Conservative communications guru Frank Luntz has written the playbook for GOP opposition to the Obama administration's health care proposal. His plan, which is heavy on framing the president's proposal as a government "takeover," is already popping up in statements from top congressional Republicans and on Fox News, despite the fact that no Democratic legislation has been proposed.
But when it comes to discussing who funded his messaging, the wordsmith Luntz is notably devoid of words. Asked about his funder in an interview with the New York Times Magazine to be published on Sunday, Luntz was close-lipped:
Q Who paid you to write the health care memo?
A It's not relevant.
Q A pharmaceutical company?
A No pharmaceutical company was involved.
Luntz's 28-page memo, titled "The Language of Health Care," was distributed to congressional Republicans a few weeks ago in hopes of preemptively framing the health care debate. Among the more traditional arguments made include labeling the progressive approach to reform as one dictated by "politicians," "bureaucrats," and "Washington."
Asked why he suggested the foreboding "Washington takeover" as a description for a public plan for insurance coverage, Luntz replied: "'Takeover' is a word that grabs attention."
When reminded by the interviewer Deborah Solomon that the president isn't actually in favor of a single-payer system, but rather a hybrid of public and private providers, Luntz replied: "I'm not a policy person. I'm a language person."