Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, euphemisms, sneers, innuendos, and meta-narratives in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, October 3-12, 2014

burdensome licensing regimes: basically, ANY licensing body. It’s always a good touch to call a government office a “regime”.

capital unlocking: the projected fruits of the repeal of Dodd-Frank and the general loosening of financial market regulation.

common sense “free market” regulation: minimalism; see above, “capital unlocking”. “common sense” is always a rhetorical master trope (with Tom Paine turning over in his grave all the while). The “common” sense referred to is that of your average Goldman Sachs executive.

concrete moral action: something Obama is accused of forever lacking–all he gives us, according to this meme, is airy-fairy, idealized morality that is not pertinent to life on earth.

controlling the emotional narrative: what Dems are said to be “especially good” at because it implies a superficial ability to spin the facts into a wholly fictional narrative–i.e., “the war on women,” “global warming,” etc.

distributed public responsibilities: newspeak for ending almost all federal oversight, policy and administrative law. This “distribution” amounts to each state becoming a sovereign entity with its own laws and regulations.

gracious: whenever Obama criticizes Bush or any GOPers, who is accused (especially by Peggy Noonan) of lacking grace–being in fact “unseemly” (see below)

grit: another missing part of Obama; the meme is that he has “no stomach for a fight” and is inconsistent and flaccid when responding to foreign threats. This particular lack of character is also attributed to the “takers”–anyone getting any form of aid (except Medicare) is said to lack the true grit to get and keep a job or raise a family on their own.

incremental immigration reforms: none that anyone would ever notice

infantilization of women: any of the new “yes means yes” laws–more broadly, and government attempt to protect women from sexual assault, verbal or physical by keeping them “sheltered from reality”.

judicial activism: any legal decision opposed by the Tea Party. In the legal context, “activism” is pernicious, whereas it is highly encouraged in the public arena.

moral posturing: any moral position taken by a Democrat or liberal. They are never sincere (except when being “idealistic), but always have an ulterior motive. Thus they are said to be “posturing”–pretending to be something they aren’t.

tinpot dictator: an epithet revived every generation. Currently refers to Obama and his alleged takeover of the federal government. Infers that he’s a cheap alloy who cannot withstand any heat.

unseemly: another Peggy Noonan “mom” word. Peggy is always “disappointed” in poor, uncouth Barack.

Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, euphemisms, sneers, innuendos, and metanarratives in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, September 11-24, 2014

against social democracy: by the logic of this argument, advocates of social equity, safety nets, etc are actually elitists, pushing their agenda of  “big guv’mnt” onto the majority of Americans who reject it.

apologist: any Obama administration spokesperson or defender.

fathomless ignorance: best personified by Barack Obama.

freedom fighters: secessionists,  Tea Partiers, libertarians, gun nuts, fundamentalist Christians

hubris: the by-product of naive liberal redistributionist philosophy- a cult of innocents.

liturgies of absolution: any defense of the lazy poor, social safety net programs, etc. Akin to “apologists” (see above).

nostalgia: what fuels naive Obama foreign policy–a yearning for a lost world of harmony and pluralism.

occupying army: any government workers.

resentment: what fuels the “takers” in their sponging off the “makers”.

soft underbelly: the US-Mexico border. Always said to be “porous”. A known conduit for Al Qaeda, ebola, bird flu, polio, Isis, and, lately, ISIS. The surest invasion path for forces that “want to drown us in our own blood”.

steady hand: what we needed to prevent “squandering” our glorious victory in in Iraq. Related meme: “if only if we had kept 10,000 troops there,” presumably in perpetuity.

tax-and-spend-and regulate: the worst kind of Dem dogma. Imagine, people who actually want to govern. What, exactly, does Tea Party orthodoxy offer as an alternative to taxing, spending and regulating?

violation of democratic norms: any government regulation, especially anything coming out of the EPA.

Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, euphemisms, sneers, innuendos, and metanarratives in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, July 14-July 23, 2014

bad actors: the international “thugs” who run circles around Obama, in all his “lassitude.” (see below). An absolute duality between the white hats (our allies) and the black hats (everyone else).

comprehensive tax reform: tax cuts for the wealthy and for businesses.

dynamism: what will get “unleashed” (see below) once Obama is sent back to Kenya. In Tea Party parlance, the opposite of “cronyism.”

factotum: any Dem political appointee or administration official or spokesperson.

lassitude: anything short of an armed, unilateral, interventionist American response to foreign conflicts.

