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Will the left declare a fatwa on the Boston Globe?

One of the silliest political arguments I've heard in a long, long time has to be the fuss whenever someone refers to "the Democrat party." I have no idea what the origin or intent of the usage is, but it's usually guaranteed to get certain people bent out of shape -- far, far more out of shape than I can think is justified. I've been tempted to do it myself on occasion, just for the sheer amusement of provoking a response, but I've never dared. Since I don't know just why it's such an insult, I could end up putting my foot far further in my mouth than I intended -- and I've been through that before.

Personally, I've tended to refer to groups by the terms they tend to use for themselves. It's not only a courtesy, but it avoids precisely these types of silly arguments that get in the way of a real debate. Hence when it comes to discussing abortion (which I usually don't), I let each group choose its own name: pro-choice and pro-life. Neither side gets to determine the name for the other, so I don't refer to the "anti-choice" and "pro-abortion" sides.

(A brief aside: I once heard a talk show host explain why he never discusses abortion. His point was simple: pretty much everyone already has an opinion, almost no one is going to let themselves be persuaded to the other side, and there hasn't been anything new said on the issue in about 30 years. I found that quite compelling, and have largely adopted it to my own blogging.)

Well, the "Democrat" gauntlet has been thrown down again, and this time the assault has come from an unexpected corner -- the Boston Globe.

Red-on-red carnage is such a wonderful thing, especially when it's the Blues doing it to each other...

And if anyone can, calmly and rationally, explain just how the omission of the "-ic" suffix is such a vile insult, and not just a silly little affectation that reflects a certain laziness on the utterer and a hypersensitivity on the listener, I'd be grateful.

But not too grateful. Like I said, it seems one of the dumbest arguments I've ever heard -- and that says a LOT.


Comments (45)

As an evangelical Christian... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

As an evangelical Christian, I get called everything except a kitchen sink. I no longer get offended by such things (like "Christanist"), because all it does is tell me about the one who said it. Those who are offended by such names allow others to control their level of happiness. If such "slights" were ignored more often we would have much more peace among people.

"the fuss whenever someone ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"the fuss whenever someone refers to "the Democrat party." I have no idea what the origin or intent of the usage is_jt"

I think Newt popularized the term during the Nicaruaguan Contra debates and those after-session speeches (closing orders, or something, they were called).

I don't have any particular... (Below threshold)
Retread:

I don't have any particular insight but have noticed people taking umbrage if you include the -ic and others taking equal umbrage if you don't. It seems a recent thing so I've blown it off as coming from the perpetually offended among us.

In the case of those insisting on the -ic suffix, could it be that they see the Democratic Party as equating to the (note the small d) democratic system of government? Implying somehow that Republicans (or republicans) are just slightly second rate in comparison.

It seems a fuss signifying nothing, but so do alot of the things people complain about these days.

I just personally don't car... (Below threshold)

I just personally don't care for euphemisms and sadly "democratic" has been a euphemism with regard to the leaders of the democrat party. I'd be o.k. with calling them the "formerly Democratic Party", though.

Silly? Maybe. Accurate? Quite.

You asked:<blockquote... (Below threshold)

You asked:

And if anyone can, calmly and rationally, explain just how the omission of the "-ic" suffix is such a vile insult,

OK.

The term objected to is "Democrat Party" not the use of the word "Democrat". You will not find an occurrance of the term "Democrat party" in that Globe story, or any other.

There are plenty enough valid objections to the Boston Globe's news coverage and editorials (See my blog). No reason to waste complaint on a misunderstanding.

"And if anyone can, calmly ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"And if anyone can, calmly and rationally, explain just how the omission of the "-ic" suffix is such a vile insult, and not just a silly little affectation that reflects a certain laziness on the utterer and a hypersensitivity on the listener, I'd be grateful."

See my first comment. Mr. Newt's "bomb-throwing" led to a Republican majority and a Speakership for himself. Any coincidence of methods and means to results is duly noted by both sides. In red ink, to resemble blood.

I have had a couple of read... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I have had a couple of readers tell me they were English grammar experts and that I was ignorant for using Democrat as an adjective and that it just wasn't done because Democrat is a noun, not an adjective. I asked them then what about "art class" or "history teacher" or "Florida politician" or a dozen other examples that don't add an "ic" or anything else to the end of a noun when using it as an adjective, but then had to cut it short because my daughter had a "balletic lesson" (ballet for the rest of us) to get to. And yes, I did just end a sentence in a preposition. Get over it.

Oddly (or not) there is a c... (Below threshold)
marc:

Oddly (or not) there is a correlation between some of those that take offense at the use of "the Democrat party" are also among the most prolific users of Rethuglican and Repukelican.

True enough, Marc. And they... (Below threshold)

True enough, Marc. And they usually consider "Democrat Party" more offensive than "Rethuglican" or "Repukelican."

