Political Animal


January 13, 2013 8:34 AM How to Talk Nice to Voters, and Other Sunday Morning Reading

By Adele Stan

Good morning, Animals! Time to fetch that latte and brioche, and settle into a morning of liberal heaven: Sunday papers and shows full of people talking politics.

But before we get started, allow me to apologize for evaporating yesterday without so much as a by-your-leave, thanks to a technical problem with servers in a faraway land (someplace like New York or some such) that temporarily knocked down our hallowed little Web site. But, hey, we’re back.

There’s no dearth of fascinating reading this morning, beginning with G.O.P. pollster Frank Luntz’s advice to Republicans — tendered in the opinion pages of the Washington Post, no less — on suggestions for language alterations in they way they address voters. For instance, there’s this helpful bit:

[Republicans] need a new language to communicate their ideas effectively; it starts with abandoning ugly phrases such as “a hostage you might take a chance at shooting” to describe budget negotiations.

Actually, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell used that phrase to describe the full faith and credit of the United States during the last showdown over the debt ceiling.

(H/t reader MuddyLee.)

Other worthy reads include:

* Absent among possible solutions for the coming debt ceiling crisis will be the giant coin, the New York Times reports. Too bad. We could sure use a little high-minded whimsy right now.

* Other things we won’t be doing include the building of a death star, Politico reports, despite a citizen petition that calls for one. “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” writes OMB official Paul Shawcross in response to the petition. However, Shawcross assures petitioners, the president “knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon.”

* The administration is ready to go forth with “an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system,” according to NYT’s Julia Preston.

* Today’s Washington Post also offers a history of how the National Rifle Association came to be the powerhouse of malevolence that it is today, as well as an outline of 13 proposed gun policies from the liberal Center for American Progress that Post headline writers describe as proposals for “sweeping new gun laws.”

* Slate is crowd-sourcing data on U.S. gun deaths that have occurred since the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., on December 14. The tally so far: 734.

Back soon — with coffee.


  • c u n d gulag on January 13, 2013 9:39 AM:

    So, why does the WaMo use servers in a 'faraway land?'

    Why aren't Murkin servers good enough for WaMo?

    And, are you sure you're not involved in exploiting the labor of underage, underfed, and underpaid hamsters, running on those rusty old wheels in that 'faraway land?'
    OSHA's not there to protect the safety of those hamsters in that 'faraway land,' so, how can you be sure they're in a safe working server environment?
    Are there regular wheel inspections?

    No wonder WaMo is experienceing technical problems!
    You've outsourced hamster server labor!

    WaMo... Walmart...
    Oprah... Uma...


  • Bobby Goren on January 13, 2013 9:39 AM:

    Frank Luntz and the GOP's fixation with semantics illustrates Republican cluelessness or cynicism - depending on how generous one feels.

    Clueless - Republicans are so convinced of their own righteousness that some feel they must just be saying it wrong. If they only find that right way of articulating their views the rest of us will come over to thier point-of-view.

    Cynical - Don't be too honest. A dash of misdirection, a pinch of jingoism and a #10 can of obfuscation and we'll find the message that will convince enough people to vote us in - then we can do whatever the hell we want.

  • toowearyofoutrage on January 13, 2013 10:47 AM:

    c u n d.
    NOBODY got that Uma / Oprah reference but you and me, I hope you know.

    Slate's crowdsourcing is demonstrating that handguns are a MUCH bigger threat to human lives than assault weapons. Gun control as liberals see it IS sweeping.

    This will rapidly usher them out of office.

    Democrats would do well implementing only those measures the NRA grudgingly will tolerate. (fleshing out the background check database to actually include everyone who's ineligible.)

    ACCOMPLISH this one goal. When nothing substantially improves, ask the NRA what their next idea is. Keep going until they finally suggest something that works. Why do we care HOW gun deaths get reduced? Let's do it their way. Our ONLY goal should be reducing gun deaths. If they don't get reduced and the NRA stops offering new suggestions, THEN we can consult with the 2nd nuttiest gun rights group until THEY are exhausted of ideas...

    We won universal health care through incrementalism. Why not take gun control the same way? Given the 2nd amendment, I think it may be the best plan anyway.
    Democrats want to reduce abortion. We want to do it through sex ed, free contraception, and financial support for expectant mothers willing to keep babies that won't be raised it stark poverty.

    Republicans want to reduce abortion by putting doctors in jail. Full stop.

    Our gun control policy should match the open-minded scattershot approach to our abortion reduction goals. We don't care HOW it works... just fix the problem.

  • Kathryn on January 13, 2013 10:51 AM:

    I suspect this is common knowledge but it bears repeating, the NRA is a tax exempt "social welfare" organization with a self described mission " to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, to promote public safety, law and order and the National defense."

  • Steve on January 13, 2013 11:09 AM:

    "[A] President who knows his way around. . . advanced (marshmallow) cannon."

    Goes a long way to explain his negotiating style, doesn't it?

    Just sayin'.

  • c u n d gulag on January 13, 2013 11:11 AM:

    Yeah, I know that!

    Maybe I had a Dennis Miller-like, obscure non-sequitur reference moment.

  • dweb on January 13, 2013 11:23 AM:

    After over a decade of carefully testing words and phrases (compassionate conservatism?) to help the GOP weasel its way around the truth, Mr. Luntz is now telling them they need a "new language."

    And you can just guess who will be there to give them the words and phrases. Of course there will be a cost....there always is.

    In the case of America, the cost has been catastrophic.

  • Hannah on January 13, 2013 1:00 PM:

    I posted that Slate link on my FB page and got what-for from a friend who was astounded that I would post statistics from a "twitter feed". He also had a ton of questions such as who had verified the stats, what types of guns were used, etc. My response was that 1) Slate was partnering with this program which gives it some credibility and 2) this was an ongoing project and perhaps he could do some research and fill them in if he was interested. No reply.

    This same person posted this ridiculous video (one man's opinion and bad interpretation of statistics) on his own FB page and pronounced it "thoughtful and not reactionary".

  • Chuck on Piggott on January 13, 2013 4:36 PM:

    Your server outage was probably just 20 miles west of Washington. Ashburn VA is the server capital of the world.

    Frank Luntz is amazing. We just have to repackage the shit.
    The American people are that stupid, dontchaknow?

  • Rick B on January 13, 2013 6:44 PM:

    OK, tooweary and cund

    Google uma /oprah and it takes you to the David Letterman wiki. Do a browser find on uma and it yields the joke.

    Since I neither watch the academy awards nor David Letterman - yeah, I missed it. Pretty good joke, too.

    You guys have too much time on your hands. That's why I have gone back to grad school at age 70.