an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in Wall Street Journal editorials and other precincts of the GOP blogosphere, Sept 9-11, 2013
appeasement: whatever Obama does in the Middle East. He is always either said to be appeasing the jihadis, political tyrants such as Assad, the Russians or Iranians, or the “peacenik Left”.
boots on the ground (botg): one week a good thing, the next week political anathema. The “Surges” in Iraq and Afghanistan were a classic example of “good” botg policy, which the GOP supported until they didn’t. Obama’s threats to Syria were “bad” botg policy.
gaffe : Peggy Noonan’s and William Kristol’s go-to characterization of any foreign policy initiatives or ideas coming from Obama or Kerry. It was a “gaffe” both to threaten a military response to Syrian chemical weapons and to offer a diplomatic solution. When every possible response and its opposite fit into the definition of a term, that term may be said to be a Master Trope.
junior camel trainer: The Wall Street Journal’s latest casting of Obama as Putin’s and Assad’s lapdog. (“Obama Rescues Assad”). This meme deftly double-brands Obama as politically gullible and as an Arab. In other words, just an all-around embarrassment and outsider.
leadership vacuum: first cousin to the “gaffe” and “appeasement,” but also carrying its own connotation of fecklessness, harkening back to the derisive meme that obama was unfit for the Presidency and In Over His Head (IOHH). (See “besotted charismatic,” above).
self-besotted charismatic: Peggy Noonan’s latest Obama smear, referencing all of his supposed narcissism, preening, grandstanding, moral hyprocrisy and inflated sense of historical importance.
unserious: one of the master tropes in the narrative of Obama as hapless dupe and preening egomaniac. (aka, “feckless”, or “Jimmy Carter”).