For all the talk of Republican missteps and unelectable candidates, Republicans do have something the Democrats don’t have—an incredible spin machine. Sometimes these euphemisms are highly effective, as in the case of “Obamacare”, a rebranding so succinct that even Democrats prefer to use it instead of the lumbering Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “the president’s health care plan”. Other terms are so ambitious they fool only the most ignorant sycophants. Either way, the Frank Luntzes of the world have done much to shape this election season. I decided that in the spirit of (the first) Super Tuesday of 2012 that I would write out a guide to Republican spin this election season.
Guide to Republican Spin in the 2012 Presidential Campaign
Agenda: any conniving plan by any of the opposition, particularly the president; see “socialist agenda”
Anti-American: engaging in any task seen as antithetical to a very specific view of what is typically American, e.g., speaking out against unfettered capitalism, reaching out to other countries using diplomacy instead of bombs, asserting that less money should go to the Defense Department budget, wanting to address inequality by raising tax rates for the wealthiest citizens
Axis of Evil: former Speaker of the House and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama
Bipartisanship: a disgusting, anachronistic term for the bygone days of actually working with Democrats on legislation; see “compromise”
Bleeding Heart Liberal: a name given to any person who believes in compassion for his or her fellow citizens and recognizes that we all live in a society in which cooperation is key; also, someone who doesn’t believe in eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency or doesn’t hunt animals for fun
Border Security: one of the most important things that Republicans talk about, especially at debates in southern states when they are pandering to Sheriff Joe Arpaio types; a byword for keeping the Mexicans and other Latino and Latina undesirables out (even though the border with Canada is much larger and more porous and even though many immigrants initially enter the United States legally on planes and don’t cross the Mexican border)
China: evil, North Korea: eviler, Iran: evilest
Class Warfare: the realistic recognition that not everyone is a millionaire (or a billionaire) in America and not everyone is happy with the lack of social mobility and the growing inequality in America and the dissatisfaction at a dimming American dream; the 99% vs. 1% “Occupy” ethic; an attack on Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ (by way of Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s) assertion that “there are no “haves” or “have nots” in this country; just “haves” and soon to haves” ”; an empty statement thrown around by Republicans when they have no real economic plan
Corporations: see “people” (a la the Federal Election Commission vs. Citizens United Supreme Court decision)
Climate Change: possibly the only accurate euphemism for what was overwhelmingly known as “global warming”, used by Frank Luntz to minimize the fear behind “global warming”; however, warming is not the only climactic effect; usually used in a derogatory sense by Republicans who either refuse to accept the reality of climate change or think it’s not anthropogenic in origin
Death Tax: a particularly morbid and inaccurate way to describe the Estate Tax
Democracy: for the few here in the United States (see “plutocracy”, “oligarchy”, and “crony capitalism”), but forced on those abroad–only those we deem worthy based on strategic interests, however; undercut by the enforcement of voter I.D. laws and redistricting/ “gerrymandering”
Education: the prevailing view is that the Department of Education should be abolished; creationism should be taught and environmentalism definitely shouldn’t be taught, yet every American is supposed to score higher on math and–yes, science, hahaha–than every student in the rest of the world
Energy: “Drill, baby, drill!” The only acceptable form of energy is oil. We must kill all the wildlife in places such as the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. (What is this concept of “conservation”? That’s for “pussies” like Teddy Roosevelt.) Alternative energy and renewable resources are for elitists like Al Gore who are destroying America. And even if the Keystone XL Pipeline is slated to actually kill jobs, who cares? It sounds good. Sometimes, coal and natural gas are touted too if the candidate is campaigning in a state like Pennsylvania or West Virginia or is Rick Santorum.
Entitlement Society: This term applies to anyone who uses any kind of paid government service from social security to unemployment to Medicare to Medicaid to Head Start (and others). But what about taking advantage of tax breaks, you ask? Silly, those don’t count.
