I was browsing through some of my old articles. I wrote this one back in either 2003 or 2004, before the Bush Kerry Election. OEN didn't date articles then. They were hand created and FTPed up to the site. The article does seem as relevant today as it did eight or nine years ago. And it's fun that I was playing with 95% as a part of a meme. i was off by 4%.
The original article, posted before OEN moved to a PHP MYSQL content management system, is still posted here.
For nostalgia's sake, here's the header the site had at the time.
by Rob Kall
(in the spirit of right wing political pundit William Safire, who's also a word pundit, this is the fourth op-ed in a series on words and language.)
SFgate.com columnist Jon Carroll says, "The cacophonous right wants to use buzzwords and flash phrases to obscure the nature of the debate. It wants us to be ashamed of the word "liberal." Not me, baby."
While we're working on taking back America, and putting the Bush administration into the unemployed filthy rich category, we need to take back the language, and the word liberal. And while we're at it, we can take over some words that will nail the right wingers' hides to the dung heap wall where they belong (or post office wanted posters.).
The far right republicans have put together a batch of buzzwords to dismiss derisively dismiss democrats and left-leaning progressives. These include, to be followed by a hallelujah or Hozannah:
big government, Tax and spend
They use these terms over and over. Google finds 23,000 pages with Tax and Spend and 125,000 for Big government.
There are other terms, by the most reptilian of the far right, like Anne Coulter, Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, but they're not worth bothering with. Consider them fodder for future punditry.
Let's start with "big government." The truth is, George Bush-- take your pick, either the semen supplier or the spawn (Daddy or Junior W.,) made government bigger, sloppier, less accountable, more secretive, more corrupted by big business.
But the trick in these political mantras is to keep them short, especially if you're trying to grab people who do not intend to be fooled by Bush in the next election. So we can't say "humungous, corrupt, sloppy, less accountable, more secretive government." That's too long. We need to shorten it, and we don't necessarily want to just react to their language. That's a fair criticism they often levy against us, that we just complain about them. Let's allow the ideas to percolate while we look at the next phrase.
Tax and Spend is a term the right wing uses to disparage "liberals" who put money into social programs, and who attempt to equalize the tax and income playing fields. The truth here has been made crystal clear-- the far right-- they used to call them royalty, the moneyed class, the aristocracy, and now we call this greedy group of fat-cats the top 5% or 1% of the income bracket-- wants to live off the rest of the people. They want to get disgustingly high salaries and they don't want to pay any taxes. They want to be unrestrained in their efforts to make money, regardless of what it costs environmentally, socially, diplomatically, even in terms of lives lost to war, pollution, accidents caused by poor product design or low, un-regulated industry standards.
Ironically, this joke, this fraud, that democrats or liberals spend more, has also been laid bare. Here's what one right wing, townhall.com (a right wing web site forum) regular Jonah Goldberg says,
"In general, Bush has been spending money like a man with a week to live. The GOP-led Congress deserves some blame, too. But even when they overspend above his overspending, Bush refuses to use his veto power."
So, let's review.
For government, we have : "humungous, corrupt, sloppy, less accountable, more secretive