The Language Legacy

Friday, December 19, 2008

Transcript

The Bush Administration leaves office in a month, but will its linguistic oeuvre remain? From the "Clean Skies Inititive" to "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," Bushies paid close attention to the power of words. Republican wordsmith Frank Luntz, however, doesn't expect the terms to stick.

Comments [8]

Craig from Omaha

Mr Lutz is a bit clueless, isn't he? Or is he just playing dumb? Half answered questions, misinterpreted verbiage, and general ignorance mark this interview. Even his complements seem back-handed. Ever consider interviewing Lakeoff? He'd have more interesting things to say about right-wing language for sure!

Dec. 25 2008 06:54 PM
Some guy from the fact based reality

im not surprised Frank Lutz, RIGHT WING republican pollster and facilitator would hope the language from the neo-con nightmare were slowly waking from would fade like the plot line of a dream. Sadly i feel ill never forget the dark context which manifest new and repurposed phrasing like: enhanced interrogation, terror alert level orange, enemy combatant status, no child left behind, political firing, detainee rendering, black site prisons , working on the dark-side, dubya M Deez , defense of marriage act, unitary executive, ownership society, gitmo , war on terror, the decider, preemptive war, homeland security, datamining, dark markets, the patriot act, stove piping, terrorist surveillance program, freemarket , burrowing, extra judicial, signing statements, politicization, privatization, ... UGH. the list gos on further than i care too but one more turn of phrase we may remember from the special context of the bush years is "blanket pardon"

Dec. 22 2008 11:28 AM
Patricia K Bruens, MD from Mill Valley, CA

I beg to differ when Republican pollster Frank Lutz says Barack Obama never says any memorable phrases. Still undecided early in the primaries Sen. Obama proclaimed "We are the ones we've been waiting for". It so resonated with me that not only did I immediatley jump on his bandwagon but, for the first time in my 54 years I donated money ( several times) to his campaign and later on did early voting get-out- the- vote calls and door to door canvassing in a nearby state. It was all initially inspired by that one (admittedly borrowed) phrase, profoundly spoken as only Obama can.

Dec. 22 2008 03:42 AM
Patricia K Bruens, MD from Mill Valley, CA

I beg to differ when Republican pollster Frank Lutz asserted that Barack Obama never utters any memorable phrases. When I was still undecided early in the primaries Sen. Obama proclaimed "We are the ones we've been waiting for". It so resonated with me that not only did I immediately jump on his bandwagon but, for the first time in my 54 years, I donated money ( several times) to his campaign and later on did early voting get-out- the- vote calls and door to door canvassing in a nearby state. It was all initially inspired by that one (admittedly borrowed) phrase, profoundly spoken as only Obama can.

Dec. 22 2008 03:27 AM
Peggy from WFAE

I thought there were several memorable lines in Obama's acceptance speech at the DNC. Two of my favorites were "Let them own up to their failure." regarding the Ownership Society, and "So, I've got news for you John McCain, we all love our country." I could go on with several more, but I think Frank Lutz hears speeches differently than "real Americans" (snark) he's looking for an M.O. while most of us just want the message.

Dec. 21 2008 09:22 PM
J Mitchell from Boston

I find it kind of unacceptable to compare Clinton's use of "investment" for "Spending" to Bush's use of "Enemy Combatant." One frames a public debate about taxes and public programs; the other serves as a means of manipulating the United States Constitution and circumventing international treaties. It's not really in the same ballpark. But nice try, Luntz.

Dec. 21 2008 04:30 PM
Frank Coffee from Manhattan

"What difference HAVE eight years made?" Brook's solecism was especially unfortunate during a discussion of language usage. She of all people should know that "eight years" is a period of time and takes a singular verb. This knee jerk use of the plural whenever an 'S" is within earshot is getting depressing.

Dec. 21 2008 10:39 AM
Larry Roberts from Vestal, NY

Mr. Luntz talked as though all that mattered when a politician used a phrase was the style, or the cleverness of the phrase, or the power of the phrase to shift attention to a more favorable aspect of the subject matter. If he were right in this, the Nazi's phrase, "Arbeit macht frei" would have had a more successful career. This means "Work makes one free," and was placed at the entrance to a concentration camp.

The catch phrase I most remember from the Bush legacy is "the smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud." A very clever phrase, but false, and known to be false by the Bush administration. It was a device aimed at manipulating people by fear. "Compassionate conservatism" was a catchy phrase, but Bush showed most compassion toward the richest 1 % of the U.S. population, giving most of his tax cuts to them.

In contrast, Clinton really did know poverty, and was sympathetic to poor people. And Obama's goal of United States, as contrasted to conflicts of Red vs. Blue states, has already made an appearance in his cabinet.

Dec. 20 2008 11:23 AM

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