It is one thing to use your oratory skills and your powers of persuasion to convince others to see your viewpoint on an issue. It is something else entirely to use codewords and buzzwords to confuse the message and deceive your audience. At a recent Republican Governors Association meeting in Florida Frank Lutz, GOP pollster and notorious spinster, outlined the latter in his 10 point program.
According to Lutz, the need for the 10 point plan has arisen based on the effective messaging of the masses in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. As the protesters continue to effectively shape the conversation about the greed of the 1% and the mistreatment of the 99% many Republicans (including Lutz) are "frightened to death" that Republican governors could be swept out of power in the next election.
Instead of talking to the governors about how to address the real issues of the Occupy constituency, Lutz opted to come up with a 10-point plan of buzzwords and phrases meant to spin the message of the protesters, portray the government as incompetent and depict Republican policies as the only true solutions.
Lutz, one of the top political communications experts in the world, understands that words matter and carefully crafted phrases have the ability to manipulate the masses. It is the age-old trick of politicians, marketers, advertisers, coaches and leaders. When done with honor you come up with phrases like "just win baby" from Al Davis or "yes we can" from Barack Obama. When words are used to deceive however you get leaders like Hitler who convince millions of Germans to participate in mass extermination of the Jews.
Below are the highlights of the Lutz 10-point plan. Over the next several months listen for these phrases when you hear Republicans give interviews, engage in debates or produce ads for the 2012 elections.
1. Don't say 'capitalism.'
"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."
2. Don't say that the government 'taxes the rich.' Instead, tell them that the government 'takes from the rich.'
"If you talk about raising taxes on the rich," the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But "if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes."
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the 'middle class.' Call them 'hardworking taxpayers.'
"They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the 'middle class' and the public will say, I'm not sure about that. But defending 'hardworking taxpayers' and Republicans have the advantage."
4. Don't talk about 'jobs.' Talk about 'careers.'
"Everyone in this room talks about 'jobs,'" Luntz said. "Watch this."
He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a "job." Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a "career." Almost every hand was raised.
"So why are we talking about jobs?"
5. Don't say 'government spending.' Call it 'waste.'
"It's not about 'government spending.' It's about 'waste.' That's what makes people angry."
6. Don't ever say you're willing to 'compromise.'
"If you talk about 'compromise,' they'll say you're selling out. Your side doesn't want you to 'compromise.' What you use in that to replace it with is 'cooperation.' It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you're selling out those principles."
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: 'I get it.'
"First off, here are three words for you all: 'I get it.' . . . 'I get that you're angry. I get that you've seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system."
Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.
8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'
Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."
9. Don't ever ask anyone to 'sacrifice.'
"There isn't an American today in November of 2011 who doesn't think they've already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to 'sacrifice,' they're going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how 'we're all in this together.' We either succeed together or we fail together."
10. Always blame Washington.
Tell them, "You shouldn't be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it's the policies over the past few years that have created this problem."
Words matter and carefully crafted phrases can manipulate or deceive the masses. Remember, for every Martin Luther King there is an Adolf Hitler.
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