Monday, February 3, 2014

'The Democrat Party'

Yesterday, before the Seahawks obliterated the Broncos in what one observer termed "the Ig-No-Bowl" we were discussing politics. Did you hear? Some dude at MSNBC tweeted that, well, here (courtesy of Twitchy):
Seriously? Who Would Think Conservatives Would Have A Problem With This!?*
MSNBC has fired the guy responsible (or, well, the guy who took the fall--we all know it was Maddow, amirite?) and apologized. That's not (especially) interesting--but when the guy who would later unleash "Ignobowl" asked me if I thought that was fair considering the Duck Dynasty guy was not fired--or, well, was fired, un-fired, whatever'd--here's how the conversation broke down.

The Omnivore: "Look, I think it was fine. For one thing, I support the right of a company to fire anyone who says something stupid in public as their 'face' and the right to hire them back if they choose to. Secondly, if the Left is going to claim to be better than the 'right' they need to live up that. 'Where's the outrage??' is a strategically stupid question--but it's a tactically very real one."

He looks at me.

The Omnivore: "Look, if there's one thing we can agree on, it's that no one whines self-righteously like a liberal."

He looooks at me (He's a liberal)

The Omnivore: "See, it's like this--if your entire liberal identity is based on being more evolved than conservatives you have to come down on this shit--even if it's petty or whatever. If MSNBC is going to air Maddow every night they have to fire Bob-the-Twitter-guy. It's like the least they can do. So long as he's not moving a million units a week of duck-calls or whatever. If he can do that, he can tweet Jews into the gas chambers or something and he's still golden."

He looooks at me (He's part Jewish).

"Look, it's like ... do you know how Republicans call the Democrats the 'Democrat' party? Because it's like an insult or something?"

He nods.

"Yeah, it's like, if your claim to moral whatever is that you don't do that then you know ... you better not do it. Not even on Twitter."

He ... nods. Once.

The Democrat Party
What the heck was I talking about there? I'm talking about 'The Democrat Party' epithet. The 'Democrat party' is a deliberate (perhaps, by now, by-habit) misnaming of the Democratic party by Republicans in order to piss of Democrats.
New Yorker commentator Hendrik Hertzberg wrote, "There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. 'Democrat Party' is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but 'Democrat Party' is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams 'rat.'"[4]Political analyst Charlie Cook attributed modern use of the term to force of habit rather than a deliberate epithet by Republicans.[5] Ruth Marcus stated that Republicans likely only continue to employ the term because Democrats dislike it.[6] Marcus stated that disagreements over use of the term are "trivial",[6] and Hertzberg calls use of the term "a minor irritation" and also "the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign."[4]
It removes the 'ic' syllable from the end of the term Democratic, indicating, perhaps, that the Democrats are not really democratic but rather elitist and partisan (and, you know, snooty and whiny too! Because, why not?).
Frank Luntz, the Johnny Appleseed of such linguistic innovations as “death tax” for estate tax and “personal accounts” for Social Security privatization. Luntz, who road-tested the adjectival use of “Democrat” with a focus group in 2001, has concluded that the only people who really dislike it are highly partisan adherents of the—how you say?—Democratic Party. “Those two letters actually do matter,” Luntz said the other day. He added that he recently finished writing a book—it’s entitled “Words That Work”—and has been diligently going through the galley proofs taking out the hundreds of “ic”s that his copy editor, one of those partisan Dems, had stuck in.
So, really, if the GOP (and Romney did this) is gonna throw the elbow in at the highest levels of their group (the RNC voted to refer to the Dems as the 'Democratic Socialist Party') doesn't the Democratic party have to respond by being the "bigger" (maybe, you know, 3% bigger) group here?

I mean, it's not just that they can't come up with something that's as good as 'The Democrat' Party (which is subtle, arguably correct--it is, after all, full of Democrats--and annoying)? It's not that they've tried, is it?
So far finding a suitable naming calling label to counter with has proven challenging to say the least. Here are some of the common contenders:
Party of No
But none of these rubber & glue replies seem destined to rise to National prominence as the derogatory use of that label: Tax and Spend "DemocRAT Party.
Okay, maybe it is that they tried.

The joy of the 'Democrat' party is that (a) it's annoying to Democrats, (b) it's arguably grammatically correct, and (c) it's subtle. Sure, it's a slur--but to the average listener? It drifts right by. That's clever. If the Democrats can be as clever, maybe they ought to hang it up. Right?

The Omnivore Presents: The Republikkkans!
We're driving in the car, and at this time Petyon Manning still thinks he might win a Super Bowl, and I say: "If the Democrats can't come up with something as good or better to call the GOP, they shouldn't get credit for being the 'bigger man' anyway--they're just the less-clever-man for not doin' it back."

I pause. "Maybe they should, like, spell 'Republikan' with a 'k' or something. Say it hard--like 'Ameri-ka.'"

Carlos Danger**, the other guy, goes: "Make it k-k-k."

The Omnivore: "Oooh! It's like a stutter." Tries it out: "Republikkkan. Man, that's totally annoying."

Carlos: [ Considers ] "That's hitting them right where it hurts too."

We both sit there quietly for a moment.

So, Democrat Socialist Party, I give you the "Republikkkans." You just say you stutter sometimes: it's got plausible deniability so long as you spell it correctly in print. It's super-duper annoying (which, you know in your dark little liberal heart is the point). It's got 'subliminal' implications--and, hey, it's callin' them racists.

Just don't tweet it. You'll totally get fired.

NOTE: Turns out Urban Dictionary already thought of it.

* For shame. The Super Bowl ad some conservatives had a problem with was the one where America The Beautiful was sung in languages other than English.
** Not his real name.


  1. What about...

    1. The Right Wing
    2. The Religious Right
    3. The Tea Party
    4. The South

    The first three are sometimes (more-so 1 & 2) used as stand-ins for the GOP, each with a subtext (Right Wing=way out there; Religious Right=overzealous/anti-science; Tea Party=just plain stupid?). "The South" is on its own becoming something of a stand-in for backwards/anti-science/right wing/theocon/etc.

    1. Heh. The idea wasn't to come up with an *accurate* descriptor of the Republicans--it was to come up with something that was as *annoying* to them and as *invisible* to the casual listener as 'The Democrat Party' is to democrats.

      Tea Party guys don't mind being called most of those--but if democrats just, you know, coughed all the time when saying 'Republi-*Cough*-cans' and they all KNEW "He's CALLIN' ME RACIST!" it'd be all 'Mission Accomplished.'

      -The Omnivore