Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Sept. 11-17, 2018

Obama vs. the nation

rhetorical claim:  As expressed on The American Thinker website:

In a moment reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s outrageous characterization of Trump voters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable,” President Obama said: “I have to say this… Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.”

Labeling the 63 million Trump voters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable” didn’t work out for Hillary Clinton when she ran a failed presidential campaign against Trump in 2016.  Labeling the same voters as divisive, resentful and paranoid will not work for Democrats in the November midterm elections.

No, it will not, and the remarks by this poster child for self-serving hypocrisy and delusion go a long way toward explaining how Obama shrank the Democratic Party by a thousand state, local, and federal legislative seats during his eight years in office.  Once again, to use President Obama’s own phrase, he “acted stupidly.”

From Ferguson to Baltimore and beyond, President Obama’s words aiding and abetting the war on cops and inciting racial division have been the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.  He has encouraged a false narrative of racist cops and racist police departments whose officers are guilty until proven innocent, or buried, whichever comes first.  Never mind that in both Baltimore and Ferguson, the cops accused of racism and murder were found guilty of neither.

It was Ferguson, Missouri, where President Obama’s Justice Department sent forty FBI agents to prove that Officer Darren Wilson was a racist murder of an innocent black teen. He made the race-baiting Al Sharpton, who helped create the myth of “hands up, don’t shoot,” a key adviser on race matters and Ferguson…

Jesus preached peace long before the prophet Muhammad mounted a horse, grabbed his sword, and began beheading infidels on his way to Mecca.  As for the Crusades, they came after and in response to centuries of Islamic conquest and aggressive war against the infidels of the Christian West.  As Princeton scholar and Islamic expert Bernard Lewis explains, “The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war – to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage.”  According to St. Louis University and Crusade scholar Thomas Madden, “[a]ll the Crusades met the criteria of just wars.”

Slavery was an institution supported by Democrats in the South.  Jim Crow laws were written by Democrats.  Evils may have been committed in the name of Christ, but not at the urging of Christ, who preached peace and love and mercy to one’s enemies.

It is Barack Hussein Obama who divided America and incited paranoia, attacking, cops, Christians, and clingers, just to name a few.

rhetorical effect: not even the Russians could do so well at stoking the dying embers of the Culture Wars.


pretty heavy cost

rhetorical claim: the National Park Service wants to charge protestors for the cost of the charges incurred by public protests. One NPS official said that last year’s Women’s March carried with it a “pretty heavy cost.”

rhetorical effect: essentially a tax on free speech. Ballots, vote-counting, poll watchers, etc. also cost money. Are they going to tax us to vote (i.e., impose a new [poll tax)?  Also makes it sound as if the NPS owns public lands, when, is essence, they are the steward of these lands on behalf of its citizen-owners.


color blind

rhetorical claim: since conservatives don’t  see color and that therefore there’s too much talk about racism. People of all colors can get ahead, so nobody should whine about outcomes. Just talking about racism is itself racist.

rhetorical effect:  classic rhetorical inversion, turning racism on itself and claiming that its actual meaning is the diametrically opposite of its commonly-held meaning; elides structural racism (minorities being more likely to attend underfunded schools, have far lower incomes and higher unemployment than whites, are far likelier to be imprisoned than whites, etc.) ; robs social justice advocates of their political voice.


the anti-Trump media firing squad

rhetorical claim: in the midterm election kickoff, the anti-Trump media firing loosed a fusillade of damp squibs, none of which had any effect on the President. They tried everything: disrupting Kavanaugh’s hearing, calling Kavanaugh a liar with, at best, cherry-picked evidence, the Bob Woodward fictional account of the White House, the New York Times’ fictional account of the White House (written by the Times but attributed to “anonymous”) wheeling out Barack Obama, falsely accusing Trump of killing thousands in Puerto Rico, etc. The American public just tunes this guff out.

rhetorical effect: undercuts, demonizes, or delegitimizes any criticism of Trump: this is total rhetorical war, scorched earth.


self-destructive anti-Trump rage

rhetorical claim: according to Michael Walsh:

We are witnessing a similar self-destructive rage today: the rage of the American Left against the Trump Administration in general and the president in particular, an explosion of frustrated, impotent (but still dangerous) anger that has given up all pretense of genuine protest—against the results of a duly constituted American election, let us remember—and has devolved instead into a toddler’s extended tantrum. It bears the hallmarks of one of the most unseemly displays in American political history.

It’s being conducted in the halls of Congress, where the Democrats have at last dropped all pretense of civility and shown the voters their true, foam-flecked faces. It’s being waged in the media, where the ladies and gentlemen of the press, such as they are, have thrown over journalistic practices that served the profession well over the past century or so, and now regard malicious gossip and news as one and the same thing.