The Obama matrix: supposedly the never-never land of smug complacency and self-righteousness that all Dems have fallen into.

patient-centered health care: euphemism for insurance company-centered health care. The core of this rhetoric are vouchers, which of course will never go far enough to cover anything. Naturalizes the voucher approach as consumer choice, whereas it will really amount to very limited choices, defined by the insurance-health care-Big Pharm complex.

simplified tax code: flat tax.

streamlining: euphemism for gutting environmental laws that lead to increased construction costs.

trampled rights: the result of any laws, regulations or policies the Tea Party opposes. By definition, any “natural right” to do as you please is “trampled” by “red tape”.

unleash: the glorious liberation of American “dynamism” that will result from “streamlined” regulations, “comprehensive tax reform” and “market forces” . What Keystone will do for oil, deregulation for the finance and banking industries, and relaxation of environmental laws for the Koch brothers.

Demonized and Lionized, April 20-May 1, 2013

Demonized                                                    thought crime

Janet Napolitano DHS bullet hoarding
Fisker Automotive DOE loans; thinking that “green energy” has any viable future
Gaby Giffords “gun grabber”
Lindsey Graham Even daring to venture the opinion that Obama’s budget might be a “place to start on a grand bargain”.
Kathleen Sibelius Prevention and Public Health Fund monies used  for “local bike-path, community-gardening, and pet-neutering projects; to lobby for soda taxes; and to pay for $300 million in TV-ad spots designed to resign the American people to their fates under Obamacare.
Joe Scarborough Daring to oppose the NRA on gun control


Lionized                                                          heroic framing

George W. Bush Suddenly comparable to Harry Truman in stature. Fighting AIDS in Africa often cited as signal accomplishment.
Robert Rubio Re-assuring GOP critics on is immigration stance by saying it’s Ok to racial profile Muslim students
Ted Cruz Only about 100 days into his first Senate term, is already being touted as next GOP Presidential pick

Demonized and Lionized, March 5-April 12, 2013

Demonized                 Thought Crime

The Consumer Financial Protection Board “a Dodd-Frankenstein by-product of a fascist political economy”
Melissa Harris-Perry MSNBC spot arguing that  children do not “belong” to their parents but that child-raising is a collective act of civil society
Mitch McConnell surrendering on ObamaCare by supporting a continuing resolution
Sheryl Standberg championing women working outside the home—her “liberation” orthodoxy amounting to “an Age of Aquarius Society”
The AP Stylesheet ending the use of the term “illegal immigrants”
Paul Krugman calling Margaret Thatcher’s economic legacy into question
John Kasich embraced extending Medicaid coverage to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level; declared himself in favor of civil unions for gays, and then had his spokesman withdraw the statement; proposed a “frack tax” on oil and gas production and an extension of the sales tax to many services in order to pay for a 20 percent cut in the state’s income tax
Stockton, California refusing to defund public employees’ pension plans
David Stockman “The Republican Party is just a coalition of four gangs. The neocons are interested in pursuing an imperialistic, militaristic foreign policy that has served us poorly for many decades. The social-cons want the government involved in issues it has no business being remotely near — choice, gay marriage, all the rest. The tax-cons think they can make everything better by cutting taxes. Then there are the rank-and-file Republicans who talk about the virtues of free enterprise and the evils of big government but never vote that way. These gangs won’t solve any problems.”

Lionized                       Heroic Word or Deed

Bobby Jindal call to abolish income and corporate taxes
 Sarah Palin mocking Mayor Bloomberg’s soda pop ban, calling Obama a “liar”
Brad Paisley writing a C&W song defending his racial positions
 Margaret Thatcher single-handedly saving the British economy and defeating the Soviet Union
Paul Ryan proposing a country where “abortion isn’t even considered”

