Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, Jan 16-23, 2015

Note: GOTP=Grand Old Tea Party

abortion: now called “the new Black holocaust.”

anti-American stain: what you get for life whenever you criticize American foreign policy. See: John Kerry.

capital: when Thomas Piketty talks about it, it’s a neo-Marxist take on income inequality and a thinly-veiled call for “redistributionism.” When the GOTP uses the term, they’re always referring to investments.

cynical class warfare: what the Dems get accused of whenever they talk about income inequality. Presumably, it’s always “cynical”  or sometimes, “cheap”) because it isn’t based on any moral principles, but only designed to placate the poor and keep them voting Democratic. When the GOTP talks about class, as in tax cuts for the rich, they call it “reform” or “relief”, and want to be perceived as speaking out of core conservative values, which are always “sincere” and never “cynical.”

drive-by: any federal regulation, such as when HUD, EPA or Justice take any action against the private sector or Tea Partiers.

extraneous political context: basically, any political context used to frame a particular issue. For example, it’s “extraneous” to cite the political motives behind our invasion of Iraq whn discussing the “heroism” of our soldiers.

fixation: any Dem policy consistently promulgated. For example, Obama’s determination to close Gitmo is characterized as “cheap moral umbrage”, and a dangerous fixed idea.

legal firewall to protect investments: a euphemism for the deregulation of all financial activity and immunity from persecution for financial shenanigans. The “legal firewall” they seek is impunity/immunity

modernizing entitlements: cutting, means-testing or ending them.

overregulated: basically means regulated at all. On the other hand, it’s not possible, in GOTP terms, to be underregulated.

poses no human risk:  what they always say after a nuclear “incident” or “accident.” Why is this phrase so unnerving, apart from the fact that it always sounds like a bald-faced lie?

racial discrimination: now called mere “racial disparity” by the GOTP. “Racial disparity” is just human nature playing itself out, and nature is used as a rhetorical cudgel used to counter “disparate impact” legal theory.

regulatory certainty: this sounds innocuous, but really means certainty that there won’t be any government interference. The GOTP does not want the certainty of more government regulation, only the certainty of less.

simplified tax code: fewer taxes and less overall tax on the wealthy

standing up (to Iran, Putin, ISIS, etc.): what Obama never does. His flaccid foreign policy is represented as cowardly, self-destructive, and a direct threat to US sovereignty. Obama thus either gets criticized for “lying down”, as in this case, or for tyrannical “overreach”  or “grandstanding” when he “stands up” for anything the GOTO doesn’t like, such as immigration reform, combating climate change, supporting the Voting Rights Act, etc.

the undeserving poor: basically, the poor, aka “the takers”. Acccording to George Will, they supposedly live in a “culture of dependency,”  and are totally devoid of personal pride, ambition, self-reliance, or any sense of personal responsibility. In the GOTP’s eyes, to be poor is to undermine American exceptionalism and destroy the national fabric. Will even uses the disease model to characterize the poor, calling it an ‘epidemic” of entitlement and dependency. This is obviously a long way from National Socialism rhetoric in Germany in the early 1930’s, but resembles the Nazi’s key intermediate rhetorical step of “othering” Jews by calling them “vermin”. An alternative to the disease model is implying that they are not a part of American exceptionalism, but an exception to America.

 

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