And thanks for the history lesson, BryanD. But i still don't grasp what is so infuriating about it. Why don't you folks just ignore it or dismiss it as signs of ignorance? Why get so cranked?

J.

It's just a method of shapi... (Below threshold)
Bugz:

It's just a method of shaping the argument. If you allow them to rock you back on your heels when they screech about how offended they are about it, they have already scored points against you.

Screw that! Get over it, dipshit!

For some reason, a while ba... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

For some reason, a while back, I had thought that the change was offical. That is, I thought the party itself had changed its name (I assumed it was a trademark issue, that "democratic" was a common descriptor, and thus couldn't be used as a trademark.) I got teased for using "Democrat Party" in conversation with a liberal friend of mine, so I looked it up and found out that I was wrong.

Personally, I have no problem with "Democratic Party". It's the official name, and the one that should be used in serious discussion.

I remember first hearing th... (Below threshold)
Strick:

I remember first hearing this in the 70s. The people using it then objected to the bad grammar -- after all it's the name of the party, not a description. Why is a member of the Republican Party a Republican, but Hillary isn't a Democratic? Are all those people voting to run from Iraq in Congress the Democratics?

Of course the Party wants to be called "Democratic", as if the alternative party wasn't. A conceit from when the party of identity politics pretended to be the "party of the people".

Democrat contenders uni... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Democrat contenders unite against Bush
All denounce Iraq war in 1st national debate

This was just the abbreviated sub-heading, chosen by the sub-editor; likewise, he or she dropped the in front of Iraq and i after Iraq and used the short form of first. Anyway, what did you think off the so-called debate? It sounds as if the Democratic contenders were running for Mr. or Ms. Congeality?

It may seem a small matter ... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

It may seem a small matter to some, but Republic(an)s (almost all) who persistently use the noun-as-adjective "Democrat" might just as well wear T-shirts emblazoned with "Any and All Bipartisanship Sucks."

The current usage was cooked up in the early '90's by Gingrich and Frank Luntz, the Republic(an) pollster who has made a small fortune from designing language usage for manipulation before focus groups. For example, Luntz was the one who discovewred the far broader appeal of "death tax" as opposed to "estate tax."

In the past, the noun-as-adjective has been used by Dole and others as a means of hurling an insult. In the last 15 years, this usage has become a near absolute form of insult used constantly by nearly all Republic(an)s, and very deliberately so.

The usage is meant to be inflammatory, just as is the case w/ deliberate caucasian usage of the "n" word as an invective for blacks.

Anyone pretending to be puzzled or mystified by Democrats who take offense with this deliberate ungrammatical usage are just being disingenuous.

And take note, Jay Tea: offense is taken because it is clear evidence that bi-partisanship is totally unintended from the start. Republicans who consistently use this form of address or reference to the Democratic Party are making clear that they want political war from the outset.

That was apparent from the resulting uproar over Bush's 2007 SOTU speech, when Bush used the noun-as-adjective reference to Democrats as he specifically called for "bipartisanship spirit" in working w/ the new "Democrat" majority.

JayTea, (I'm a Republican, ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

JayTea, (I'm a Republican, but anyhoo...)the Democrats don't like the term because Newt used it to emphasize that the Democratic Party is not democratic in its parliamentary methods (no [email protected], Sherlock!, and that's why Newt resorted to Closing Orders), or in it's ultimate goals.

As in: the Party not working for democratic objectives, but for "democrat" objectives (which, whatever those objectives are, are not democratic. I know, I know. It's basically to piss the Other Guy off.

Democrat Party, Democrat Pa... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party.

Sorry Jay, it adds nothing to the discussion, but just had to be done. It's Friday, and we all should have some fun.

The suffix "ic" is used in ... (Below threshold)
ptg:

The suffix "ic" is used in many cases to mean "like". One may be an artist or artistic. An artistic person is "like an artist", but perhaps not one.

The Democratic Party is like a Democrat party, but not really one. Confused yet?

BTW, Lorie's comment above ... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

BTW, Lorie's comment above is merely a pathet attempt to obfuscate an issue in a rather simplist manner.

Given her clear partisanshipic in most of her posts, I am sure she knows darn well that reference to the "Democrat Party" or "Democrat Senator" etc. is meant to be an epithetic.

Lorie: And yes, I did ju... (Below threshold)

Lorie: And yes, I did just end a sentence in a preposition. Get over it.

And you just started one with a conjunction. And I don't mind.

Strick: Of course the Party wants to be called "Democratic", as if the alternative party wasn't. A conceit from when the party of identity politics pretended to be the "party of the people".

You nailed it. But more than that: pure democracy is actually a despicable institution in which the rights of minorities can be voted away by any majority-of-the-moment -- and deserves to be made the butt of jokes and ridicule at the very least.

