Frank Lutz is depressed. Engaged at the forefront of Republican politics since 1992, when he advised the Perot and Buchanan campaigns, and particularly since 1994, when he played a major role in promoting Newt Gingrich’s agenda and the Contract With America, Lutz has been influential in persuading voters to vote for the candidates who have given us the political, social, and economic straits we now find ourselves in.
Molly Ball writes, in The Agony of Frank Lutz, that Lutz still believes fervently in “unfettered Capitalism and individual self-reliance.” He has influenced Republican politicians like Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani to sharpen their attacks, draw clear distinctions between them and their liberal rivals, and find just the right words to polarize political discussion. He has used his mastery of words to persuade voters to continue the Reagan Revolution. Now that our political discourse is so poisoned, he laments how poisoned it is. Having trained Republican voters to denigrate their political opponents, he is now upset that the people sound “contentious and argumentative.” That they don’t listen to one another. That they are divided.
The middle class has been bankrupted by the politics and economic policies of the conservatives. Inequality of income, inequality of opportunity, and inequality of hope have decimated the economic health and optimism of the American middle class voter. The Reagan Revolution that Lutz has so sucessfully promoted has left the country and its citizens poorer in both prosperity and spirit. And now they are coming to believe that they’ve been had. Had by Frank Lutz. And Lutz is irked that he can no longer sell them on the policies that have contributed to their diminished circumstances. The people are on to Frank Lutz. He was good enough to persuade them to vote against their interests when they didn’t know better. But now that the chickens have come home to roost, “I’m not good enough,” Lutz admits. He is not good enough to continue persuading them to back policies which are against their interests. And when he tries to persuade them, having learned so well the discourse that Lutz taught them, they are argumentative and contentious.