The Left Needs Our Own Frank Luntz


We are Terrible At Messaging. Defund The Police is just the latest example of a good policy that has a bad name. We are giving ammo (pun intended) to the Right.

SoyBlo tries to lay a trap for Kamala Harris shows us what the problem is:

At the end of Harris’ superb explanation, McCain continues to not understand Defund the Police. I don’t think that’s an act, and yes she is as dumb as dirt, but she’s about as reachable as the GOP gets.

Defund the Police is a terrible name for what is a good policy goal; its misleading name suggests that there would be nobody left to prevent crime. This is where SoyBlo was coming from.

Protesters calling to defund the police proclaim that the police are beyond reform and want their own cities to re-allocate some Ameros from police budgets to programs for housing, community health, education; I would add for here in Seattle, activists also propose hiring trained mental health pros and social workers to emergency calls instead of SWAT teams. (Last year I talked with members of our Bike Patrol who —at that time— wanted that, too.) Addiction is a medical problem and NOT a core competency of the police. It’s pretty straight forward.

The morning email thingies all hit this”Defund” pretty hard:

Axios first:

Joe Biden’s campaign said yesterday that he does not support defunding police, but is pushing for police reform and more spending on community, school, health and social programs, Axios’ Alayna Treene reports.

The alert amongst us notes that what Biden is pushing for is what the activists are pushing for, but not using the word defund.  Go figure. I’m sure the Bernie Bro dead-enders will be on that all day today.

Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie:

REFORM RATHER THAN DEFUND Top Democrats on Monday unveiled a sweeping reform bill for police forces. But many are afraid their party will get dragged into a different story — activists’ calls to “defund the police.” So senior Democrats are carefully — but forcefully — speaking out against the idea, hoping to stifle momentum before it overshadows their broader reform effort.

What Democratic leaders are saying: “Don’t let yourselves be drawn into the debate about defunding police forces,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) warned the caucus on a private call Monday night. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, brushed aside questions about the idea, saying it was a “local decision.” And moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered this blunt assessment: “You can’t defund the police, that’s stupid, it’s crazy and anyone who talks about that is nuts.”

As Nancy Pelosi said (and way too quickly) that police funding is a local decision. (Fact Check: TRUE!) What congressional Democrats are doing is give some federal-level tools that can help get the really bad apples out of the barrel full of armed monkeys.

Anyway, as usual, the Left is fighting amongst ourselves over stupid terminology, not over goals. We need a lefty word-person like the right has in Frank Luntz to come up with better messaging. I think Republicans would even go along with this if they were not immediately fighting the words.

UPDATE 1: Maddow.

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12 Responses to The Left Needs Our Own Frank Luntz

  1. Defund the Police didn’t come from a carefully curated study of propaganda like Frank ‘Josef Gobbles’ Luntz’s oevure…that came right off the streets…

    ( Besides, I have serious moral problems with the notion of ‘we need our own Roy Cohn Frank Luntz’.

    He is one of those ‘banalities of evil’ that represent the truly destructive, anti-human evil, as in irredeemably corrupt, inflicts pain from a complusion to make people hurt, all seven Deadly “WHAT’S IN THE BOX” Sins, ends up standing by Satans right hand evil. Nuh uh!)

    I think (hope? fantasize?) that people are underestimating what’s going on this time.

    This isn’t a rehash of ’65 or ’68 or even ’92; to me it’s feeling a lot more like when the dam broke over the decades of pedophile coverups in the Catholic Church.

    Striking down the absurd notion of ‘qualified immunity’ and breaking the back of the Police gangs Unions is a start. Firing any cop who’s been trained as a “Warrior” is a start. Taking away all their military weapons is a start.

    All of that requires taking money away from them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. donnah says:

    Didn’t the protesters come up with “Defund the Police”, because I only saw it appear on protest signs around the third day of the marches. So why did Democrats grab that phrase and start using it? We get that the police department as an entity should be completely evaluated and rebuilt in a more unified and cohesive form, sans racism, but calling to defund it sounds to many ears like Get Rid of the Police. People on the whole don’t get nuance and they hear what they want to hear.

    This should be addressed and quickly sent out across the country before Trump and his buttheads make hay. Or maybe it’s too late already.


    • tengrain says:

      Donnah –

      The activists used it and the Republicans latched on to it, and now the Democrats are having to defend the policy.

      It’s a cluster-eff.




      • MDavis says:

        It’s another When will you stop beating your dog? A protest slogan is not a policy! Why did Harris even take that bait?
        As to Democrats being asked to defend a protest statement as though they put it forth as a policy – I had no idea, I had thought it was a policy someone had put out there as a politician. Why did I not know this was a protesting slogan before TG explained it? That is bad, stupid messaging. Harris should know better, and her first response, any Democrat’s first response, should be to point that out.

        Would it be bonus to ask why R politicians aren’t asked to explain their support for, say, the sale of Hillary and Obama targets at red-state shooting ranges? For example? I don’t know.
        To those commenters, here, who were saying this is a bad phrase to rally behind, Y’all were correct. But this new information tells me that the Rs are rallying behind it as a straw man to set on fire. Rs are sticking this thing on D backs like a “kick me” sign. And setting it on fire. And then sticking around to watch it burn.


  3. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    Defang the Police might be a better slogan.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dennis Cole says:

    “Defend the Police!” “Befriend the Police!” “Spend the weekend…….nah, that doesn’t work. I’m trying to help out the RWNJs here, to come up with a snappy slogan that acts as a “slap-back.”

    I sure thought it would be easier than this…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris Papalia says:

    As I said the other day, “Defund” might as well have been coined by Steven Miller and the team at Fox.

    “Reconstruction” would have been my choice, given its historic use.


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