Saturday, November 05, 2011

Republican-to-English glossary, revisited

Back in 2006 I posted some definitions from a dictionary of Republican dialect passed along to me by my friend Gershon Shafir. I added a few definitions suggested by Mark Kleiman's English-Winglish Dictionary (update) and my own reflections on What US Republicans mean by "reform".

A few items in that compilation (mostly having to do with the foreign policy of the Bush II administration) are a bit less relevant now than they were in 2006, and some new words and phrases ought to be added (e.g., "job creators" = "millionaires who should not pay their fair share of taxes"). But I think that 2006 glossary of right-wing sloganeering remains useful as a guide to the perplexed.

And a few items, in particular, strike me as especially timely right now. See below.

—Jeff Weintraub

bipartisan /n./ Favorable to Republicans, but involving a few Democrats. (See also "partisan," "nonpartisan.")

class warfare /n./ Any attempt to raise the minimum wage [update: or any failure to politely ignore the undeniable reality of increasing concentration of wealth and income in the top 1%].

compassionate conservatism /n./ Poignant concern for the very wealthy [update: except that nowadays most Republican presidential candidates don't even pretend to be "compassionate," but instead compete to show who is most callous, hard-hearted, mean-spirited, and xenophobic].

growth /n./ 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when policy is made according to Definition #1.

partisan /adj. / Potentially damaging to Republicans. Ant.: "bipartisan," "nonpartisan" (q.v.)

pro-life /adj./ Valuing human life up until birth.

reform/v./ 1. To sabotage, undermine, eviscerate, and/or dismantle (e.g., "Social Security reform" or "reform" of environmental regulation). 2. More generally, to take a problem (either genuine or fabricated in whole or part) and use it as an excuse to enact policies that don't really help solve the problem, or that even make it worse, but that do advance other agendas that are less explicitly acknowledged (e.g., "Medicare reform," "tort law reform," "tax reform," "reform" of energy policy).

simplify the tax code /v./ To cut the taxes of Republican donors [update see here].

voter fraud /n./ Significant minority turnout [update: for some very useful elaboration, see "The GOP War on Voting"].