Frank Luntz on Climate Change, State of the Union

Spinmeister Frank Luntz spoke with Salon recently, touching on a number of Washington buzz topics. If you're not familiar with him, check out the infamous Luntz memo, and you will understand why he is a chief enemy of transparent policy and scientific debate. At the end of the print interview, they touch on global warming:

(Salon) Bush plans to outline a global warming policy in his State of the Union address this week. The GOP spent years spreading doubt that there was consensus in the scientific community about global warming, but in recent years Bush has changed his position. So, considering the doubt that he's helped spread, how do you think that he should talk about it to get Americans engaged in the issue?

(Luntz) He has to be straightforward. Those on the left will condemn him for waiting so long, and those on the right will criticize him for selling out, and the answer is to stand up for your conviction and his beliefs. If his opinion has changed, say so.


The issue to me is not whether there is global warming or climate change; the issue is the best policy to addressing it. That's where the debate should have been. Just as we should not be arguing about whether Social Security is in crisis. We should be arguing how to make retirement security more real and more effective. When you fight over process or definitions, you always lose. And you end up dividing the people you're trying to reach. We should be focused on the results.

(Salon) But there has to be agreement that there is a problem in order to get anybody to care about it, right?

(Luntz) Well, we'll see what he says.

Read that closely and you'll know why Luntz commands the respect that he does: you couldn't hang a policy on anything he says.

The State of the Union Address is tonight at 9 p.m. EST. After a couple of weeks of hype, what do you think Bush will say?


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