Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Intransigent

Photo: Lisa Golden (has nothing to do with post)

Last night MathMan and I went to bed with the TV on. Before we turned on the Foyle's War DVD, we'd been watching MSNBC and listening to the day's political spin.

As I listened to the cadence of words, the repetition of phrases, I thought about Sherry's post at A Feather Adrift. She pointed out a couple of new buzz phrases that have become part of the conversational stew surrounding the U.S. budget, the debt ceiling and the deficit.

The American People.

Job creators.

There is no American People the way it's used by politicians. Hell, you can't even get The American People to agree on Coke or Pepsi, but if you ask politicians why they're doing something, they'll you that The American People sent them to Washington to do xyz. What they should say is that they won an election and now they're going to carry out the wishes of their donors while pretending to give two shits about what the people who elected them want them to do.

The phrase job creators is the perfect illustration of this. Republicans are using the phrase to cover the entire spectrum of business and the wealthy. Big business and small. Job Creators is code for People on whom we will not raise taxes.

The people they're referring to don't actually create jobs in any meaningful way. Tax cuts don't create jobs. Demand creates jobs. You can give businesses all the tax breaks in the world, you can hand them massive tax refund checks (which is a transfer of money from the taxpayer to the corporation in case you didn't realize that) and they still aren't going to create jobs if there isn't a critical mass of consumers who want and can buy their services or goods because they have money with which to buy those goods and services.

We've tried this tax cut experiment for over ten years and it's failed. The proof is in the unemployment line.

Source: Think Progress


By the end of the day yesterday, it became clear that another word had burrowed into the DNA of the American political lexicon. I really wish that we had some sort of app that could identify which talking head was the first to use it in the current context. Now that's the kind of app that could entice me to buy a smartphone.

The word?

Intransigent.

There it is all over the television. There the word is, too, on my wall, smack in the middle of the list of adjectives I have taped next to my desk.

Intransigent. Intransigence. The words are being used to describe Republicans who are unwilling to compromise.

In today's political atmosphere, the word compromise no longer carries the air of maturity, but rather it's spat out as it's own euphemism. Only bed-wetting liberal pantywaists compromise. Pussies compromise. Real men, real Americans don't compromise. The American People don't want compromise. They're busy hollering yeehaw while riding their rugged individualist lawnmowers.

I zeroed in on this word and became obsessed with it because unlike Job Creators and The American People, this word is accurate. It's not code. It's reality. Republicans have dug in on the subject of taxes. They'll tell you that they're carrying out the will of The American People who know that the The Job Creators need to pay lower taxes so they can create jobs and that we need to cut government spending and cut taxes because taxes and Big Government are the problem.

Or shorter: We're all Grover Norquist now!!!

See how that works?

I'd been drinking and that brought everything into focus like when you suddenly notice the veins in your hands look like rivers on a map. "When we wake up in the morning and turn on the TV, let's see how long it takes for someone to use the word intransigent on Morning Joe," I said, mashing my pillow into place.

When I'm happily alcohol softened, MathMan justs lets me talk. "Okay," he said. He probably just wanted to get laid.

As I fell asleep, I pontificated on the Balanced Budget Amendment. "That's like if your car breaks down and you quit your job because you can't get there and you can't get there because you won't raise revenue to fix your car."

Then everything went black.

The alarm went off at 6:10a.m. I opened my eyes, assessed my level of hangover. Nothing. Excellent. I reached for the remote, pushed the power button and glanced at the clock next to me. 6:11. MathMan bailed out of the bed and headed to the shower.

"blah, blah, blah, instransigent....." said Pat Buchanan to the roundtable on Morning Joe.

"One minute! It took one minute!" I laughed and threw the covers back. I was free to get on with my day.

What are your favorite political phrases, euphemisms, codes?

17 comments:

  1. Someone out there has to be an antihero chemist able to formulate a nuclear-powered astringent to toss on the political class, shrinking each and every one into a desiccated husk that we can then export as cheap sporting goods to impoverished kids who can't afford adidas.

    Too intransigent?

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  2. I agree with Randal. I'm too scared not to ;-)

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  3. "I really wish that we had some sort of app that could identify which talking head was the first to use it in the current context. Now that's the kind of app that could entice me to buy a smarphone."

    yes, that would be fabulous!

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  4. The American People don't want compromise. They're busy hollering yeehaw while riding their rugged individualist lawnmowers.

