- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Pollster Frank Luntz isn’t exactly known around political town as a fawning admirer of President Donald Trump. In fact, the two engaged in a somewhat nasty public spat in 2015, with the latter accusing the former of using his polling position to “shake him down” and derail his presidential aspirations.

But now, post-State of the Union, 2018? It’s a smiley new world.

From Luntz, on Twitter: “Tonight, I owe Donald Trump an apology. Tonight, I was moved and inspired. Tonight, I have hope and faith in America again. It may go away tomorrow. But tonight, America is great again. #SOTU.”

The fawning didn’t stop there.

“Even in foreign policy and national security,” Luntz wrote in a separate tweet, “this speech [is] a perfect blend of strength and empathy. These heroic stories break our hearts, but sturdy our resolve. This is the Trump his voters wanted him to be. #SOTU.”

And this: ‘This speech represents the presidential performance that Trump observers have been waiting for — brilliant mix of numbers and stories, humility and aggressiveness, traditional conservatism and political populism. Only one word qualifies: Wow. #SOTU,” he tweeted.

And this, yet another tweet: “I have criticized the President’s language a lot in recent months. But tonight is Donald Trump at his very best. He’s personalized his language and policies better than I’ve ever seen. #SOTU.”

On Luntz acknowledging his past criticisms of Trump — he ain’t a’kiddin’.

In August of 2015, on the heels of a focus group conducted by Luntz that completely trashed Trump, the then-millionaire businessman took to national media to talk his own trash and accuse the pollster of taking revenge for failing to hire him in the past.

“I watch this guy do a really negative report on me,” Trump said then, Business Insider reported. “And the only reason he did it, in my opinion, is because I didn’t want to hire him commercially. I think it’s disgusting.”

Luntz responded with a denial — and then this: “[Trump] launches an attack on everyone who is even remotely critical.”

Politico in that same month ran a story with this headline: “Fox’s Luntz Blasted Trump at Koch Seminar.”

And it opened this way: “Donald Trump’s feud with GOP pollster Frank Luntz escalated Monday — with Trump calling on Fox News to fire Luntz from overseeing its post-debate focus groups, and Luntz launching a profanity-laden tirade to describe the real estate showman turned renegade presidential candidate. In an interview with POLITICO, Luntz said Trump … [was] ‘delivering a big f— you’ to the elites in America. … ‘But f— you doesn’t solve anything. F— you doesn’t make life any better. F— you makes you feel good, but it doesn’t get you where you need to go.’”

Now?

It’s all unicorns and daisies on Luntz’s Twitter feed.

“This speech,” he wrote, of Trump’s State of the Union, “is going to have a measurable impact on Trump’s favorability and popularity. … Whoever told @TheDemocrats to sit on their hands made a huge mistake.”

It takes a big man to publicly admit he was wrong.

But the bigger takeaway from Luntz’s Twitter feed is this: Get ready for 2018 elections. Republican domination would seem only one solid Trump speech away.

Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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