It’s all about the wordplay

The PI reports that Frank Luntz is now telling the GOP to avoid the term capitalism:

Use of the term “Capitalism” is not healthy to conservatives and the term should be “removed” from Republicans’ vocabulary, according to GOP pollster and master spin doctor Frank Luntz.

Luntz, who spun universal coverage into “government-run health care,” said on Fox News that right-think politicians need to start using alternative, more effective phrases at once.

“‘Conservatives should not be defending capitalism:  They should be defending ‘economic freedom’.  And there is a difference,” said Luntz.  “The word ‘capitalism’ was created by Karl Marx to demonize people who make a profit.  We’ve always talked about the ‘free enterprise system’ or ‘economic freedom.’

How correct is he?

The American public’s take on capitalism remains mixed, with just slightly more saying they have a positive (50%) than a negative (40%) reaction to the term. That’s largelyunchanged from a 52% to 37% balance of opinion in April 2010.

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction. Those numbers are little changed from when the question was last asked in April 2010.

Of these terms, socialism is the more politically polarizing – the reaction is almost universally negative among conservatives, while generally positive among liberals. While there are substantial differences in how liberals and conservatives think of capitalism, the gaps are far narrower. Most notably, liberal Democrats and Occupy Wall Street supporters are as likely to view capitalism positively as negatively. And even among conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters there is a significant minority who react negatively to capitalism.

I hate to give luntz credit, but I bet economic freedom probably polls better than a +10. Then again, maybe the public is smart enough to realize that economic freedom for all requires government regulation and progressive tax rates.

About nickgb

Computer programmer, lawyer, and aficionado of many dorky things that, in reality, you probably can't be an "aficionado" of. nickgb is a fanboy of Whedon, Sorkin, Gary Cole, Matthew Perry, and anything that brings together casts of his favorite shows (which, by definition, were all canceled "way too early").
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One Response to It’s all about the wordplay

  1. dedc79 says:

    It’s odd, you’d think Luntz would work best behind the scenes, but time and again his recommendations come to light and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It’s like everyone knows it’s all bullshit but half the country has decided they’re ok with it.

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