Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, October 14-18, 2016.

certain areas: urban areas that need “monitoring” on election day because  voter fraud is likely.


dependence: the liberal/Dem plan to keep minorities beholden to them. By using redistributionist economic policies, the Dems create generation after generation of minority poverty and suffering. This exploitation of minorities is actually only a small part of the overall Dem strategy of using government to erode private markets and private social institutions. The Tea Party/GOP antidote of course is independence.

free speech: what pc culture most hates and tries to suppress. As Donald Trump said,

The establishment and their media neighbors wield control over this nation through means that are very well known, Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, rapist, xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family. They will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie and then again they will do worse than that.

Yet Trump viciously attempts to shut down all of his critics and accusers and his defenders act is if Trump is the rape victim. As Vox puts it,

Trump isn’t actually a supporter of free speech. He’s simply used to his power speaking for him. When it doesn’t speak on its own, he marshals it into service using the law — or at least the threat of the law. There was always, after all, something inherently weird about a man who requires non-disclosure agreements from every single campaign volunteer crusading as a defender of open and honest discourse.

freedom: what Obamacare takes away from the American public. Hillary would extend this even further by removing any choice of physician, treatment plan, provider or costs.

Under the GOP plan, the only real freedom would be for private insurers to charge whatever they want and to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc.

gentry progressives: the well-healed liberal uberclass that cares more about the Democrats’ electoral fortunes than about the minorities that they claim to champion.

grace and forgiveness: the bedrock of the faith of evangelical Christians that obliges them to continue to support Donald Trump, who is just being “merely boorish,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is what Michael Gerson calls “theological cover for cruelty and political cynicism.”

lock her up: what ought to happen to Hillary, who of course is guilty of endangering national security and covering up her crime.

A new era in America: the criminalization of political opposition. As Michael Gerson argues,

In recent days, Trump has sneered at the looks of a woman who accuses him of sexual assault, denigrated the appearance of Hillary Clinton, proposed to drug-test his opponent, used his campaign to promote what appears to be a Russian covert operation, asserted that Clinton has held secret meetings with international bankers “to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty,” attacked “Saturday Night Live,” promised to jail his opponent and contended that the “whole election is being rigged.”

Which means that Trump is sickeningly cruel, boorish, bonkers, subversive, conspiratorial, obsessive, authoritarian and reckless with the reputation of American democracy.

locker room talk: boys will be boys, engaging in harmless, if distasteful, bragging.

A locker room is apparently a safe space where men can say in private what it is unacceptable to say in public.

our government: the Constitution-following kind of limited federal government that the Tea Party stands for and sustains an fettered market economy.

It follows, then, that a Hillary administration will be called “their government.” Or perhaps Trumpinistas will echo his representation of it as the government of a worldwide cabal of shadowy bankers, globalists, and socialists–part of the Clintons’ “sinister deal” to surrender US sovereignty. This delegitimization of a Clinton administration will totally destabilize the American political system.

polarized politics: the divisiveness caused by the Dem strategy of pitting women against men, minorities against whites, etc.

The strategy here is to not only blame the inception of divisiveness on the Dems (even though the GOP turned against Obama on the second day of his presidency), but to argue that every attack on Trump is “polarizing,” and will undercut any attempts at unity under a Hillary presidency. In their logic, the only cure for the disease they started is for them to get their way. Opposition to the Tea Party is thus pathologized as media bias, election rigging, criminal, or subversive, all in the name of a supposed but non-existent reality.

rape culture: another Dem myth, like climate change, microaggressions, and institutional racism. To the liberals, all whites are racists and all men are rapists. Thus pc culture is always looking to blame and shame and stifle free speech. (see above)

robust: The only way to save health care in America is through robust private insurance markets and competition.

Robust in this case means unregulated and predatory.

scandal-industrial complex: the lamestream media propaganda machine cranking out false and vicious stories about Donald Trump’s supposed sexual misconduct, with no supporting evidence. Trump is the main victim of this conspiracy.