Food Stamp President: Newt Gingrich’s pet name for President Obama so given because more Americans have relied on food stamps during the recession, which happened to take place during Barack Obama’s first term; contains racist and classist undertones
Illegal Alien: the name for those pesky immigrants who are taking all of our jobs
Ivory Tower Elites: yet another pejorative for anyone who has gone to college; often used to refer to President Obama by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both of whom are highly educated and the archetype of Washington elites and the former, who was a college professor
Job Creators: anyone wealthy enough to be threatened by the reinstatement of taxes before the Bush tax cuts; wealthy Americans; The logic follows that of former President Ronald Reagan’s theory of “trickle down” economics, which never works; a bullshit title
“Massachusetts Moderate”: Newt Gingrich’s alliterative name for Mitt Romney
Momentum: a make believe concept conjured up by political pundits who attempt to put the science in political science and also to fill in the endless hours spent on back to back coverage with no other real news thrown in
National Security: a concept that has been in existence since before the first city-states but that suddenly became disproportionately important under the Bush administration after September 11th; archetype of the bloated bureaucracy many Republicans love to rail about; a catch all excuse for any action in which ethics might be questioned, e.g., “(Insert issue here) is a matter of national security.”
Obamacare: a favorite term used by the Tea Party to encapsulate all that is wrong with President Obama; a derogatory name for the Health Care Reform Act which was signed into law by President Obama in 2009; synonymous with “government overreach” and “illegal mandates”; has somehow made the idea of providing more affordable health care to U.S. citizens on par with a crime against humanity; deemed a “monstrosity” by any Republican running for office who actually expects to win in the current political climate
Primary-palooza: I made this one up. It’s a term to describe a. the entire day or days leading up to a primary/primaries or a caucus/caucuses b. from about May or June 2011 until November 2012 (is the vast majority of all news shown and the major story talked about on nearly every news source)
“Pro-Life”: synonymous with “anti-abortion”; curious self-identifier for people who believe in the rights of fetuses, but not necessarily in preventative health care for children and adults, believe in the death penalty, believe in killing “our enemies” at any cost, and do not even consider the lives of animals, which may result in them engaging in such wonderful endeavors as shooting endangered wolf species from helicopters
Reagan Democrat: I’m guessing these are disaffected Democratic voters who voted for Ronald Reagan in either 1980 or 1984 or both? Do these people actually exist? Maybe they’re like unicorns. I’m guessing most of these Democrats would vote for Ron Paul, anyway, who really doesn’t claim a strong affiliation with Ronald Reagan at all.
“Real” America/Americans: Sarah Palin’s favorite phrase for far flung, sparsely populated areas of America like Wasilla, Alaska; an assertion that some places, especially such places as New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Vermont, Hawaii, and almost the entire East Coast, are where the fake (?) or lesser Americans live
References to San Francisco and that Gay Coddler “Princess Nancy” Pelosi: When a Republican wants to talk about destructive “liberalism”, he or she invokes the name of that hedonistic hell known as San Francisco. The Congresswoman for San Francisco happens to be Nancy Pelosi (or “Princess Nancy” as Herman Cain so lovingly called her)—double points.
Religious Freedom: a real thing, though, sadly not used properly; now used to prevent health coverage including contraception; often invoked by Santorum and Gingrich, who claim that Catholics have become an oppressed minority in the United States (never mind the tax-free status of the Church and the fact that Romney is the one who actually suffers from religious prejudice)
“Sanctity of Marriage”: no same sex couples because they are a threat to religious convictions/indoctrination about the holiness of matrimony between a man and a woman as their god intended
Self Reflection: I’m just kidding. Most Republicans don’t understand this concept.
Sharia Law: Muslim religious law; Republicans are terrified that these laws will gain traction in the United States and usurp the Constitution
Slut: a woman; one of the names Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke that was not actually repudiated by any Republicans
Socialism: (comes in the varieties of European style, communism, Nazi [which really makes no sense], and Saul Alinksky-esque); a style of governing that recognizes the rights of not only those who own corporations or make millions of dollars off of investments and recognizes the existence of a thing called poverty
Swing State: This is used to refer to a state that does not necessarily vote for either Democrats or Republicans in a predictable pattern, not a red state or blue state, aka a “purple state” such as Ohio; now, seemingly every state
Tyranny: a hyperbolic term used to describe any governmental power whatsoever; no longer applicable if said Republican is in power
Voter I.D. Laws: ostensibly put in place to prevent “voter fraud” except that voter fraud is so incredibly rare that everyone knows this is a smokescreen intended to disenfranchise voters who vote overwhelmingly Democratic such as the disabled, the elderly, Hispanic voters, black voters, and young voters