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Friday, October 3, 2008

Field Guide to Republican Tics

Not to worry, I'm not going to burden you with a complete or even partial Field Guide to Republican Tics here. But I thought I would shine a light on a few of them - and from time to time add more - and perhaps, someday, I'll put all of these together in a proper published Field Guide.

Just to be clear, these are not just points of disagreement I have with Republicans. Rather, they are errors of fact, or syntax, which I and no doubt you have been hearing for years.

Let's start, in this post, with three of them:

1. Any governmental involvement in the economy, health care system, what have you, is "socialist". Republicans have been saying this recently about Obama's health care plan, for example, and some Republicans indicated the bailout plan, just passed today, is "socialism".

And that's just wrong, and therefore a tic, because:

Socialism is the doing away of private enterprise, and the taking of all it over, by government.

Pumping money into the economy, offering universal health care paid for by government to all who want it, is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is an attempt to help private enterprise (in the case of the bailout), or provide an alternative to private enterprise (in the case of health care). Thus, these positions seek to help, and work with, not abolish, private enterprise. They are examples not of socialism, but of Keynesian economics. (Much the same incorrect claims of socialism were made about FDR, by the way.)

2. We live in a republic, not a democracy. Republicans like to say this, I guess, because they think it favorably contrasts their party with the Democratic Party.

But it's plain and simply wrong, and therefore a tic, because:

A republic is a form of democracy - a republic is a kind of representative democracy. That's what my Funk and Wagnalls' Dictionary right here on my desk says, and what any good dictionary should tell you.

3. And saving the cherished chestnut for last: Republicans like to talk about the "Democrat" Party. I guess this is because Republicans don't like identification of the Democrats as democratic, even though that spelling would be Democratic.

But that's ungrammatical, and therefore a tic, because:

Using a noun (Democrat) as a adjective (Democrat Party) is incorrect usage - look in any grammar book.


So, that's a start. There are dozens of others, and I'll try post them here from time to time. I may even include a Democratic tic or two, if I can find any...

Added 17 October 2008
: See also New Republican Tic: "Spreading the Wealth"

Added 4 February 2009: Even before Barack Obama assumed office, Republicans were already pounding out a revisionist history of the New Deal - that FDR's policies prolonged the Great Depression. In reality, as these Gross Domestic Product and other statistics in Charles McMillion's informative The "FDR Failed" Myth show, FDR's policies had returned the economy by 1936 to its position in 1929, before the crash. Look for Republicans to keep beating the drum on this one, in a desperate rear-guard action along the lines of freedom is slavery, and peace is war in George Orwell's 1984.


Anonymous said...

And what makes the Democrats tic, Paul? Besides Sarah Palin.

Paul Levinson said...

Rather than guessing what you're getting at, care to elaborate, anon?

Anonymous said...

I would say Sarah Palin drives the Dems pretty crazy, so the comment in itself was more of a one-liner.

Paul Levinson said...

Ah - well, my impression is that Palin drives most of the country crazy, and not in a good way.

Jimmy said...

Paul: what a refreshing, clever idea. unspinning the spin, separating fact from fiction/folklore. an antidote to the political rhetoric that is gridlocking serious consumption of thought & ideas. let's elevate the conversation. I salute your effort.

I love the 1st one -- affixing the "socialist" label to so-called undemocratic ideas. The McCainiacs keep harping on Obama's health care plan as government run and linking it to a socialist agenda. It is simply not true. but the McCain campaign keeps soldiering on with its "don't confuse us with the facts" propaganda wars.

how about something on the culture wars. Repubs Lee Atwater and more recently Karl Rove are the master architects of this type of slime politics. the latest one just appeared close to my neck of the woods. flyers are now appearing in black neighborhoods in Pennsylvania (especially in Philadelphia) warning voters with an outstanding traffic fine that they will be apprehended at the polls. this is a classic fear strategy to suppress voter turnout in primarily Democratic precincts.

Anonymous said...

She may drive you crazy, sir but certainly and obviously not the whole country. That is an unfair and far-left statement.

Paul Levinson said...

Get a sense of humor, anon - Palin doesn't drive me crazy at all, I find her amusing in fact ...

As far as the rest of the country, look at the polls. Palin's not exactly getting huge majorities of people who find her fit for office, is she ... And that statement is neither unfair nor far-left (whatever exactly that means to you) ... it's true.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing democratic about the Democrat primaries.

Paul Levinson said...

What world do you come from, anon?

If even one vote in one precinct was correctly counted, there was not "nothing" democratic about the Democratic primaries.

And, in fact, the Democratic primaries were probably the most democratic in history, given the huge turnout.

But you prefer to twitch with your tics and your ungrammatical language. Have fun - you'll have a lot more to twitch about a few days into this November.

bfadds said...

I'm with you Dr. Lev... I think the "Winner Take All" approach that the GOP uses for it's primaries are a bit more faulty that the Dem primaries.

Paul Levinson said...

Good point, Brian.

Anonymous said...

The author's note about grammar

Using a noun (Democrat) as a adjective (Democrat Party) is incorrect usage

is not correct (e.g., dog house, chicken coop, etc). Although, his conclusion about "Democrat/Democratic Party" is mostly correct.