Lineage Of A Slur: Do You Belong To The “Democrat” Party?

During the last couple of years, the rightwing has begun calling the “Democratic” party “Democrat” party. They speak of “Democrat” policies, “Democrat” leaders, and so on, knowing full well the proper usage is “Democratic.” Now it would be easier to chalk this up as further evidence of the dumbing down of the Republic… I mean Republican party, but Martin Peretz tells a different tale.

Mike Crowley’s September 8 posting on The Plank calls attention to the Republican habit of calling the Democratic Party the “Democrat Party” … or warning about a “Democrat Congress” or, even worse yet, a “Democrat president.” But this tick was a custom that went into disuse for nearly 50 years. It’s origins, however, are interesting and were toxic. It was Senator Joe McCarthy who, with his twisted mouth often oozing the charming brew of beer and saliva, would snarl out the words “Democrat Party,” as if they referred to vermin. Perhaps it is an indication of Republican panic that they have descended to using McCarthy’s cheap tactics to discredit the opposition. And have I not heard Bill O’Reilly doing exactly the same thing?

I have to pick on the leftwing today, too. As many of you know I spend a little time over at Democratic Underground, usually defending Democrats, Democratic policy, and Democratic history against the fringe lefties who think they’re Democrats. I would do the same on Free Republic but I keep getting banned before I add any meaningful rebuttal. They just call me a socialist anyway, which is an interesting companion label to the one I typically have pinned to me at Democratic Underground – Republican! (Sigh)… Such is the life of a centrist.

This particular entry to my real conversations semi-regular feature involves one “prooogresssive” who has a personal vendetta against the DLC for not supporting Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic Presidential primaries. She regularly engages in what I call “political dumpster diving,” meaning she searches the bowels of the internet looking for things she believes are “bad” about the DLC. The case in question involves a 12 year old article from a rightwing writer who reported members of the DLC took Bill Clinton to task for the healthcare initiative that many believe led to the Democrats’ loss of the House in 1994. The piece firmly establishes that the DLC was not a fan of the healthcare plan. So here is how my conversation with her went:

Me: So Russ Feingold lied? Your article states: “DLC leaders flatly rejected the government-run plan crafted by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying it was an old liberal proposal that could not pass.” Yet Russ Feingold stated last month: “It was the DLC that came up with the health care plan with the Clintons that was so complicated nobody could understand it.”

(you see the contradiction there, right?)

Prooogrresssive: I doubt he lied….DLC does disinfo very very very well. They use threats… Listen to Feingold’s speech again about they instilled fear in Democrats who oppose the war.

Me: So the DLC tricked Feingold into saying that? Mind control? Which is the disinformation? What Feingold said or what the article said? Fiengold said something that wasn’t true. Something he should have known wasn’t true because he was there at the time. Meets my definition of a lie – or else he didn’t know what he was talking about which is common among “progressives” when referring to the DLC. As Josh Marshall said at TPM (paraphrased): People on the left get all their information from the DLC from other people on the left.

(after this, silence…)

Pssst! Don’t look now, but Reagan Democrat James Webb now leads Republican George Allen by 7 points in the Virginia Senate race…


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