Republicans are masters at branding issues with labels, de-personalizing them, repeating them over and over and thus changing the paradigm that they exist within. Years ago, they turned the word “liberal” into a four letter word. They rebranded it and made it stick, liberals fled from the word and embraced “progressive” as the new label. Well, the right are working hard at rebranding that word too…see Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh for examples. I’ve been asked by friends and colleagues why I named this blog Extreme Liberal’s Blog. The reason is that I am proud to be liberal. I’ve never run from the word, I’ve embraced it even tighter.
The media follows right along with the right’s well-coordinated, lock-step messaging for a couple of reasons. The first is…it’s just easier that way. When Republicans trot out the new “phrase of the day”, by the afternoon, the anchors and columnists are already repeating their message, nearly word for word. Shit, the Republicans write their damn scripts for them. The second reason is that the owners and bosses of all the talking heads on our TV’s and writers from the Newspapers and websites, well, they are the richest of the rich in this country and clearly benefit from Republican policies. That isn’t news to anyone, is it?
The latest word that Republicans are attempting to redefine is “spending”. Notice how they say it in almost every sentence, with disdain, and hardly ever talk about specifics. The goal clearly is not to be specific, but rather to create a boogeyman called (dramatic music) “SPENDING!” You may have noticed over the last few weeks that whenever a Republican was asked about details of spending cuts, they immediately went into the standard talking point about how the American people voted them in last November to cut spending. They use a doomsday tone, demonizing that big bad “spending” monster that is eating up America. The platitudes were just unbelievable, and the repetition constant and in lock-step, word by fucking word. Democrats have been trying to push back against both the Republicans and the media, but are being drowned out for the most part. When you have cable news repeating the same Republican manufactured memes on the hour, and trotting out any number of right-wing talking heads and the “angry, pants-on-fire” talking heads who are supposedly left, how in the hell can the truth cut through the lies in that situation? The deck is stacked against the truth and the media are enablers.
What always comes to my mind whenever the right gets all sanctimonious about the deficit is, why didn’t you get your panties in a bunch over giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the richest 5 percent in our country? In fact, you were the ones giving wonderful speeches about how the wealthy are the job creators and make the economy grow and if we just give them trillions of dollars, they will rain down upon us. Oh let it rain! We all know how that worked out. And where was the outcry about deficits then?
That’s why I am encouraged that the campaign is getting in gear, it gives David Plouffe and the gang a reason to push back, run ads and begin to inject some reality into the bizarre alternate reality that the media and Republicans have created. I smell Karl Fucking Rove all over this trend. And unfortunately, a lot of Democratic politicians are such wimps that they just go along with it. I remember seeing a Democratic politician calling his own party, the “Democrat” party. That’s when I knew the Republican propaganda machine had won that one too.
And I agree with Bob Cesca when he reminds us that family budgets are not like government budgets. Although I disagree with him about why President Obama is using that analogy, to simplify things for that ignorant masses, not because he really thinks a family budget is like a government budget.
I’ve started a list to remind us all what “spending” is. How “spending” affects the lives of real people. How “spending” isn’t just a faceless monster that we should kill, but how it affects millions of people. People who don’t have a lobbyist, or a corporate lawyer or accountant, or any power whatsoever. Please add to the list in comments if you feel the need.
Spending is senior citizens and Medicaid and Medicare.
Spending is WIC money, food for poor children. WTF!
Spending is infrastructure…fixing that road with pot holes, those bridges that are collapsing.
Spending is an education for the next generation.
Spending is health care for women, birth control, cancer screening, counseling,
Spending is assistance with getting a mortgage and realizing the “American Dream”
Spending is helping starving people around the world.
Spending is making sure we have air that we can breathe.
Spending is research on cancer, Alzheimer’s and other insidious diseases.
Spending is investing in new technologies so we can compete on a global scale.
Spending is keeping an eye on Wall Street capitalists who are out to make a profit at any cost.
Spending is that small business loan that may create jobs.
Spending is making sure that women and children are protected from abusers.