Almost a year ago, NationBooks published The Dictionary of Republicanisms, a book that set out to deconstruct Republicans’ Orwellian attempts to manipulate the language for their political purposes. It contained hundreds of definitions submitted by readers of the nation.com, like death tax, faith-based, and leave no child behind.
But what difference does a year make?
We’ve seen George W. Bush’s poll numbers plummet as the disasters continue to unfold in New Orleans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We’ve seen the Abramoff corruption scandal engulf House Republicans, leading to early retirements for Duke Cunningham, Robert Ney, and Tom DeLay. We’ve seen a parade of books detailing the staggering incompetence of Republican policies–many of them written by Republicans! And yet, they are still at it.
As Hendrik Hertzberg recently pointed out, George W. Bush continues to insult the Democratic Party by calling it the “Democrat” Party, something Joe McCarthy liked to do. Ken Mehlman just went on Meet the Press to tell us the new Republican political slogan for the war in Iraq is no longer “stay the course” but rather “adapting to win.” He still wants to categorize the Democratic position as “cut and run.” It must have tested well. Perhaps Republican pollster Frank Luntz will tell us in his soon-to-be published book, Words That Work. I’m still waiting for an explanation of “Islamofascism.”
Clearly the fight over language continues. Here at the Nation we are working on an update to The Dictionary of Republicanisms. And we are accepting submissions. Click here if you want to send us one. If we receive enough, we will publish them in an expanded edition of the book–or a long article.
To help get you started here are some new terms that need definitions:
Adapting to win
The al Qaeda candidate
Birth pangs of a new Middle East