For People Who Think

February 9, 2012

The Language of Politics…by Dan Lynch

Filed under: Uncategorized — 4peoplewhothink @ 3:13 pm

Every business has its own language, its own jargon, much of it so arcane and obscure that outsiders have no clue as to what the hell these people are talking about. Football has its “red zone” and TV has its “B-roll” and the military – well, there have to be many military people who have no idea what any of his or her comrades are talking about.

Education language consists of any number of alphabet-soup jargon words and phrases. So does government bureaucracy. Police work has its own language. And computer people? Maybe Martians could understand them, but most Earth people are perpetually mystified.

After watching most of the 427 debates political debates held so far in this Republican presidential primary contest, I’ve come to realize that if you’re going to run for President as a member of the GOP you have to speak the language of Republicanism. By that, I mean that you’re obligated to repeat certain words and phrases over and over again, and you need to repeat them in certain precise ways.

For example:

You must invoke the name of Ronald Reagan repeatedly, preferably in reference to either your close personal relationship with him or your fervent adherence to his political beliefs. You always have to refer to him as “Reagan,” “Ronald Reagan” or “President Reagan.” You must never, however, use the term “President Obama.”

In all references to the current President, you must use “Barack Obama,” “Obama” or “the President we now have.” You also can call him “the guy in the White House now.” The words “beat Obama,” positioned together in that order, are a required usage. The phrase “debate Obama” wins you points. The term “President Obama,” however, is a definite no-no.

The phrase “cut taxes” has to be used repeatedly, along with the seemingly contradictory phrase “balanced budget,” in the same sentence. It also helps if you can include in that sentence the phrases “class warfare,” “spending cuts” and “smaller government.” You can substitute the phrase “limited government” for “smaller government,” but only if you also in that sentence include the word “Constitution.”

You get extra points for working in “framers” or “founding fathers.” You get a gold star if you also can squeeze in the word “liberty.” You lose points if you utter the phrase “general welfare.” (Those are the words that appear in the U. S. Constitution before the word “liberty.”)

In using the word “government,” it’s always wise to include any of the phrases, “get out of the way” or “can’t create jobs” or “created this mess.” Try also to work in the word “regulation” and/or the word “oppressive” in the same sentence. Extra points are awarded by the use of the phrase “let capitalism work” or “free markets.”

You can use the phrase “politics of envy,” but the word “liberal” can never be used in any reference to a politician of either party. In its place, you must use the words “European-style socialist.” (It’s unclear whether the word “Communist” is yet acceptable, but it probably will be in 2016.)

You may, however, employ the use of the word “liberal” in reference to any news outlet except Fox News – as in “liberal media.” You get extra points for squeezing in the word “elite” somewhere near “media.” You get extra points for use of the phrase “out of touch with the American people.”

Other words and phrases deemed mandatory in Republican debates are “conservative principles,” “faith,” “family,” “state level” or “back to the states” and “Obamacare.” “Obamacare,” in fact, must be uttered repeatedly, preferably while the candidate’s face contorts into a sneer or takes on the sort of expression he or she might get just after licking a piece of public plumbing.

You cannot say “black people,” even if everybody knows that’s precisely who you’re talking about. You can say “poor.” You can say “urban.” You can use the word “welfare” and/or throw around the phrase “food stamps.” You can make reference to “the underclass.”

You would be extremely unwise to use “those people” or “them.” You should never say, “And you know who I’m talking about, right?” Well, actually, there are places where you probably can say that, but not with a network TV camera pointed at you – or, these days, in any room where somebody might have a cell phone video camera. Do not use the word “moo-ca-ca” in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you employ the phrase “constitutional amendment” it must be used in conjunction with the word “abortion” or the phrase “balanced budget.” If you employ the term “tea party” it must be uttered in a tone of hushed reverence. If you say, “occupy Wall Street,” you must spit immediately afterwards. The word “extremist” has to be used only in conjunction with the phrase “left-wing.” The word “moderate” has to be delivered in a cold tone of contempt.

So, enjoy the debates. They’re not only democracy in action, they’re the best show on TV these days.

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