Frank Rich’s “Dictionary of New Republican Usage”

Hat’s off to Frank Rich’s seminal unmasking of GOP revival rhetoric, “Lipstick on an Elephant,” in the March 3 issue of  New York magazine. Rich’s accompanying “Dictionary of New Republican Usage” is worth citing in its entirety:

American path. The right way for America to proceed. Antonym: Government path.

1. “We can either go down the government path or the American path. The left is trying to turn the government path into the American path.
—Bobby Jindal, 1/24/13

Axis of enlightenment. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, George P. Bush.

1. “[They] create what I call that axis of enlightenment when it comes to immigration. I mean, [Rubio]’s got the policy. He’s in touch with, I think, the lives of ordinary people. And he’s a very accessible guy. He talks about being a working dad and juggling his own priorities.”
—Nicolle Wallace, 2/10/13

Children, the. The way to talk about immigration.

1. “I think that a good place to start is with children … We’ve got families who are here that have become part of the fabric of our country, right? And we want to make sure that we’re compassionate and sensitive to their plight. I mean, these kids know no ­other place as home.”
—Eric Cantor, 2/10/13

Controlling spending. Replaces “capping spending.”

1. “What angers Americans more than how much politicians spend today is how much more they know Washington will waste tomorrow. A ‘cap’ can be lifted, but ‘controls’ are constant.”
—Frank Luntz, 1/11/13

Fantastic four, the. Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, and Eric Cantor.

1. “While calling them the ‘fantastic four’ might seem hyperbolic—and unfair to a few other politicians left out of the mix—[they] are a pretty good counter-argument to those who think the Republican Party is doomed. Excellent politicians all, three out of four are minorities: a Hispanic, an Indian-American, and a Jew—which sounds like they should be walking into a bar for a joke.”
—Jonah Goldberg, 2/11/13

Great Opportunity Party. Replaces “Grand Old Party.”

1. “From this day forward, the GOP will be known as the Great Opportunity Party.”
—Marsha Blackburn, 8/28/12

Variants: Growth and Opportunity Party; Government of the People Party.

2. “We’re the growth-and-opportunity party. We are the government-of-the-people party. And that needs to be the point of view and the perspective that we come from and that we carry our message forth.”
—Blackburn, 1/27/13

Judeo-Christian approach. The other way to talk about “illegal immigration.”

1. “I think the word ‘illegal immigration’ is a false name. You are talking about two separate issues. One is sovereignty … The media trying to make America feel guilty because we want borders—that, to me, is complete bullshit. Immigration is a separate issue … We should all defend sovereignty, then take a Judeo-Christian approach to immigration.”
—Roger Ailes, 2/11/13

More efficient and effective. Replaces “smaller” in discussions of government.

1. “Instead of smaller government, [Republicans] should talk about more efficient and effective government. The former is ideological language of the eighties; the latter is practical language of today.”
—Luntz, 1/11/13

Prudence. What is required for a Republican rebirth.

1. “Prudence is good judgment in the art of governing. Abraham Lincoln called it ‘one of the cardinal virtues’ … The prudent man is like a captain at sea. He doesn’t curse the wind. He uses it—to reach his destination … If we take the prudent course, we’ll be in good company. Our founders were men of prudence … Our country is worth the fight. With your help—and with a touch of prudence—we will win it.”
—Paul Ryan, 1/26/13

Simpler, flatter, and fairer tax code. Replaces “tax reform.”

1. “ ‘Tax reform’ is about the process, what they’re looking for is the result.”
—Luntz, 1/14/13

Variants: Lower, flatter, simpler tax code; Fairer, simpler tax code.

2. “When it comes to the tax code, we as the Republican Party have to make it very clear: We are for a lower, flatter, simpler tax code.”
—Jindal, 11/18/12

3. “Everyone agrees a fairer, simpler tax code would give all of us more time.”
—Cantor, 2/5/13

Welcoming in. A new kind of Republican tent-building. Replaces “reaching out.”

1. “Republicans want to be a party for every American in every neighborhood in every state … That’s why we must stop talking about ‘reaching out’ and start working on ‘welcoming in.’ ”
—Reince Priebus and Ashley Bell, 2/6/13


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