Never mind that most of the coverage hurting Trump is simply playing back his own remarks, or responses to his behavior or remarks. This is yet another circular, irrefutable claim since any opposition to Trump must be part of this conspiratorial “complex.”  As The Washington Post argues, this self-fulfilling prophecy implicates  all Trumpkins, leaving them no rhetorical way out except a revolutionary overthrow of the media and any Dem government:

Mr. Trump’s words seek to make accomplices of his listeners. Anyone who challenges the cabal “is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed,” he told the West Palm Beach audience. “They will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and your family, they will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation.” As if the assembled Trumpkins were just as guilty as he of all those alleged sins.

vote-rigging: the Clinton last-ditch strategy to salvage an election they would otherwise lose. Anyone who makes this charge is automatically labeled a racist.

Actually, this is a case of enabling the unthinkable to seem inevitable.



Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, October 5-9, 2016

broad-shouldered: Donald Trump’s “muscular” foreign policy.

Other pertinent adjectives: ruthless, brutal, nationalistic, militaristic

genius: anyone who evades federal income taxes.

If Trump is such a genius, why doesn’t he release all of his tax returns? Why did he conceal his “genius” moves until he was forced to defend them?  Also, what kind of a “genius” loses a billion dollars a year owning casinos?

government: an antidemocratic institution.

This anti-government rhetoric is part of the stupendous national disillusionment that the  Tea Party/GOP represents.

immigration: genocide against the white race.

melting pot:  America is a melting pot, not a salad bowl. Anyone wanting citizenship should assimilate, not elbow their way to the front or think they deserve special treatment. They should get in line and enter the country legally., and not play the “identity” politics game. If they want to be an American they should act and sound like one, and have an American name, not some politicized hyphenated or phony-accented name.

This version of what it means to be an American is a nostalgic , moralistic utopianism. Its greatest delusion is that it is objective and non-ideological. It is the hypocritical universalism that is the luxury of the dominant.

narrow party interests: no longer national interests at least when it comes  to the Dems, who will say and do anything to retain the White House, regardless of how much they harm the country with debacles such as Obamacare, the Iran deal, the Russian “reset”, etc.

Obamacare: the rich subsidizing health care for the poor. Part of the Obama-Clinton master plan for hollowing out the middle class and pandering to the poor in exchange for their votes.

objective morality:  killed off by the liberal notion of moral relativism.

In defense of the indefensible Trumpian license for sexual assault, the standard line of defense goes something like this:

The creep of moral relativism in America has been steady for many decades, increasing in speed to the point that the “slouching toward Gomorrah” has become a sprint. The notion that there is objective truth or absolute morality has been universally panned to the point that everything is tolerated except standards of right and wrong. “Everyone decides for himself what is right, especially when it comes to sex” is the mantra of today’s culture.

For years, Christians in particular have been attacked and silenced as they’ve tried to challenge the immorality that is pervasive in today’s society. When they tell people casual sex is wrong, they get the inevitable, “You have no right to tell me what I can or can’t do.” If they oppose sexual immorality in any form, including adultery, they’re maligned as sanctimonious puritans by lovers of libertinism.

How ironic, then, that a culture which rejects moral standards has suddenly become so pure and pristine, sitting in judgment of someone they deem too immoral to become president because of something he said in private. As a logical person, I have to ask these paragons of newly found virtue where this standard by which they’ve judged Trump is found.

A logical person might conclude that bragging about sexual assault falls within the confines of disqualifying a Presidential candidate on moral grounds, unless the Dems believe that all behavior is permissible. Undaunted, though, in full-on rant mode, these vestiges of the worst strains of censorious American puritanism  conclude:

The fact of the matter is that Judeo-Christian ethics have been driven from our culture and declared a dinosaur from an ancient past. Right and wrong, virtue, morality, goodness—these have been rejected in pop culture, our education system, the media, and politics. We have been told repeatedly that character doesn’t matter because everyone’s values are different. All that matters is an ideological agenda and the power that goes with it.

race, class, and gender: the three Dem pander cards, played whenever they get cornered.

realpolitik: hands-on, muscular  (see “broad-shouldered, above) foreign policy, as opposed to what Charles Krauthammer calls Obama/Clinton’s “pristine and preening disengagement”.

sexual equality: Trump’s “boys will be boys” defense.

