The leftists at Mother Jones are brandishing another secret tape. Pollster Frank Luntz, denounced as too conservative by liberals when he turns up on liberal networks, told a group of college students at the University of Pennsylvania this week that Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio are "problematic" for the GOP and that he and Mark Levin were “killing” Marco Rubio for his immigration proposals.
Democrats have “got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what's driving it. If you take—Marco Rubio's getting his ass kicked. Who's my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He's getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others.” This might be a surprise to anyone who's listened to Rubio's actual interviews on conservative talk radio.
Luntz added, “He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.” He also warned that if the GOP did not resolve its internal divides, it could lose the House of Representatives next year.
So much for trying to go "off the record" with a group of college kids, some of whom love Mother Jones:
Luntz asked if anyone was recording the event, and Eric Kaplan, a reporter from the college paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, indicated that he was. Luntz requested that he turn off his recording device. Kaplan did so and agreed that this part of Luntz's talk would remain off the record. But one of the students present, Aakash Abbi, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics, and economics, started to record Luntz on his iPhone (without letting Luntz know), and Abbi has provided that recording to Mother Jones.
David Corn of Mother Jones added that this activist didn't tape everything he wanted people to know. "Abbi and two other attendees (who wish to remain anonymous), asserted that it had been irresponsible (and bad for the GOP) for right-wing talkers to pontificate about women's bodies and birth control—an obvious reference to Limbaugh's attacks last year on Sandra Fluke, a law student invited to testify before Congress on health insurance coverage of contraception. (Abbi didn't catch this part of Luntz's reply on his recording.)"
He said Luntz was blaming polarization and the GOP's problems partly on conservative media, but he didn't want his criticism of Limbaugh, Levin, and the others to reach beyond this classroom. "He was clear on this basic point: Right-wing media is not serving the national debate and not helping the GOP widen the party's appeal beyond its declining base."