Most ominously, it is taking place in the streets where, over the past year, Republican congressmen and Trump supporters have been shot, attacked with a switchblade knife, clubbed with a bicycle lock, had their vehicles and offices vandalized and set on fire; even the president’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed.

The masked fascist thugs who ludicrously call themselves “Antifa,” routinely attack public gatherings, and Left wingers sporting “Say No to Hate” t-shirts scream at the sky at the very thought of Trump and his policies. Not since the 1960s have we witnessed such a public breakdown in moral and psychological order.

rhetorical effect: again, infantalizes the Left as socialist and power hungry, rendering any criticism of Trump as misguided at best, and part of a voracious will to impose a socialist state on Americans at worst. Equates political dissidence with mental illness.



rhetorical claim: corruption from the Obama-Clinton era continues to be unearthed, in everything from the Clinton Foundation finances to the corrupt origins of the Mueller probe.

is really about the corruption of purity rather than of law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of traditional order.


toxic feminism

rhetorical claim: The damage that radical feminism has done to our education system is incalculable.  Yet the movement continues to grow exponentially, and gender studies faculties, which promote female empowerment at the expense of what is called “toxic masculinity,” continue to multiply.

Feminism has patently skewed the syllabus in the direction of gender asymmetry.  In the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, women have progressively come to dominate campus life regardless of aptitude and competency.  Hiring protocols are female-friendly, as are faculty postings and grant opportunities.  Qualified male candidates need to make alternative arrangements.  (As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute muses, in the prevailing climate, Einstein might have trouble getting hired for a professorship.)  Male students, already in declining numbers, are under threat of allegations of sexual assault or harassment, ad hoc tribunals, and arbitrary expulsion.  McGill University anthropology professor emeritus Philip Carl Salzman warns parents in a comprehensive essay for Minding the Campus, “Your sons will learn they should ‘step aside’ to give more space and power to females.”

Unfortunately, too many careers have been built on gender studies and feminist theory to allow surrender.  Leftist government bureaucrats, university administrators, “diversity and inclusion” officers, and faculty across the entire academic landscape are dependent on preserving perhaps the greatest scam in the systemic apparatus we call education.  Investing in a false theory or inequitable practice never prevented its adherents, whose reputations and livelihoods are at stake, from surrendering their perquisites.  Rather, educrats and their cohorts will double down and increase their efforts to further their agenda.  They will persist in finding ways to evade the most far-sighted and ethically determined efforts to redress the parietal imbalance by refusing to implement new directives from enlightened government agencies.

rhetorical effect: demonizes feminism as unethical, unequal, and self-serving, deeming it a kind of cabal or conspiracy against merit and equality.


right to work

rhetorical claim: an increase in freedom because workers can no longer be required to pay for union services as a requirement of their employment. This is a union security clause, which Right to Work laws ban. Imagine if Best Buy entered into a contract with Sony whereby the store promised if they sell any other manufacturers’ TVs they will charge them $10 per square foot of floor space. Now imagine the government came in and said, “no, you can’t have deals like this”. This may increase Panasonic’s freedom by not forcing them to pay $10 per square foot, and in a sense it increases Best Buy’s freedom by allowing them to violate the terms of their contract. But this is at the cost of Best Buy and Sony’s ability to contract. In most contexts conservatives would agree that the government’s action decreased, not increased freedom, and in most contexts they would be correct.

rhetorical effect: The “right to work” laws really mean “right to work for less pay.” But these laws are not about liberty. Their real purpose is to tilt the balance of power in favor of employers at the expense of their workers.Some whose ideology tells them that the market system metes out perfect justice see no reason to worry about the weakening of workers and their unions. Let everyone compete in the market. But in order to make an idol of the market system, one has to ignore both common sense and the history of labor in America.

Common sense should tell us that if workers have to deal one-by-one with a giant company, they will be on the short end of a huge imbalance of power between management, which is unified, and the workers, who are each on their own.

In every other contest of power – politics, war, etc. – the side that is unified and a coordinated defeats the side that is fragmented. Why should labor-management relations be any exception?

Also institutionalizes economic inequality, one hallmark of a fascist state. As  Hannah Arendt argued, fascism flourishes when individuals are “atomized” and divided. Hitler denounced labor unions because he feared they might create solidarity among racially and religiously diverse workers. And he shows that the “right to work” movement that today seeks to cripple unions in the United States has its roots in an effort by Southern business elites to divide black and white workers in the 1940s. Many commentators have linked Trump’s victory to the economic dislocation brought by globalization. But by focusing on declining participation in labor unions — which can. From this perspective, labor unions must be crippled because they create class solidarity across racial, ethnic and religious lines, and the resultant economic stress buttresses fascist politics.