It’s OK for Trump to be  a sexual deviant because Bill Clinton is one too.

transnationalism: the Obama-Clinton foreign policy default position that cedes US foreign policy to law professors and global organizations such as the UN and the EU.  The end of American exceptionalism because no nation is allowed to impose its will on others.

truth-telling: Donald Trump is not the average lying politician –he tells it like it is, regardless of what is politically correct.

Of course, truth-telling is not the same thing as telling the truth; it’s more akin to Stephen Colbert’s notion of “truthiness.” By denying that he’s a politician, Trump is using the rhetoric of anti-rhetoric: he’s denying the very thing he has always been.

Freedom From or Freedom To?: Politiscripting Obama’s Second Term

President Obama used his second inaugural address to establish some throughlines for his entire second term. The emerging keywords/contrasts in the speech were

journey/fixed set of rights



collective action/individual freedom

reasoned debate/name-calling

As James Fallows argues on The Atlantic website:

The rhetorical and argumentative purpose of the speech as a whole was to connect what Obama considers the right next steps for America — doing more things “together,” making sure that everyone has an equal chance, tying each generation’s interests to its predecessors’ and its successors’ — with the precepts and ideals of the founders, rather than having them be seen as excesses of the modern welfare state.

As in the one-sentence summary at the start of the speech, Obama wants to claim not just Lincoln but also Jefferson, Madison, Adams, George Washington, and the rest as guiding spirits for his kind of progressivism. In this passage he works toward that end by numbering among “our forebears” — those honored ancestors who fought to perfect our concepts of liberty and of union — the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martin Luther King and other veterans of Selma including still-living Rep. John Lewis, and the protestors 44 years ago at the Stonewall.

Right on cue (and speaking of “name-calling”), the Republican commentariat has likewise wasted no time laying out their own rhetorical maps. Snides and sneers prevail, calling Obama a “dogged collectivist” (Jennifer Rubin); an elitist who wants us all to bow to his “superior moral purposes” (the Wall Street Journal editorial page); “alienating”, “sour”, “paranoid”, “self-pitying” and “strange”  (Peggy Noonan);  “untrustworthy” (Ramesh Ponnuru); and, of course, a pusher of “big government” (Fred Barnes).  These commentators take strongest exceptions to Obama’s “progressive myth” (aka, “the journey”), which runs counter to their bedrock belief that “the primary task of government is the protection of a fixed set of rights from ever-changing threats” (Ponnuru),  They seem to be in great fear of what Gerald Seib calls Obama’s “pent-up agenda,” his “misplaced” emphasis to “roll over his foes”, or, as Erick Erickson puts it, Obama’s inclination to make people “the subjects of government, not citizens in charge of it”. They see Obama as one super-demonic “threat”.

At the heart of the fray is Obama’s contention in his speech that “individual freedom requires collective action”. This runs entirely counter to, say, the Journal’s claim of Obama’s vision of an “activist, expansive government”, with “activism” being at least as much of a pejorative as “community organizer” was in Obama’s first campaign. Denying collectivism and almost any moral dimension to government, the Republican right offers nothing new, but only their unwavering counter-agenda:

Probably more than any other party in the world, the Republicans have in recent decades stood unflinchingly for the cause of liberty abroad, and, at home, with a bit more uncertainty, for limited, constitutional government and for the principle that government exists to serve free men and free markets, not the reverse. (William Kristol)

Government vs. markets is one succinct distillation of the principles underlying the endless and debilitating gridlock and rancor to come. They essentialize government as something alien and other, as a hydra-headed entity that has a mysterious life of its own. They do not see it as shared sacrifice and purpose, as an expression of collective will. Obama’s head may explode as he tries to figure out how the vision of a collective city on a hill, whose whole exceeds the sum of its parts, has been reduced to markets, being left alone, and thinly-veiled Social Darwinism; how the “freedom to” create something new in the world has degenerated into “freedom from” any binding and ennobling social obligation.

Republicans have a thousand ways to describe encroachments on their freedom, but seem to have run out of words to describe what they want to do with that freedom. They are “absolute” in their irrational hatred of government. They are not willing, to use Obama’s own words, “take the risks that make this country great”. They reject his paradoxical, “united we stand” dictum that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action”.