So Frank Luntz, the spinmeister extraordinaire for the Republican Party, the man who invented the “death tax” as a scary name for the “inheritance tax” (we’re all going to die and so might pay the “death tax,”
but few will pay an inheritance tax), got caught saying the thing most Republicans know but are afraid to say: Rush Limbaugh’s extremism, combined with the size of his audience, makes him a big problem for the Republican Party’s electoral chances going forward.
In other words, to the degree that Limbaugh drives the Republican message to the ever-harder right, he makes it harder for Republicans to appeal for votes from the actually growing parts of the electorate: women, minorities, etc.
Having been caught — his comments were taped despite his request that his comments be off the record — Luntz has now engaged in classic Luntz: he’s attacking the fact that the comments were taped in the first place.
In Luntz’ account, since he asked that his comments be off the record constituted a contract of some sort or other with the audience that the audience was honor bound to follow (whether they agreed to it or not). Failing to honor this contract constituted a violation of trust that cannot go unpunished.
What Luntz has in mind here is plain as day: he wants you to shift your gaze away from the fact that he (Luntz) told an uncomfortable truth, and look only at the “fact” that Luntz was “victimized” by some secret taper.
Don’t fall for it. Frank Luntz told the truth. For once. Honor him for it. And if it happens to start a flame war with the Limbaugh fanatics, just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.