Zero tolerance for “Democrat Party”
Poor George W. Bush misspoke during his State of the Union speech, somehow managing to mispronounce the “Democratic Party” as the “Democrat Party.” Although those awful liberal bloggers immediately jumped to the conclusion this was a calculated insult, The Great Decider himself has now assured us nothing could be further from the truth.
(Washington Post) Bush Says Missing ‘-ic’ Was an Oversight
President Bush says the missing “-ic” in the State of the Union address was nothing more than an oversight.
Near the beginning of the speech last week, Bush congratulated “the Democrat majority” for its electoral victory, using a long-standing Republican formulation seen by many Democrats as a calculated insult. Some liberal bloggers and party strategists saw the president’s omission of the last two letters of the party’s proper name, Democratic, as a sign of insincerity in preaching bipartisanship.
Nothing of the sort, Bush said in an interview yesterday with National Public Radio’s Juan Williams.
“That was an oversight,” said Bush, who frequently uses the formulation. “I mean, I’m not trying to needle. Look, I went into the hall saying we can work together, and I was very sincere about it. I didn’t even know I did it.”
It’s a funny thing about oversights though — especially the insulting ones — how often the very same people keep making the same ones over and over again. In this instance, for example, I was about 7.2 seconds into a Google search on the topic when I came upon this New Yorker ”The Talk of the Town” comment, from July/August of last year, by Hendrik Hertzberg:
Last week, the gnat was buzzing at a high altitude. An e-mail from none other than “President George W. Bush,” arriving last Monday morning in millions of in-boxes, hinted strongly at where the Commander-in-Chief stands on the name issue. To wit:
The Democrat Party has a clear record when it comes to taxes.
Nothing threatens our hard-won reforms and economic prosperity more than a Democrat victory this November.
The difference is clear: if you want the government in your pocket, vote Democrat.
It’s a great piece, as Hertzberg’s stuff usually is: It even includes a nice history of how this deliberately insulting mangling of the Democratic Party’s name came into common usage among Republicans. (Hint: It has a lot to do with Joe McCarthy.)
Here’s how Herzberg ends the comment:
In days gone by, the anti-“ic” tic tended to be reined in at the Presidential level. Ronald Reagan never used it in polite company, and George Bush père was too well brought up to use the truncated version of the out party’s name more than sparingly. Not so Bush fils—and not just in e-mails sent to the Party faithful, which he obviously never reads, let alone writes. “It’s time for the leadership in the Democrat Party to start laying out ideas,” he said a few weeks ago, using his own personal mouth. “The Democrat Party showed its true colors during the tax debate,” he said a few months before that. “Nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for actually getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program,” he said a week before that. What he meant is anybody’s guess, but his bad manners were impossible to miss. Hard as it is to believe from this distance in time, George W. Bush came to office promising to “change the tone.” That he has certainly done. But, as with so much else, it hasn’t worked out quite the way he promised.
So it would seem that Bush’s use of Democrat Party has been a tad more chronic than the small “oversight” he claimed. But then, the fact that George W. Bush is both a habitual and a graceless liar is neither a new discovery, nor the point of this post.
No, my point is this: It’s time for Democrats to draw a line in the sand over this misuse of the party name. I was born in 1955 and became interested in politics in 1968; that’s almost 40 years ago. And during that entire time I’ve been forced to watch Republicans (and increasingly members of the media) use this insult, while, more often than not, Democratic officeholders have simply ignored it.
And to be honest, I’m sick of it. So, yes, of course, we have got bigger fish to fry. But if Democrats aren’t willing to standup for themselves in the face of this sort of childish attack, how can anyone expect them to standup for anything else?
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February 1st, 2007 at 2:35 am
Bush is a petty, little tyrant. You cannot expect anything graceful from this man.
February 1st, 2007 at 8:32 am
Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com has had some interesting comments on this in the last few days.
Calling people names that they do not wish to be called is a way of maintaining dominance. Bush’s habit of assigning nicknames to people falls in the same category.
I had an experience as a child of being called Fat Legs “Jones.” I only had to call the other kid Potbelly “Poliniski” once to have it stop. It worked particularly well because I didn’t have fat legs and she did have a potbelly. (The alliteration helped too.)
I wonder what would happen if a few people would start talking about members of the Republic Party licking the boots of their corporate masters. I think it just might make the Republicans decide they don’t want to play the name-calling game anymore.
February 3rd, 2007 at 9:52 am
The only problem bodo is that “Republic Party” sounds nicer and more noble than “Republican Party”. It’s an unfortunate, but small, advantage that Repugs have at the mudslinging level of the game that so many unpopular terms end in “crat”, like “autocrat” and “bureaucrat”. It’s a cheap, tacky little subliminal trick that they love to exploit. I agree that it ought to be turned around on them, but we have to think up a rejoinder that is the equal of “democrat party” which, I have to admit is a good one. It’s insulting, but it’s close enough to the actual thing that they can get away with it. Actually, for starters, it might be a good idea to just shine a bright light on their childishness and call them out every time they do it. (Then, maybe we ought to start calling them the “Authoritarian Party” or maybe the “Decider Party”.)
February 3rd, 2007 at 5:38 pm
I saw on Dailykos or AmericaBLOG RepubliCON party. It sounds so similar to Republican but you can clearly hear the difference. If they want to play with fire, let them.
February 7th, 2007 at 6:25 pm
I work for lawyers (sorry, Steve). Last week, one of them dictated a letter and referred to a “Democrat” judge. Well, I typed in “Democratic” and put a sticky on the letter informing him that “Democratic” is an adjective and “Democrat” is a noun. And then I finalized the letter (letterhead, envelopes, enclosures, etc.) and took it to him (daring him to change it). A little later, he brought the letter to me and I told him that if he changed “Democratic” to “Democrat,” he could get someone else to change and send out the letter. Although he tried to argue with me, the letter went out with “Democratic.” A small victory, but I felt better for it.