Originally posted at my blog spin.off , while working on the book.
Sometime a good project deserves some praise & PR from the like-minded. I just got very inspired after reading Katrina vanden Heuvel’s
blog in the Nation
Before we can win the great battle of ideas, we must debunk the right’s political discourse, a veritable code of encrypted language that twists common usage to deceive the public for the Republicans’ purposes. The key to their linguistic strategy is to use words that sound moderate to us but mean something completely different to them.
We decided we needed to break the code by building a Republican dictionary. For six months, thenation.com accepted suggestions from everyone who wanted to participate. Here are some of my favorites.
I hope they inspire you to action, to take back this great nation from those who are doing it such harm.
abstinence-only sex education n. Ignorance-only sex education [Wayne Martorelli, Lawrenceville, NJ].
alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil [Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colo.].
bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations [Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.].
“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 [Bill Moyers, New York, NY].
Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils [Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.].
China n. See Wal-Mart [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].
class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage [Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.].
climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].
compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy [Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.].
creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush’s resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental [Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].
DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie [Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.]. 2. Patronage saint [Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].
democracy n. A product so extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted [Michael Schwartz, unknown].
dittohead n. An Oxy(contin)moron [Zydeco Boudreaux, Gretna, La.].
energy independence n. The caribou witness relocation program [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].
extraordinary rendition n. Outsourcing torture [Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].
faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].
Fox News fict. Faux news [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].
free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense [Sean O’Brian, Chicago, Ill.].
girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately [Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].
God n. Senior presidential adviser [Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].
growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].
habeas corpus n. Archaic. (Lat.) Legal term no longer in use (See Patriot Act) [Josh Wanstreet, Nutter Fort, WV].
healthy forest n. No tree left behind [Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].
homelandism n. A neologism for love of the Homeland Security State, as in “My Homeland, ’tis of thee, sweet security state of liberty…” [Tom Engelhardt, New York, NY].
honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences–e.g., “Freedom is on the march” [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].
House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million (See Senate) [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].
laziness n. When the poor are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].
leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].
liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist [Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].
Miller, Zell n. The man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton after a particularly tough interview on Hardball [Drew Dillion, Arlington, Va.].
neoconservatives n. Nerds with Napoleonic complexes [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].
9/11 n. Tragedy used to justify any administrative policy, especially if unrelated (See Deficit, Iraq War) [Dan Mason, Durham, NH].
No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]. 2. n. The rapture [Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.].
ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth [Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].
Patriot Act n. 1. The 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 [Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].
pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth [Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].
Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].
simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].
staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result [Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].
stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian [Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].
voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout [Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].
Wal-Mart n. The nation-state, future tense [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].
water n. Arsenic storage device [Joy Losee, Gainesville, Ga.].
woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can’t be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have thechild. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding herreproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn’t want to have sex in the first place [Denise Clay, Philadelphia, Pa.].
The results have been compiled in a new book, Dictionary of Republicanisms (Nation Books).