Frank Luntz (left) told the Republican Governor's Association in Florida this week, "I'm so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I'm frightened to death. They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism." Of course, instead of addressing the inequities that have given rise to the Occupy movement, he focused on how to spin it to the Republicans' advantage. Luntz's recommendations include:
• 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."
• 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."
• Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the "middle class." Call them "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."
• Don't say "government spending." Call it "waste." "It's not about 'government spending.' It's about 'waste.' That's what makes people angry."
• 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.
• 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."
• Don't say "bonus"! Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a "bonus." "If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you're going to make people angry. It's 'pay for performance.' "