Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fiction and the "Democrat Party"

Ruth Marcus provides an excellent look into the vitriol hidden just beneath the surface of George W. Bush’s recent feints toward rapprochement with Democrats. Every time he says "Democrat Party," you see, he's really saying "all those sonsofbitches over there."

Most telling is the fact that his use of the term "Democrat party" was used quite often by Joseph McCarthy.
DemocratParty was used, pardon the phrase, liberally by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy. According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, " Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth-century Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence" by McCarthy, "who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic."
That the term is so commonly used today just goes to show the extreme nature of today's Republican party, which thinks nothing of taking a page from McCarthy's playbook.

The question is: Should we care what we're called?

Honestly, the phrase just makes people sound foolish. As Paul Brians wrote in Common Errors in English Usage:
Certain Republican members of Congress have played the childish game in recent years of referring to the opposition as the "Democrat party," hoping to imply that Democrats are not truly democratic. They succeed only in making themselves sound ignorant, and so will you, if you imitate them.
A quick test of this theory can be performed with a quick glance at a Google Book search. Yes, you'll find the typical, elected fanatics, but the funniest and most telling examples of what sort of people buy into this sort of groupthink can be found in "conservative fiction."

Here's an excerpt from Tender Leaves of Hope, by Ronald R. Rowan. Them emphases are all Ronald's.
I actually believed that the Democrat Party was the "Pary of the People." What a truly ignorant, pathetically naive joke that was. Well, at least now I can boast that I have not voted for a Democrat since Ronaldus Magnus came onto the national scene.
Rowan explains his feelings in an author's note at the end:
Government is about power, pure and simple, not about people.

None of this is to be found any longer in today's Democrat Party. I say Democrat, and not Democratic because there is nothing democratic about today's Democrat Party leaders, hence the party itself. In fact, the opposite is true. They are the Party of big government, and always have been. And now as the Party of deceit, distortion and demagoguery, they seek to silence political discourse and the exchange of disparate ideas in the public fora with the help of it water carriers in the liberal/leftist media.
All I can say is that finally--finally!--there's some literature that Jonah Goldberg--who thinks that Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, historian Arthur Schlesinger and fresh air are all "overrated"--can understand and enjoy.

For mystery fans, we find Randolph Robert Harrison, whose novel Counterfeit Governor tells the story of "greed, intimidation, sexual deviancy, organized crime, gambling, murder and a healthy dose of unchecked political power" among characters with names like BoBo Camberezi and Bijou Birdsong. I won't bore you with a snippet, but when a "novelist" puts the sentence "As far as the Illinois Democrat Party goes you already know the Mayor controls it and what he wants, he gets" in the mouth of a Democrat, you know the guy's got some full-on Republican crazy rolling around in his head.

And even in translating fictional terrorists Republican novelists can't bring themselves to use the -ic. Consider James Mintz's Peccant Luther, which tries to tell the tale of al Qaeda operatives working in the U.S. In one scene, he has several terrorists discussing the American political scene (and even names one Kofi and another Annan, yuk, yuk, yuk). Note how he can't even let his terrorists disagree with Republicans.
"Even their own political 'conservatives,' whose ideas are the only ones in my opinion to make any sense, from their point of view, are shouted down as bigots and haters."

"They are a strange and convoluted bunch, we all agree," said Annan Ali Akabur... "Why is all of this important?"

"Why is this important?" Sadum repeated. "Why? It is important because it has enabled their Democrat Party, the party in power for the past six years, to take money away form the very organizations that could do us most harm. Intelligence. Immigration. Military."

"Why would they do that?" Annan asked.

"I'll tell you why. The Democrat Party is decadent and corrupt. The democrat-leaning media attacks their country's primary security organizations in movies and the like, which turn the public against those organizations. Then men like Clinton read the polls. Politicians like him take notice in order to stay in office, and while in office they cut funds for any organization under attack by their pop culture. It is a great circle. This enables the Democrat party to buy votes by giving away money."

"Give it away? To whom?" asked Kofi...

"Why, for example, to American whores in the form of handouts. No matter that a large percentage of these women spend the money on drugs, sex, and Satanic music."
Welfare whores? Cutting military funding? Clinton? Color me confused, but this seems more like a meeting between Pat Roberts and Grover Norquist than al Qaeda chit-chat.

Finally for those of you who might have been (foolishly) concerned about Fox News' plan to create a right wing "Daily Show," fear no more. David L. Hale gives us a glimpse into what conservative satire looks like in his novel about alien liberals from outer space called--I shit you not--The Liberal Masters.
"OOO! HOO! HOO! cried the female voice at center table. "My momma said I should never hang around with hoods and now look at me!"

"Shut up, you dumb broad," said the compassionate Leader. "Now you went and done it!"

"OOH! HOO! HOO!" repeated the distraught indvidual, clasping her hanky.

The Leader raised his gun. He cocked. He aimed. "This is for calling me a hood," he accused. He didn't fire. "Shucks," he said, shaking his head and lowering the rod. "I don't shoot women. That would be sexist. O.k., call me a softy...Anyway, enough interruptions! Can I get back to my talk now?" said the talker, all business-like. "The Democrat party is the home of liberalism in America today. The Republican Party, conversely, is the home of conservatism. We will join and donate money to the Democrat Party. They are our friends. They share our beliefs."

There was some concern (but not a lot) that the Leader might be growing insane...However, the camp did occasionally come up with some sensible the Tyrant/Liberals joining forces with the Democrats. That way, you would be combining the natural socialistic tendencies of the American left with the vast insanity reserves of the interstellar Tyrants. Out of this natural blend, you could create something called a "super-liberal", against which the forces of reason and common sense would be completely impervious..."
Hale's book has gotten some rave reviews over at Amazon. I'm sure Hale's readers are also huge Tek Jansen fans.

To me, these crappy books prove that so-called "movement conservatism" has reached its nadir. You can only oversimplify and obfuscate so much. Eventually, anyone with half a brain realizes they need someone who can think running their government. That calling Democrats the "Democrat Party" is what passes for commentary on the right shows that they've simply run out of things to talk about and the American public gets it. As ThinkProgress pointed out yesterday, the name Rush Limbaugh is less popular than the phrases liberal and progressive, even in districts held by conservatives.

Call me whatever you want, right wing commentators. What you say is becoming less and less relevant every day.

Update: Apparently, Bill Clinton summed this up quite nicely in discussing the recent elections (link via Digby).
"America rejected shorthand. People are thinking again."


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