Democrats often use ordinary words in not so ordinary ways to signal their approval and disapproval of people and things. When used by Democrats, these words can serve two purposes: (1) signals to their political supporters; and (2) “loaded dice” that seek to frame issues in ways favorable to them and unfavorable to anyone who disagrees with them.
To identify Dem-Speak, you have to look for patterns over time, and focus on how recurring words and phrases are used by Democrats and their supporters in the media.
What follows are some illustrative examples of Dem-Speak.
Common sense / Extreme. Ideas, policies, or proposals advanced by a Democrat are “common sense.” Ideas, policies, or proposals Democrats disagree with or disapprove of are “extreme.” Ideas, policies, or proposals advanced by Republicans or conservatives are never “common sense,” and usually are labeled “extreme.”
Comprehensive. Most policies and proposals must be “comprehensive.” The policy or proposal must include a broad range of Democrat goals and objectives — even if those goals and objectives have no real connection to the particular issue or problem that is supposed to be addressed. “Comprehensive” is a favorite word for Democrats who want to “fundamentally transform” American institutions and society under cover of supposedly addressing a specific issue or problem.
Controversial. Any action, proposal, or person opposed by Democrats. Used to label actions, proposals, or persons that Democrats disagree with or disapprove of, without any specific argument to explain why the alleged “controversial” nature has any bearing on the merits.
Courageous. Democrats call upon Republicans or conservatives to show “courage” by forsaking their principles, breaking ranks with their party or allies, and siding with the Democrats on a particular issue. Democrats do not say a Democrat should show the “courage” to criticize a fellow Democrat or a Democrat policy or proposal, or vote for a Republican or conservative proposal. And, any Republican or conservative called “courageous” by Democrats will have that label quickly disappear and soon be forgotten by Democrats moving on to the next political battle.
Distraction. Anything that is awkward, embarrassing, or problematic for Democrats to acknowledge or discuss — especially if it is seen as threatening a Democrat politician, policy, or position. “Distraction” is often used when Democrats or their supporters in the media see that a Democrat scandal, an incompetent Democrat, or a failing Democrat policy is getting serious public attention that threatens to derail or sidetrack a Democrat “narrative.”
Divisive / polarizing. Any issue or proposal that threatens to divide Democrats, highlights contradictions in Democratic Party policies or appears likely to undercut support for Democrat policies and positions.
Fully fund. Democrats occasionally say that things they support should be “fully funded” — without giving any explanation about what specific amount of funding is practical, prudent, or likely to be effective. A nice sounding phrase that avoids any meaningful discussion about actual funding, and sidesteps consideration of whether past funding has been effective. Democrats are not likely to use the phrase “fully funded” for matters favored by Republicans and conservatives.
Historic / Unprecedented. Any new or first-time event or occasion approved of by the Democrats is labeled “historic.” Any new or first-time event or occasion disapproved of by the Democrats is labeled “unprecedented.”
Move on. If a “divisive” issue or a “distraction” persists and threatens a Democrat agenda, Democrat initiative, or a Democrat politician, then Democrats and their political supporters in the media solemnly call for people to change the subject, to “move on.” The call to “move on” is never used to change the subject if a Republican or conservative is involved in an embarrassing or troubling situation.
Old news. When a Democrat’s misconduct or blunder can’t be simply ignored or downplayed, and a simple call to “move on” is not a plausible ploy, damage control is tried by calling it “old news.” The rubric “old news” is not used with regard to misconduct or blunder by a Republican or conservative, even if it is dated and previously reported.
Partisan. A label given to ideas or proposals Democrats disagree with or oppose. Ideas or proposals Democrats agree with or support are never labeled “partisan.” Republicans voting along party lines is always labeled “partisan.” Democrats voting along party lines is never labeled “partisan.”
Scandal. Wrongdoing by a Republican or a conservative. Not used to describe wrongdoing by a Democrat. Indeed, some pro-Democrat media supporters occasionally have even labeled a Democrat as a Republican when the wrongdoing was so blatant or obvious that it would be embarrassing to not call it a scandal.
Emilio Jaksetic, a retired lawyer, is a Republican in Fairfax County.