    Yep, that describes certain "American People" well -- the kind who would buy a riding lawnmower to cut a front yard the size of a living room. It's too big to work worth a damn, but boy, howdy, listen to that engine!

    For at least the last 25 years, my favorite political buzzword has been "competitive." It's usually used by corporate shills keep looking for new ways to screw workers. Dan Quayle had the "Council on Competitiveness;" Barack Obama has the ex-CEO of GE running his "Competitiveness Council." Yippee.

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  5. It's amazing what The American People will buy if the talking heads say it often enough. Why on EARTH isn't intansigent seen are a stupid quality in a politician. I very badly want multiple parties so they can't pull this shit, but the only time people listen to me is when I tell them to take their clothes off.

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  6. You're asking for words to describe politicos and what they do? Really now.

    Including Repug women, I'd say Congress is filled with laughable losers having half a brain, tiny wee-wees and empty resumes.

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  8. Not my "favorite", but the one I hate, is "Generational theft"... this irresponsible, thoughtless, out of control spending, we are inadvertently stealing from future generations.

    Soooo true, but the jerks spouting this term are actually the ones guilty of the crime.

    You did not hear the phrase "fiscally responsible" flung around much in the Bush 2 era. Then it was more wielding the *approved* stamp for any amount of cash the Decider asked for.

    Lockstep all the way & the not-in-the budget, billions requested for supplemental war monies, was wrapped in the shroud of "support the troops".

    Never mind the best way to support the troops was to get them the hell out of no man's land in wars that never could be won. As seen in the decade later, still not "won", more of a "Quagmire Accomplished" situation.
    And even now, despite the voter's majority who embraced hope & change, are still left wondering when that is going to manifest.

    So now that all that damage is done, the debt is so deep & big, it increases by a whopping $3.85 BILLION per day & has since Sept 2007, these Congressional Ass hats would like us to have a memory lapse, and forget those 8 years when they trashed the economy & the constitution, and now put the blame on Obama. They want us to buy this story of newfound fiscal responsibility, and concern about generational theft.

    My bullshit-o-meter is in the red zone.

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  9. I'd been drinking and that brought everything into focus like when you suddenly notice the veins in your hands look like rivers on a map. God, I would love to drink with you.

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  10. I had heard the "job creators" code word the other night on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart had a nice rant about it.

    The idea that these elected people can't admit they are protecting their own gateway to money by giving the rich what they want.

    And where are these jobs they are creating? I'd like to see all of those that are enjoying their tax breaks point out and prove they are putting people back to work.

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  11. The Republican pledge movement is beyond silly; it could in fact be described as a conspiracy. How can legislators be expected to serve their constituents when they've already agreed they won't vote for this, that or the other thing? I suspect, as with most fraternities, these pledges are designed to keep the plebes in line. I hope America weathers this current storm of high school shenanigans masquerading as governing. I really do.

    If I were to choose a favorite silly pledge it would have to be the Marriage Vow in which candidates agree to oppose same sex marriage, reject Shariah law (competition?), and pledge personal fidelity to their spouse.

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  12. This is an amazing post, best thing I've read in ages. Your comment thread is a great read too.

    "What they should say is that they won an election and now they're going to carry out the wishes of their donors while pretending to give two shits about what the people who elected them want them to do."

    Awesome.

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  13. Oh, Lisa, how I love you.

    Personal peeves, I mean, favorites:
    "Taking the 30,000 foot view"
    "Net net" (one just isn't enough)
    "big government" (that is until you lose your job and can't afford health care...)
    "soft dollars" (have you tried massage?)

    I'll stop, but unfortunately, I could go on...

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  14. One that I haven't heard in a while is "Tax and Spend Democrats". I would much prefer them to those on the other side of the aisle who "Borrow and Spend" which is what got us in the mess we are in now!!!

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  15. "That's like if your car breaks down and you quit your job because you can't get there and you can't get there because you won't raise revenue to fix your car." That is right on the money, sister. Sometimes, when someone says something so simply and so plainly, it's like a smack upside the head.

    Intransigent. Definitely a post-Jr Bush word. Maybe it's not cool to look dumb anymore?

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  16. Quantative Easing I really love that phrase. It always makes me think of what happens after someone takes a large dose of laxative and has an enema ...

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  17. Great post - you summed it all up so perfectly. Loved that car/job analogy.

    I agree, compromise is now a dirty word - and yet the GOP claims they want "bipartisan" agreements. How can they get a bipartisan agreement without being willing to compromise one iota?

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And then you say....

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