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In The Fight For Meaningful Financial Reform, Meet Public Enemy #1 -- GOP Pollster Frank Luntz

The Republican party would be egregiously mistaken to take the advice of Frank Luntz on how to kill financial reform.  Part of the success of Scott Brown and other 2009 Republican candidates was based on the perception that Democrats (Obama, Dodd and Schumer to name a few) are in bed with Wall Street.  Bail readers know that both parties sleep with Street witches; this is not a solo affair.  And the ire of voters will turn on Republicans at the first whiff of bank favoritism.

Luntz is a moron, and we could hope that Republican members wouldn't listen.  Yet we've already seen signs from Shelby and Gregg that they are, in fact, listening quite closely and seem to be following Luntz's playbook with recent public statements. 

So allow me to repeat the message for emphasis:

  • Voters want Wall Street punished and reformed.

Stop the bank and credit-card abuses; stop the stimulus; stop the irresponsible deficit spending (generational rape) and stop the illegal wars.



Luntz's Republican playbook for killing financial reform is inside.  We have a summary as well as the compete report sent to Congressional Republicans.


By Sam Stein

Nine months after he penned a memo laying out the arguments for health care legislation's destruction, Republican message guru Frank Luntz has put together a playbook to help derail financial regulatory reform.

In a 17-page memo titled, "The Language of Financial Reform," Luntz urged opponents of reform to frame the final product as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes, and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

"If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that the bad decisions and harmful policies by Washington bureaucrats that in many ways led to the economic crash must never be repeated," Luntz wrote. "This is your critical advantage. Washington's incompetence is the common ground on which you can build support."

Luntz continued: "Ordinarily, calling for a new government program 'to protect consumers' would be extraordinary popular. But these are not ordinary times. The American people are not just saying 'no.' They are saying 'hell no' to more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more legislation crafted by special interests."

In Republican circles Luntz's words, which have helped the party score win the message wars over health care and other legislative battles, are often treated as gospel. Already, some of the advice he's offered on regulatory reform has found its way into the political discourse -- with a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency seemingly on life support under Republican objections.

In addition to tying regulatory reform to a massive government takeover, Luntz's memo includes several other data points and messaging suggestions as a blue print for the legislation's defeat. Opponents, he writes, would be well served to link the package to the financial industry bailout (which, it should be noted, is fundamentally not part of the legislation). According to accompanying polling data, 52 percent of voters said they would be "much less likely" to vote for their member of Congress if they voted for a financial reform bill that contained a fund to bail out banks and Wall Street.

"Public outrage about the bailout of banks and Wall Street is a simmering time bomb set to go off on Election Day," Luntz wrote. "Frankly, the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout."

Another effective strategy to kill the bill, according to Luntz, is to make the case that it was written in secret by lobbyists.


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Reader Comments (7)

i've been sitting on this story all week...it pisses me off more than anything i can remember in awhile...as it reminds me that once again, after the Republicans regain power this Fall that they will likely DO NOTHING to fix the problem...jsut like the Debtocrats...

Vote out every incumbent regardless of party this fall...it's our only modicum of hope...
Feb 5, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Feb 5, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergobias
gobias..i do what i can...
Feb 5, 2010 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"Voters want Wall Street punished and reformed."

I got lots of feathers if anyone has tar...

This just can't be done in a whirling dervish fashion...
Feb 5, 2010 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
This just can't be done in a whirling dervish fashion...


we must plan appropriately...
Feb 6, 2010 at 1:27 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Man we have been broke for 50 years-anybody know where the $$$$$ will come from to fix our sewers or roads? F Wall Street-better literally fix Main Street or Wall Street ain't gonna matter. Hell, maybe that's the point. Get all you can and get out before Rome burns to the ground. You think our infrastructure is a forever thing? This Country is decaying both in a physical sense and a political one. We have about 10-20 years left on a highway system that was designed to last 50 years and not even that long on our water and sewer systems. Pipes don't stop rusting just because we are broke. Leadership has failed us for many decades. How does it feel to be the generation that sees our once great Nation rue the day it was born? I am both a Patriot and a realist. I say these things because they are reality and fact based. If you think I am wrong-go research it for yourself.....PS-I agree the Supreme Court decision to let Corporations buy elections is WRONG and Banks should NOT be able to operate like hedge funds-These are the only 2 points Obama has made that have made ANY sense. I guess Wall Street can be considered "GREEN" Jobs after all....AB
Feb 7, 2010 at 12:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAint Bullshittin'
AB, nice to see your post. I feel this way, too, sometimes. Had similar thoughts one day back in 2007 on the way to Logan airport. On the highway, there were signs -- actual, official signs -- that said to drive in the breakdown lane at certain hours of the day. Rather than fix the roads, or fix public transport, we drive in the breakdown lane. I remember that and having a sudden flash along the lines you're talking about. That "late empire" feeling. Weird.
Feb 7, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H

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