Luntz Watch: How to Be Frank Luntz’s Worst Nightmare

[Influential conservative strategist Frank Luntz has produced a 160-page playbook to advance the right-wing agenda. Think Progress cuts through the spin and gives you the tools you need to fight back. Check here for updates throughout the week.]

Luntz’s playbook is full of things people should never say if they don’t want to undermine the right-wing agenda. Here’s how you can be Frank Luntz’s worst nightmare:


• Talk about the economy using “facts and figures.”


• Talk about the overall size of Bush’s proposed tax cut.

• Describe how repealing the estate tax protects America’s wealthiest families.

• Talk about the economy without bringing up 9/11.

• Recall how Bill Clinton produced balanced budgets in the late 1990s.


• Remind people that conservatives want to make painful cuts in vital government services.

• Talk about the deficit without bringing up 9/11.

Social Security

• Remind people that the financial services industry has been embroiled in scandal and corruption.

• Note that money contributed to private accounts will “go into the hands of greedy Wall Street fat cats.”

• Point out that proponents of Social Security privatization “lack factual discipline.”

• Tell people that the push to privatize Social Security is about partisan politics.


• Tell people what ANWR stands for.

• Say, “We should rely on American ingenuity and not the Saudi Royal Family.”

• Talk about how drilling for oil harms the environment.

• Always say “Drilling for oil”; Never say “Exploring for energy.”

• Give specific examples of safety and security problems at nuclear power plants.

Patients’ Rights

• When talking about trial lawyers don’t use words like “creeps, bottom-feeds, overpaid and evil.”

• Say, “When innocent people who are injured seek compensation from those who cause their injuries it’s anything but frivolous. When a preventable careless medical error forces a child into a wheelchair for the rest of his life, it’s anything but frivolous. And when someone close to you suffers due to doctor negligence, their right to a day in court is anything but frivolous.”