The political lexicon

Have you noticed that the political rhetoric has become more friendly-sounding?

For example, you rarely hear the words “tax hike” lately. Politicians have become more adept at choosing and using words that are designed to raise less ire from the voting public. I could say their words are targeted to the oblivious “low information voter” that Limbaugh references frequently.

“Doublespeak” probably originated from George Orwell’s book “Nineteen Eighty-Four” where he coined the term “doublethink” to describe the deliberately ambiguous speech of the Socialist-like governance therein.

Liberals have made good use of this concept. May be this is because they study human behavior more. It could be because they have more to hide, a less clear objective, or a desire or need to obscure an agenda. It could be that they are outnumbered and need to make themselves sound politically electable. Perhaps they just understand that if you control the discussion you usually can control the outcome. However, both Republicans and Democrats are now guilty of making something sound friendlier or more benign than it actually is. If it works, why not?

The most common political smokescreen is now “investment.” Once upon a time, investment meant to place money at risk in the hope of profitable income or value appreciation. President Obama has now co-opted that word to mean spending more of someone else’s money for his political gain. In other words, tax the crap out of producers to give to others he deems more worthy.

This word has become so overly tiresome that only a fiscal moron could not see what he really means. Obviously he thinks, possibly correctly, that there are still a lot of fiscal morons out there.

Another badly mischaracterized word is “right.” It seems that anytime someone wants something from the government it is their right. They demand the “right,” not to be confused with “the right” (conservatives) who usually oppose these demands, to free education, free healthcare, free cell phones, free food, ad nauseum. I am sorry, but the only rights granted are those set forth in the Declaration of Independence of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is not the guarantee of happiness, but the right to take actions to obtain it. Everything else is called an entitlement program.

On that note, how many times has Congress promised to cut spending? Their idea of cutting spending is to add a healthy percentage increase to last year’s actual expenditures and then “slash” the increase. In other words, if I spent fifty dollars on something last year, I add another five dollars to it then cut three dollars. Voila! I cut three dollars from my budget and now magically have fifty two dollars to spend next year.

How about “undocumented worker?” This word has been much used to soften the harsh reality that some occupants of this country broke the law to get here and are breaking the law by staying. Besides, not all of them work. “Illegal alien” is an apt description of those people, but that just doesn’t convey the same warm feeling.

“Reproductive rights” now replaces “abortion.” Also, pro-choice is simply a kinder word for pro-abortion. The former “death tax” has become the “estate tax.” Entitlements are now considered “social justice.”

“Workplace violence” has replaced terrorism. Is Islamic terrorism now “Religious workplace violencism?”

“Accountability” is another misused word. It now seems that any time Obama promises to get to the bottom of a scandal and demand accountability that simply means the issue will be investigated and buried at the Justice Department until another issue replaces it. I don’t think he is the only one to do this, but he has perfected it.

“Compromise” has become a thinly veiled word for giving the liberals what they want so you keep getting invited to their parties and don’t get smeared by their liberal media friends. “Plausible deniability” is voting to hear a bill via cloture and then voting against the actual bill that was really passed by the cloture vote.

Ironically, the most subverted word of all is “liberalism. “Once upon a time, it meant “a belief in individual liberty.” Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 redefined liberalism as “a belief in paternalistic government and trading individual liberty for state-sponsored security” by redefining what he called the “forgotten man.” Sound familiar? Oh, and by the way, liberals now prefer to be called progressives.

Tom Riggins is an LVN columnist and may be reached at


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