Frank Luntz, Who Reportedly Shepherded The GOP Plan To Beat Obama, Calls For Bipartisanship

Frank LuntzRepublican pollster and CBS News political analyst Frank Luntz wrote in a New York Times op-ed that in the wake of the 2014 elections Republicans and Democrats should work together to pass “common-sense solutions.” But Luntz's call for bipartisanship is absurd considering his reported responsibility for some of the partisan gridlock he is currently lamenting. On the night of President Obama's first inauguration, Luntz reportedly convened a meeting of GOP leaders to discuss how they could obstruct the president's agenda in order to win future elections.

In a November 6 op-ed, Luntz warned Republicans to “stop blustering and fighting” and urged the parties to work together because Americans want “progress” and “don't care about Democratic solutions or Republican solutions”:

Americans despair of the pointless posturing, empty promises and bad policies that result. Show that you are more concerned with people than politics. Don't be afraid to work with your opponents if it means achieving real results. Democrats and Republicans disagree on a lot, but there are also opportunities of real national importance, like national security and passing the trans-Atlantic trade deal.

Aside from a small activist constituency, Americans are not looking for another fight over same-sex marriage or abortion. This isn't to say that voters want their leaders to co-opt their convictions. People are simply tired of identity politics that pit men against women, black against white, wealthy against poor. More than ever, they want leadership that brings us together.

This isn't about pride of ownership regarding American progress; this is about progress, period. Americans don't care about Democratic solutions or Republican solutions. They just want common-sense solutions that make everyday life just a little bit easier. But they can't get their houses in order until Washington gets its own house in order.

In his book Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper reported that Luntz “organized a dinner” on Obama's inauguration night featuring a handful of “the Republican Party's most energetic thinkers.” Rather than urging Republicans to work with Democrats after Democrats won the presidency, Senate, and House, the meeting concluded with the assembled party leaders uniting around a strategy of obstruction for political gain:

Luntz had organized the dinner -- telling the invitees, “You'll have nothing to do that night, and right now we don't matter anyway, so let's all be irrelevant together.” He had selected these men because they were among the Republican Party's most energetic thinkers -- and because they all got along with Luntz, who could be difficult. Three times during the 2008 election cycle, Sean Hannity had thrown him off the set at Fox Studios. The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, had nurtured a dislike of Luntz for more than a decade. No one had to ask why Boehner wasn't at the Caucus Room that evening.


The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward:

Go after [then-Treasury Secretary nomineeTim] Geithner. (And indeed [Republican Sen. Jon] Kyl did, the next day: “Would you answer my question rather than dancing around it - please?”)

Show united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies. (Eight days later, Minority Whip [Eric] Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama's economic stimulus plan.)

Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves. (The first National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads would run in less than two months.)

Win the spear point of the House in 2010. Jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and the Senate in 2012.

“You will remember this day,” Newt Gingrich proclaimed to the others as they said goodbye.

“You'll remember this days as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.” [Do Not Ask What Good We Do, pp. xvi-xix]

Since that meeting, Republicans have engaged in a strategy of relentless political obstruction.