Wieder, to get you into your hilarious huffing, puffing and self-righteously indignant pompousness about anyone who might not worship at the shrine of "bipartisanship" is precisely the purpose of tweaking your over-sensitive nose. Poking fun at you and any other self-important self-appointed authority who bristles at the slightest possibility that he's being insulted can be LOTS OF FUN.

Besides, some of us know damn well, even if you don't, that some of our battles really do come down to good vs. evil -- and that in ANY compromise, in such cases, only evil can benefit.

Well, I don't intend it as ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Well, I don't intend it as an insult- I just prefer accurate speech. If they wish to be called democratic then they should start behaving democratically.

this whole issue is a pathe... (Below threshold)
MikeBC:

this whole issue is a pathet waste of time

Hmm, the members of the Dem... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Hmm, the members of the Democrat Party (yeah, screw all of you guys who want to whine) refer to themselves as Democrats.

Bush said he'd work with the Democrat majority.

Yeah, I see why people would whine like three year olds.
-=Mike

wieder, could you be any mo... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

wieder, could you be any more of a smug little whiner? Somehow, I think yes. Comparing the use of "democrat" to the use of "nigger"?!?! Dude, seriously, get your head out of your ass.

My registered democratic ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

My registered democratic days are numbered and I do call them The democrat party of perpetual fraud because that is what they are. I mean it as blatant insult and it was their Un-American Un-democratic behavior that woke me from my political slumber. Thanks idiots, seriously. If the Republicans where behaving the same way I'd F-bomb them just the same.

Before everyone starts sayi... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Before everyone starts saying it's all Newt's fault...

"Hoover used the phrase campaigning against Roosevelt in 1932"

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001565.html

And maybe all you Democrat Party whiners should talk to some of your own, who call themselves the same, before bitching:

http://www.wvdemocrats.com/message.php
http://www.lipolitics.com/nassau-democrat.htm
http://home.att.net/~oswegocodems/index3.htm
http://ucdp.bizhosting.com/

Quick off-topic sentiment:<... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Quick off-topic sentiment:
From bryanD, our resident 9/11 kooky conspiracy theorist (i.e. moron):

JayTea, (I'm a Republican, but anyhoo

What?? I thought I had heard it all, until this from Rob in LA:

My registered democratic days are numbered

You can't be serious!

Now back to our current object of humor: Wieder! I hope I meet you at a party someday, I bet your loads of fun to hang with!

This whole meaningless discussion reminds me of the leaders of my fraternity correcting me for saying "frat." Who cares and what is the big deal anyway?

It's not an insult. The dem... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

It's not an insult. The dems like "Democratic" because it associates with the notion of "democratic process".

Democrat doens't have the same connotation.

Of course , we are a Constitutional Republic running a democratic representation system. It does seem to me that the dems like to forget the republic part, as they tend not to care about federalism issues (as a party - there are many individuals within that do). And of course, the Republicans have recently forgotten that we are supposed to a Republic also.

Washington's power lies in subverting federalism. Only the out of power party gives the notion credence.

D-Hoggs, UCDP describes peo... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

D-Hoggs, UCDP describes people in it's name, so "Democrat" is the proper form. It's a blood thing.
PS: You do realize you linked to Northern IRELAND???

Jay Teat:Maybe it ... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Jay Teat:

Maybe it has to do with the fact the either the speaker/writer doesn't have the respect for you to learn your correct name, or that they have learned your correct name and don't have enough respect for you to actually use it.

I don't get bent out of sha... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I don't get bent out of shape about it at all (I'm not a democrat, so...), but it does reveal something about the speaker. The name itself goes all the way back to the 18th century and the Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson and Madison. When someone refers to it as the Democrat Party he show either his ignorance or his childishness. In the case of Rob, who claims to be a member of a party the name of which he can't even get right, it just makes him sound stupid. Of course he admits here that he means it as an insult, which reveals his childishness. A twofer!

In any case it's nothing to get worked up about, but like with people who use terms like Rethuglican, Repukelican, Dhimmicrat, Democrap, etc., it just shows that the speaker is not at all interested in honest political discourse, and can be safely ignored (and will get good ratings on talk radio).

bryanD, yeah that one wasn'... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

bryanD, yeah that one wasn't supposed to be in there. Now, care to comment on the others or were you just going to ignore those? Or are they part of the grand 9/11 conspiracy somehow. Man I can't stop laughing about that!

As a Democrat I don't get b... (Below threshold)

As a Democrat I don't get bent out of shape when Righty bloggers use the term "Democrat Party". I expect that kind of pettiness on the internets. It does bother me when an elected official uses the term, however. A Senator/Congressman/Governor/etc. represents everyone in his/her district/state and should not be so petty about describing the political party of a large number of his/her constituents.

