Frank Luntz: It doesn’t matter what Obama’s health care plan says, we’ll still call it ‘government takeover.’

In an interview with the New York Times, GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz — who recently penned a health care messaging memo instructing Republicans to attack President Obama’s health reform efforts by criticizing the deficiencies in foreign health care systems — concedes that Republicans will label Obama’s reform effort a “government takeover” of health care, regardless of the actual proposal:

Is it a correct description of the president’s plans for reform?We don’t know what he is proposing. We want to avoid “a Washington takeover.”

But that’s not at issue. What the Democrats want is for everyone to be able to choose between their old, private health-insurance plan and an all-new, public health-insurance option.I’m not a policy person. I’m a language person.

Indeed, “rather than challenging the tenets of American reform proposals, Luntz establishes a straw man argument against a non-existent health plan.” As Democratic strategist Paul Begala observes in a recent retort to the Luntz memo, “Because they know they cannot win the argument honestly, Republicans are resorting to mendacity.”


Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.