because it is supposed to stop the bad effects of another medication. That’s what Luntzian Talking Points achieve for the GOP.
People say the talking point, like Sarah Palin, and if a news reporter dares to ask for clarification about the talking point, they usually just get the same talking point repeated back or the secondary talking point meant to try and distract the reporter from getting more details. And, because the media is frequently driven by two to five-second sound bites, Luntz has trained his pupils well. They just repeat, like little parrots, the talking point over and over again.
Talking Points Du Jour:
- Tax and Spend
- We’re going to have an “adult conversation”
- The growth of government is out of control
- Enough is enough
- Reign in the red tape factor in Washington D.C.
- Return power to the house where it belongs – in the hands of the people
- Job killing (fill in the blank)
- Help small business
- A new governing agenda
- I’m serious about cutting government spending
- Stop the out of control spending
- New government bureaucrats
- New federal bureaucrats
- Biggest tax hike in history
- End the economic uncertainty
- Listen to the American people
- We’re going to get to work
King of Talking Points Spin, John Boehner
Recently Diane Sawyer interviewed John Boehner about what he will do when he becomes the Speaker of the House in January 2011. Sawyer tried to interrupt Boehner’s on message talking points, but he kept repeating them.
Diane Sawyer Interviews John Boehner
Partial transcript of Boehner’s talking points:
Sawyer: Jobs- How many jobs can you create and how soon?
Boehner: …..Until the uncertainty starts to go away.
Sawyer: So how long will that take? Will it take until February of next year?
Boehner: Well, I’m hoping that it can start yet this year…Let’s make sure that we extend all of the current tax rates for all Americans. That will begin to reduce the uncertainty.
Decoding the GOP Talking Points: What does it Really Mean?
“reduce the uncertainty”
Boehner wants people to believe that the economy will somehow improve if only we could “reduce the uncertainty.” Then, in the next sentence Boehner provides his answer for what he and the GOP think will “reduce uncertainty.” Boehner and McConnell harp on how uncertainty will supposedly end if the Bush tax cuts are extended indefinitely for all Americans.
This silly “certainty” talking point concept has no basis in evidence-based economic policy that will create real jobs. However, Frank Luntz must have done some sort of focus group that showed that people like the word certainty. Of course people like certainty. However, saying the word to make people think it has any connection to tax cuts is absurd.
However, Boehner and the GOP are trying to at least connect the faux idea that the economy will improve and jobs will magically appear if only tax cuts are extended because that will somehow stop the uncertainty? This twisted logic works for some people who just give up their minds and brains to people saying these targeted talking points.
What? Boehner’s tactic is that he authoritatively peddles the talking point of the day to Americans via the great big echo chamber of the media that usually never asks deeper questions about what it all really means. Even Diane Sawyer didn’t press Boehner on his responses.
The Media Could Do Better in Asking Follow-up Questions
Diane Sawyer you’ve got to do more follow-up questions for real answers when you get the on-message talking points hammered at you by the GOP. Otherwise Boehner is just using you to get his silly talking points out into people’s brains. Diane, are you going easy on Boehner and his talking points because you want to make sure you will be able to interview him in January when he becomes Speaker of the House? It seemed like you asked him lots of soft ball questions that only scratched the surface. Also your question to Boehner about President Obama, “Did he get it?” regarding the election was like handing Boehner a baseball bat. Since when did Rep. Boehner become the person who understands exactly what the American people have said from the 2010 election?
Rep. John Boehner, a longtime member of Congress since 1991 for nearly 20 years, is one of the dreaded “government bureaucrats” responsible for many failed economic policies that tanked this economy. However, Frank Luntz crafts talking points to deceive Americans about the truth. You see, it is only about “Words that Work” according to Luntz. Truth has nothing to do with words that work to manipulate voters.
Also, this election is not the biggest “repudiation” of a President’s policies as Boehner claims. The Senate is still Democratic. What happened in 2006 midterm elections was a repudiation of G. W. Bush’s policies. Then both houses were taken back. That was a pretty big rejection of GOP policies then.
Could it be that the American people are confused by the misleading talking points just mindlessly repeated by most of the press? Perhaps they want the Republicans and Democrats to work together to solve problems that affect Americans.
Ironically another talking point used over and over again by the GOP is that they say they will end the “out of control spending in Washington.”
Hello…… Anybody home? One of the biggest “out of control spending” that will create a bigger hole in the deficit is extending the Bush tax cuts indefinitely for people who earn more that $250,000 year. Early estimates on the cost to taxpayers is at least $700 Billion!!!
As Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich indicated, people who are top earners in the U.S. already control 23.5% of all the wealth in the U.S. They have so much money, they don’t know what to do with it so they are investing overseas. They already have lots of money to create jobs but guess what, they are not creating jobs!
However, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the GOP want to give even more money to the people who are just hoarding it. It is a false idea that if businesses know they will have the Bush tax cuts, they will then start hiring people. What does one thing have to do with the other? Nothing? Yet, Luntz wants people to think there actually is some kind of connection when there is no connection whatsoever. It is all smoke and mirrors.
Stay tuned for more decoding and deconstructing of GOP Talking Points.
Next time you hear a talking point, please post a comment and your thoughts about it.
Here is a nifty website where you can play GOP Talking Point Bingo. We need to have a new Bingo Card for the current repertoire of GOP Talking Points.
Here’s a video that shows how Mitch McConnell uses Frank Luntz talking points earlier in 2010 regarding Financial Reform issues: