Frank Luntz, the lecherous Dale Carnegie of right-wing dystopianism, has once again slithered onto WaPo's op-ed pages, hissing venomous pedantry and spewing neolithic platitudes as seductive insight. This time his come-hither, Humbert Humbert routine is called "Why Republicans should watch their language," but having already lost their virtue so many times to the creepy likes of Luntz, they should watch for the exits instead.
I'll make this quick, especially because Luntz doesn't.
He drools for four dreadful pages over the infinite simplicity of "candidates and political parties [being] about reputation, trust and ideas.... [W]hat you say in defense of those ideas matters, and what people hear matters even more." If that thundering tautology fails to rattle your brain loose, then you're ready to grasp to Luntz's essential, sequential jokes:
Republicans on Capitol Hill have great thinkers and communicators with serious ideas and specific answers, from Reps. Paul Ryan and Dave Camp to Sens. Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey. The party should unleash them--now. But they need a new language to communicate their ideas effectively.
It's the DeMint gambit: Precisely because the ugliness of the nihilistic pseudoconservatism that we hold dear is deeply incompatible with the transcendent truths of traditional conservatism that we must stress presentation and language--and heaven forfend not the ugly ideas themselves.
The sequence: Hustle vague, feel-good terminology, such as, "Instead of entitlement reform or controlling the growth of Medicare and Social Security, talk about how to save and strengthen these programs."
In other words, lie.
Still, I'll give the devilish Luntz his due. He knows his market. He knows (or I'm assuming he knows) that the straight, uncorrupted path to selling conservatism is to simply preach conservatism, and not the insidious, collective humbug of fundamentalist Christianism, Randian libertarianism and adventurous militarism--all that which stiffens the Nabokovian resolve of modern Republican debauchery.