Environment

The Word Doctor Wants to Help

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJan 25, 2010 1:18 PM

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That wily Frank Luntz. What's he up to? Last week, the Republican pollster advised enviros on how to sell the congressional climate bill. (Don't mention polar bears or cap and trade, the bill's centerpiece. Instead, talk about energy security and jobs.) That's quite a turnaround from the guy who, in 2002, counseled the Bush Administration on how to avoid taking action on global warming (by, among other things, calling it climate change and playing up the scientific uncertainties). The only problem with Luntz's latest climate messaging advice is that Democrats already figured it out. They tried that script before moving on to plan b. No telling yet whether the gang of three will have better luck working from it. Still, it's an interesting parlor game to divine Luntz's motives. Is he a mercenary or a saboteur? Daniel Weiss over at Climate Progress probably could care less but in a guest post he obviously welcomes Luntz's polling results. CP readers, however, are suspicious (see here and here), as is Osha Gray Davidson, who smells something rotten. While Davidson is mighty suspicous of Luntz's data and methodology, he doesn't offer any theories on why Luntz would be echoing what many democrats still see as the climate bill's strongest selling points--jobs and national security. Does Davidson think that Luntz secretly believes this is a losing strategy? Because it's not clear to me why Davidson is so frothy over Luntz. Is it just a bad taste he can't shake, or does he think Luntz is somehow outfoxing the democrats on the climate bill? I thought some clues might be discerned at the roster of anti-environmental bloggers that specialize in mocking any morsel of good news that climate advocates might put to good use. But slim pickings there. Hardly any mentioned Luntz's findings or his curious joint appearance with EDF President Fred Krupp at the National Press Club. Notably, there was no Morano link, and no sarcastic jab over at Planet Gore. So either Morano's circle is in on the con (unlikely) or they think Luntz is peddling some useful advice, which they'd prefer not to draw attention to.

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