Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, Dec. 15-24, 2014

note: GOTP stands for Grand Old Tea Party

America hater: Obama, who loves the Cubans, Russians, Iranians, and illegal immigrants too much.

America’s moral standing: something Obama always talks about, but the GOTP actually does something about. This is the gold standard for GOTP criticism of Obama foreign policy because anything short of aggressive, unilateral action “tears down America” and “gives comfort to the bad guys”. Like the gold standard, only the GOTP seems to have the golden tablets on which are inscribed ways to gauge “America’s moral standing”.

anti-fossil fuel masochism: any opposition to fracking, coal production, or the use and consumption  of fossil fuels. Thus being “green” is not only to destroy the economy  but also to destroy oneself. Greenies are pathologically self-loathing.

comrades, cronies and pals: Obama supporters, especially any person or business getting a tax break or benefiting from a change in regulatory policy. The Grand Old Tea Party, of course, has “allies” and “supporters” rather than  comrades, cronies and pals.

demonizing the police: a prophylactic term intended to render the police immune from criticism. In this meme, freedom, as represented by the police, is equated with obeying authority, and order is privileged over justice. This all-purposecharge exemspts police from the social contract and the law.

hyena pack: journalists, progressive activist and trial lawyers (especially those pursuing class-action suits against corporations.

inappropriate: in the Peggy Noonan, moral scold, family of rhetorical sneers. An “adult” word, like “honor”, “dignity,” “duty,” etc. Somehow, Dems are always, like children, a little “inappropriate” and untempered in their public utterances. Any direct challenge to received GOTP pieties or shibboleths is automatically “inappropriate”. The idea of what is actually “appropriate” is lodged in the “moral bedrock” (see below) that only the GOTP seems to be born with.

to increase choice and competition:  Hold onto your wallet whenever you hear this ominous incantation. It’s axiomatic that decreased regulation and scrutiny invariably, over time, tend to lead to less choice and competition, but these two words are classic cases of what John Lanchester calls “reversification” of terms–when words become their opposites.

it’s only with hindsight: this is a deflective, prophylactic term, used to shield GOTP from especially effective challenges or criticism: e.g., it’s only “after the fact” or “with hindsight” that waterboarding and other “harsh interrogation policies” might be seen as amounting to torture. Invidious moral distinctions that run counter to GOTP dogma are thus portrayed as impossible to imagine in real time. (see also, “reasonable people can disagree,” below).

let the courts figure it out: another immunizing meme, intended to stifle public debate and free speech. Don’t criticize the legality of police actions because you aren’t “qualified” to speak out on subjects of justice, social equity, and morals or ethics.

moral bedrock: any GOTP ideology. Dem morality rests on the shifting sands of “moral relativism” and permissiveness. Playing this rhetorical card goes toward establishing one’s ethos. It is on this very bedrock that civilization itself rests.

norms of public speech: what deBlasio and Obama violate whenever they speak about race relations in America. This is a rhetorical term of scolding, based on high moral dudgeon that such “bleeding heart” Dems are irresponsible and “inappropriate”. (See above). This charge is typically couched in rhetoric around the notion of “truth,” which itself becomes relative when weighed against “appropriateness”.

political operatives, cowards, and apologists: anyone still supporting Obama. (see also, “comrades, cronies and pals,” above)

the political unrest of the 60s:  pejorative description of The Civil Rights Movement

pro-growth policies: like progress, “growth” is said to only be possible in an environment of such “free market” policies as right-to-work legislation, private school vouchers, and pension and tort reform. In other words, the only way to promote growth is to cripple unions, reduce retirement benefits and make corporations basically immune from litigation, especially class action suits.

reasonable people can disagree; you can disagree with those rules or facts: another prophylactic term, and a false claim to rationality, and a misleading, startegically concessionary term. When the GOTP prefaces their rhetorical attacks on Dems with this phrase, they are really saying that even if the facts work against them, they are morally in the right.

stifling: what government inevitably does to innovation and competition. the “animal spirits” of business yearn to live free and unfettered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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