Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, March 16- 20, 2015

black pathology: The culprit in any killings of unarmed black people. Not only blaming the victim in general, but blaming black behavior for white racism. Also used to characterize any black criminal (“all those people”): when whites commit crimes, it’s always called an “isolated incident.”

covering ourselves in dishonor:  in the Iran negotiations, this means any compromise whatsoever. To “give a little to get a lot” is to permanently stain one’s honor. They’ve been calling Obama dishonorable since the day he took office, so why stop now? “Honor” itself is one of those “daddy words” that the very patriarchal right wing has appropriated and seem to think they have custody of. (also see “giveaway deal,” below)

crushing weight of Washington: see “massive expansion,” below. The fact of the matter is that most Americans don’t feel “crushed” by Washington. After all, the most intrusive things the federal government has done is regulate clean air and water and offer health insurance.

fashionable notions: any Dem policies or issues (see “symbolism,” below). Another way of saying “politically correct,” a dismissive sneer of a phrase.

flexibility to innovate: this is the rhetorical smokescreen for block grants (which are euphemistically now called “Opportunity Grants” or “State Flexibility Funds.”). In many states, the only “innovation” will be the ways they come up with to restrict Medicaid eligibility or cut Medicaid spending.

giveaway deal: any compromise with Iran, Russia, etc.

individual choice: this is one of the main euphemisms for the privatization of Medicare and turning Medicaid into block grants to the state. This insidious term uses the old Karl Rove technique of naming something by its complete opposite. In this case, to the extent that individual choice over health care shrinks, the more choice “individuals” will be said to have.

massive expansion of Washington:  it’s never just an expansion, but always has to be “massive.” The pejorative connotation of “expansion” has itself become a stand-in for any federal regulatory or taxing power, however benign, however promoting the common good.

modernizing Medicaid: Vouchers (see “premium support” below). Why do they think that it’s more “modern” to put patients entirely at the mercy of insurance companies, Big Pharm, and hospitals?

overheated: any report or public statement that blames or criticizes Republicans, the militarty, the police, or the business community

playing the race card: as Charles Blow of the NY Times puts it, “The truth is that the people who accuse others — without a shred of evidence — of  ‘playing the race card,’ claiming that the accusations of racism are so exaggerated as to dull the meaning of the term, are themselves playing a card. It is a privileged attempt at dismissal.” This is another variety of “racism without racists,” or race-denying as the new racism (while it is also a very old form of racism.) Whites are quick to claim “reverse racism” when they feel threatened or discriminated against, but deny the same when the victims of discrimination are minorities.

premium support: converting Medicare from a defined benefit program, in which beneficiaries are guaranteed coverage for a fixed set of benefits, to a defined contribution or “premium support” program, in which beneficiaries are provided a fixed federal payment to help cover their health care expenses. Aka, vouchers, which, as we all know, never quite go far enough to pay for any meaningful health coverage.

religious liberty legislation: legal cover for being a  bigot, racist or homophobe. Couched as a “liberty,” this concept actually means taking away someone else’s freedom and dignity.

smear: any criticism of GOTP policy positions.

symbolism: any Dem idealism, “symbolic” as in token, phony, or hypocritical.

tribal voting: the only way to explain 2008 & 2012: blacks reverting to their African tribalism. This phrase encapsulates all the rhetorical attempts to make Obama seem “un-American.” On the other hand, when large segments of the population vote for the GOTP, they’re called “voting blocks” or “the party base.”

useful political coalition: any bipartisan coalition that supports GOTP positions.

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