Frank Luntz has published a report (pdf) of why the Republicans lost and what they can do to win in 2008. (In their dreams.) I found it at times interesting, amusing and bemusing because for someone who is so good at what he does, he has some remarkable blinders.
For one thing, he is convinced that the "true" ideas of the Republicans are still compelling, but that the Party has forgotten that is why they were given power. He does agree that the Republican-controlled 109th Congress earned their own comeuppance because they proved incapable of solving any of America's problems.
The American people asked collectively why so much had gone wrong: immigration, energy, and, of course, the war. The response: silence. That silence was indicative of so many issues – Katrina, Foley, corruption, unaccountability, and wasteful Washington spending – whenever voters had legitimate questions or doubts, there was only posturing and finger pointing.
He believes that the Republicans lost the battle, but not the war, because what happened was the voters who are philosophically Republicans rejected the current batch, but if Republicans start acting like real Republicans, with Republican ideas (small government, low taxes, etc.) then these "Republican Rejecters" as he called them will be streaming back to elect Republicans.
The 2006 Election was decided by a non-traditional type of swing voter. Historically, swing voters are a floating demographic – moderates, centrists, unaffiliated voters who wait until the last minute to decide their preferences. By definition, they are “personality” voters rather than ideological voters – and they have leaned Republican since 1994.
That all changed in 2006. The swing voters, the people who left the GOP and broke for the Democrats this year – 16% of the electorate – came from all demographic subgroups and all across the political spectrum. The Republican Rejecters didn’t like the Democrats. They weren’t comfortable with their negative attacks and had no idea where they stood on key issues. And yet they voted for them anyway. Why?
And then he goes on to tell the Republicans what they did wrong and how they can get these swing voters back. What he sees is these Republican Rejecters are the Republican moderates, and he thinks if Republicans once more act like moderates, they will come back. However, he misses the fact that moderates are likely to be put off by the very Republicans who are left in the Congress. Kevin Drum makes the astute point that since the remaining crew are more rabidly conservative than most Americans, it only will take making sure Americans see who actually controls the Republican Party and how far out of the mainstream they really are to turn off most Americans for a long time.
What bemused me was that Frank Luntz doesn't realize that the real "Republican Party" is exactly what Americans saw and that there is not another Party - a more honest, less corrupt, more concerned about spending tax payer dollars wisely, and more concerned about doing some real work on the average American's problems Party - waiting in the wings.
Because it's pretty damn clear that the Party we saw during the 109th session was the real Party. It is the Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, and Newt Gingrich Party that has sold out the American public to the highest bidder. It is the Party that sees nothing wrong with shredding our constitution and playing footsie with those who want to replace our government with an authoritarian theocracy. It's the Party that let Bush make a total mess of Iraq. It is the Party that is running a war on Science and honest government.
Yet, Luntz, who has done so much to sell this gang to the public thinks there is a "real" Republican Party left even after the ghouls have inhabited the shell that was once a real American party. The problem for Luntz is the people that took over his Party are The Party and there isn't much left to salvage. Luntz who now admits that global warming is really happening (after providing the approach and all those lies that the Republicans used to deny it for so long), seems to have his own problem separating fantasy from reality.Posted by Mary at December 19, 2006 11:38 PM | Elections | Technorati links |