Saturday, September 02, 2006

Some useful definitions

My friend Gershon Shafir passed along to me some definitions from a dictionary of Republican dialect that may offer useful guides to the perplexed. [Update: I have added a few definitions suggested by Mark Kleiman's English-Winglish Dictionary (update) and my own reflections on What US Republicans mean by "reform". --JW]

--Jeff Weintraub
Republican-to-English Dictionary
In case you've been having trouble recently in deciphering speeches and news reports:

alternative energy sources /n./ New locations to drill for gas and oil.
bankruptcy /n./ A means of escaping debt available to corporations but not to poor people.
bipartisan /n./ Favorable to Republicans, but involving a few Democrats. (See also "partisan," "nonpartisan.")
"burning bush" /n./ A Biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States, when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire about non-issues.
Cheney, Dick /n./ The greater of 2 evils.
class warfare /n./ Any attempt to raise the minimum wage.
climate change /n./ Progress toward the blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans.
compassionate conservatism /n./ Poignant concern for the very wealthy.
creation science /n./ Pseudo-science that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental.
DeLay, Tom /n./ Past tense of De Lie.
extraordinary rendition /n./ Outsourcing torture.
faith /n./ The belief that the Beatitudes (statements made by JC) include "Blessed are the rich" and "Blessed are the warmakers."
free markets /n./ Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense.
girly-men /n./ Males who neglect opportunities to grope unwilling women.
God /n./ Senior presidential adviser.
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.
healthy forest /n./ No tree left behind.
honesty /n./ Lies told in simple declarative sentences (e.g., "Freedom is on the march.").
House of Representatives /n./ Exclusive club; entry fee: $1 million to $5 million (See: Senate).
insanity /n./ See: staying the course.
laziness /n./ When the poor are not working.
leisure time /n./ When the wealthy are not working.
liberal(s) /n./ Follower(s) of the Antichrist.
No Child Left Behind /riff./. There are always jobs in the military.
ownership society /n./ 1. A civilization where 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. 2. A political system in which all power is in the hands of the owners.
partisan /adj. / Potentially damaging to Republicans. Ant.: "bipartisan," "nonpartisan" (q.v.)
Patriot Act /n./ 1. Pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first. 2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us.
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).
Senate /n./ Exclusive club; entry fee: $10 million to $30 million.
simplify the tax code /v./ To cut the taxes of Republican donors.
staying the course /interj./slang./ Continuing to perform the same actions and expecting different results (See: insanity).
stuff happens /interj./slang./ I don't have to live in Baghdad.
voter fraud /n./ Sgnificant minority turnout.
woman /n./ 1. Person who can be trusted to raise a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have a child. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place.