Demonized and Lionized, Feb. 25-March 3, 2013

Demonized                 Thought Crime

Al Gore believing in green energy; getting millions in illlicit government subsidies; getting rich for the wrong reasons
Obamacare forcing insurance companies to raise rates, “for the same reason Ghengis Kahn impregnated women all over Asia”
big banks getting too big. Noonan: break ’em up!
Recap Erdogan (Turkish President) leading edge of militant Islam’s plan to dominate the entire Middle East
Rachel Maddow “Scalia is a troll. He’s saying this for effect. He knows it’s offensive, and he knows he’s going to get a gasp from the courtroom which he got. And he loves it. He’s like the guy in your blog comment thread who’s using the n-word. … He’s that kind of guy.”
Donald Verrilli (US Solicitor General) defending Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act on the grounds that 1) history matters in terms of lingering racial prejudice in the South, and, 2) that the US Senate reauthorized the bill 98-0

Lionized                                                      Heroic Word or Deed

Copernicus The Obama administration is trying to pull us back into what astronomers would call the pre-Copernican world. Copernicus’ heliocentric system overthrew what was known as geocentrism—the belief that everything in the universe revolved around the earth. Beautiful maps exist depicting geocentrism.Economic thinkers since at least the time of, well Copernicus, have understood that national well-being derived from private individuals going out into the private world to produce goods and trade goods, an activity that for centuries has created wealth for many nations. No longer. Mr. Obama and his circle divide the economy into separate parts.

In the Obamaian universe, the units of the private economy—companies large or small—are satellites orbiting the great fixed planet of public spending. All material and economic life in the Obamaian model radiates outward from a central source of public spending.

Bob Woodward saying he was threatened by White House because of his accusing Obama of playing politics with the sequester
Howard Fineman mildly criticizing the White House for hyperbolic predictions about effects of the sequestration
Clark Havighurst (Duke Law Professor)



describing the regulatory, legal and tax subsidies that deprive consumers of both the incentive and opportunity to demand value from medical providers. Americans end up with a “Hobson’s choice: either coverage for ‘Cadillac’ care or no health coverage at all.”
Antonin Scalia “And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same….I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

Demonized and Lionized, Feb. 16-25, 2013

Demonized                 Thought Crime

Eric Holder Politicizing justice via enforcement of voting rights,  civil rights,  gay rights, and financial reform laws
Jan Schakowski (D-IL) calling welfare cuts “literally taking  food out of the mouths of hungry babies”
Chuck Todd Criticizing the “who started it” discourse around the sequestration
Saul Alinsky Community organizing
Jane Mayer “McCarthyist attack on Ted Cruz”
Rand Paul Defending cuts in defense spending
Ray LaHood talking about sequestration’s effects on air travel
Rick Scott, Bob McDonnell, John Kasich, Susan Martinez “flipping” on accepting federal Medicaid subsidies

Lionized                                                       Defense of the Indefensible

Calvin Coolidge Cutting taxes; spending cuts; stimulating the economy
Andrew Mellon See Coolidge, above
Jeff Sessions Welfare cuts as the best thing for the disadvantaged
Marco Rubio Calling sequestration defense cuts “devastating” and accusing Obama of weakening national defense
Grover Norquist Championing elimination of state income taxes
Ted Cruz claiming that Obama’s faculty friends at Harvard during his student days were communists dedicated to overthrowing the US government

Demonized and Lionized

Demonized:  Jack Lew; Valerie Jarrett; Chuck Hagel; John Kerry; Chuck Schumer; Republican governors who “caved” and decided to accept Medicaid expansion: Jan Brewer, John Kasich, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, Jack Dalrymple; John Wellinghoff (FERC Director).

Lionized:  Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, John Kasich (for a huge proposed tax cut in Ohio), Benjamin Carson, Marco Rubio

Demonizing and Lionizing: The Right’s Orwellian Morality Play

The Politiscripting of the Right proceeds in binaries: freedom vs government; makers. vs. takers;  free markets vs. regulation; laissez-faire vs. redistribution, self-reliance vs. communitarianism, etc.

The Wall Street Journal, The National Review, Red State and The Weekly Standard are critical sources of fuel for stoking this “versus” state of mind by perpetually offering up galleries of the demonized the lionized. For example, between Jan. 18-31, here is a partial cast list for this unceasing morality play:

The Demonized: Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama, Mary Jo White, Richard Cordray, Jack Lew, the NLRB, Ben Bernanke.

The Lionized: Republican governors Bobby Jindal, Pat McCrory, Mike Pence, Susana Martinez, Dave Heineman and John Kasich; Art Laffer; Marco Rubio; Stanford economist John Taylor.