Home/Rod Dreher/What’s The Matter With Frank Luntz?

What’s The Matter With Frank Luntz?

I worked my way through Molly Ball’s piece trying to figure out whence Frank Luntz’s despair. The Washington political guru’s explanation simply wasn’t cohering as a sociopolitical diagnosis. And then I got to this graf near the end:

When he’s at home in Los Angeles, The Newsroom is the high point of Luntz’s week. He turns off his phone and gets a plate of spaghetti bolognese and a Coke Zero and sits in front of his 85-inch television, alone in his 14,000-square-foot palace. “That’s as good as it gets for me,” he says.

I was prepared to snark at him as whiner, but this is one of the saddest things I’ve read in a long time. The guy is brilliant and lonely and miserable, and doesn’t know what to do. Would you trade places with him? Would you want to have three houses (including that L.A. mansion), all that money, and all that access to power, if it amounted to that?

I don’t know Frank Luntz, but I think he would be much happier if he would drop everything he’s doing and go to church or (if he’s Jewish) synagogue, and try to connect with values outside of the power bubbles in which he’s been living, and which he’s mastered. It’s killing him.

You may feel differently. That last detail in the piece, though, humanized him in a way that I can’t quite shake.

P.S. It is, however, undeniably pathetic to whine to a magazine reporter about how nobody in Hollywood will return your calls. That’s a pretty clear sign that you’re a putz — that particular whine, not the lack of Hollywood attention — and that you’re doing something wrong.

UPDATE: Dante, from Paradiso XV, verses 10-12 (trans. Ciardi):

Justly they mourn in their eternal wasting

who, in their love for what does not endure,

stripped off the hope of this love everlasting.

Frank Luntz needs Dante. I’m serious.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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