Kevin Drum does a good job describing the etymology of the term "Democrat Party".

Mantis, if you run for offi... (Below threshold)

Mantis, if you run for office I'll work for you.

Somehow I think you're too smart to do that.

And weider, I'll bet you were the kid who got wedgies on the school bus. Grow some skin, man.

As a graphic designer who w... (Below threshold)
russell:

As a graphic designer who works a lot with the Democratic Party, almost every piece I've done, especially in Chicago, ends with the exhortation to "Vote Democrat." That's the way we do it in the Chi-town. "Vote Democratic" sounds redundant to us, voting is democratic.

So sue us you idiots. Tell all of us in Chicago about the Democrat Party. We, like, have so little experience.

By the way, Jacksonian Democrats are absolutely seething with anger at our surrender-monkey "leadership."

Mantis, if you run for o... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis, if you run for office I'll work for you.

Can insects hold office in the U.S.? I know exterminators can.

I've never considered the possibility of running for office, and even if I did, I would have to start my own party, as none currently exists for me. The closest one I can think of is Bill Hicks' "People Who Hate People Party," and that doesn't exist.

"Now, care to comment on th... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Now, care to comment on the others or were you just going to ignore those?-D-hoggs"

Who knows. I was just giving my opinion of when the deliberate use of "Democrat Party" became WIDESPREAD. The Newt wing of backbenchers popularized it during their Closing Orders guerilla campaign against the House (Democratic- controlled, of course) status quo regarding disallowing debate on certain issues (not acting democratically, hence "Democrat", not "Democratic".

Maybe being accused of breaking the Boland Amendment ticked Newt off, or maybe that was a counterpunch. It all revolved around funding for the Nicaraguan Contras. That's my recollection.

And who cares what a New York organization calls itself. When they can pronounce "radiator" and "coin", let me know. As for WV: well known contrarians who probably adopted the term as bait. Or in this computer age: a typo with a life of its own.

"well known contrarians who... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

"well known contrarians who probably adopted the term as bait"

So it IS a conspiracy!! Classic.

"It all revolved around fun... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

"It all revolved around funding for the Nicaraguan Contras. That's my recollection."

It's also your recollection that the government blew up the twin towers, sooo, I'd say you aren't exactly trustworthy. Definitely laugh worthy, but no, not trust worthy.

D-Hoggs! Aren't you the dum... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

D-Hoggs! Aren't you the dumbass that linked to Ian Paisley's UCDP site and still thought you were on-topic? Or even still in the U S of A? You know, the ultra-right protestant IRISH site? No, you didn't. And that's sad. :o(

See that would be a relevan... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

See that would be a relevant comment if I actually BELIEVED that that site was an American Democrat Party site, but I don't beleive that, I stated earlier that it was a mistake, and there were three other relevant, on topic, links in that same post that you conveniently ignore. You on the other hand actually BELIEVE that the government blew up the twin towers. Nice try bryan. You're pathetic. WATCH OUT BEHIND YOU!!! The black helicopters are coming to take you away bryan!! HAH! Idiot.

The implication of "democra... (Below threshold)

The implication of "democrat" party is that it is a name and not a description. To be "democratic" is to not be socialist.....which the democrats are in thought, word and deed. the 'ol perfessor

"Anyone pretending to be... (Below threshold)

"Anyone pretending to be puzzled or mystified by Democrats who take offense with this deliberate ungrammatical usage are just being disingenuous."

Wow. Just wow. Then to compare it to the use of the "n" word was just plain disingenuous. Man - talk about sensitive.....

Odd too, is that so many here, while arguing on behalf of either Democrats or Republicans (Big R? Little D? Who knows? Who cares?) will quickly deny being a member of either party. In a way, that exposes a tiny bit of silver lining in the cloud.

Me? My registration card says affiliation: none. I won't claim a party as my own anymore that I can claim a religion. I disagree with enough in all of them to be strictly an independent individual.

"See that would be a releva... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"See that would be a relevant comment if I actually BELIEVED that that site was an American Democrat Party site, but I don't beleive that, I stated earlier that it was a mistake,-d-hoggs"

You don't believe it because I told what to believe. *ooooweeeeooooo* See how I accomplish my will?

Now: I want to you to go the 3rd floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas. There's a break room there. Purchase a Coke and wait. The chief of the Dallas P.D. will meet you there and give you a big suprise. Big, big.

bryan, if you told me what ... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

bryan, if you told me what to believe, I would be a fucking idiot that believed 9/11 was an inside job and that dylan avery is the smartest 18 year old alive.

No offense Jay but this is ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

No offense Jay but this is the stupidest post and the stupidest thread I've ever read on any of the internets. Ever.

Who gives a rat's ass?

Can I get 5 minutes of my life back... please?




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