Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, Nov. 1-3, 2013

the American people: In the rhetoric of Ted Cruz’s Manichean morality play, always under threat by any Democratic policy or initiative. Rhetorically, they serve as his ethical lodestar and source of fathomless pathos. The ACA is portrayed as an especially dire existential threat to them. Note: Democrats–or even Republicans opposed to any Cruz policy or vote–are excluded from this group.

arbritrary standards: the provisions of any Democratic policy the GOP rejects. (aka, “diktat”). In the case of the ACA, this becomes a blanket indictment of coverage for maternity care, preventive medicine, family planning, substance abuse, mammograms, etc. Other  “arbitrary” standards would include annual or lifetime reimbursement caps, rate equity for women,  and exclusions for preexisting conditions. The rhetorical irony here is that, strictly speaking all “standards” are “arbitrary”, as opposed, I suppose, to inherent, absolute, or natural. Values, morals, and ethics are all ultimately “arbitrary,” but that doesn’t make them any less defensible or legitimate. The GOP uses “arbitrary” as a pejorative term, while their policies are, on the other hand, “common sense” “model reforms” or “realistic”.

death spiral: what the ACA is purportedly headed into–all imaginary, premature, and unmitigated wishful GOP thinking.

overpriced: all aspects of the ACA, due to its “arbitrary standards”. Never mind that comparing it to the lesser coverage of current policies is comparing apples and oranges, the rhetorical purpose of this descriptor is to undercut all ACA provisions by invidious comparisons.

paternalistic: any imposition of “arbitrary standards” by the “nanny state” or the “urban, genteel elitists”. When Republicans ban abortion, they of course are being “paternalistic,” but “pro-life”. AKA, “liberal paternalism”.

Progressivism: a political, social and economic movement in the united states that lasted from the tun of the 20th Century until the Autumn of 2013, with the coming of Obamacare. progressives were especially known for their “hatred” of free markets, property, and private enterprise.

public outrage: when the GOP astroturfs a citizens’ uprising, it’s called Jacksonian democracy; when the Democrats talk about concepts such as “corporate welfare” or “the 1%,” it’s called divisive class warfare and phony or misplaced anger fomented by “special interests”. AKA, “witch hunt,” “cramdown,” “intimidation” or “inquisition”.

scheme: any Democratic bill or policy–ACA proponents pushing this “scheme” are now seen as liars, grifters, or con artists.

showered: how campaign contributions are bestowed on Democrats.

stacking: what Democrats do when they nominate anyone for an executive or judicial branch appointment.

statists: those who believe government has a role in public policy.

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