The Words Beneath Your Wings

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Memo to Democrats: I'M HERE TO HELP.

No really. I know I was mean yesterday. Perhaps unjustifiably so. Because since then, I've thought of one other possiblity - it's not that you don't WANT to say and do strong things, it's just that decades in Washington have atrophied your vocabularies to the point where you've forgotten what words you can use.

So to help you frame future debates, as a public service, here's some phrasing you can use to puff yourselves up in the media - you know, sort of the political equivalent of making yourselves look like poisonous plants so the Republicans won't eat you.

LIE.

No, this isn't the advice. It's a word you need to be using. Right now, we're living in the most picayune, parsing era of bullshit in the nation's history. It makes Clinton's interpretation of "is" seem like Hemingway. And one of the biggest pieces of bullshit foisted on the scene is that somehow an accusation of "lying" has to come with concrete, irrefutable proof of not just saying something wrong, but INTENT to deliberately say something wrong. Which is, of course impossible, especially since the current standard also says that if anyone, anywhere, can come up with any explanation, no matter how improbable, that accounts for the behavior some other way, nobody's proven anything.

Take back the word "lie". Use it often, because it's happening often, and everybody knows it. It's the elephant in the middle of the room, and it's saying it doesn't recall, but we know better, don't we? Yes we do. So fucking well say it. They are lying. They lie. They say things that are not true, and they say things so that you'll hear things that are untrue. That's also lying.

"Yes, we're playing hardball. It's the only language the administration understands."

This one's tricky, because in order to use it, you would have to actually, for once, PLAY FUCKING HARDBALL. The president vetoes your war funding? Don't take strings off of it. ADD TWO MORE STRINGS. And make it clear that if he vetoes this one, you've got one with four more strings waiting in the wings. Sign this one, you smirking simian son of a whore, because they're ONLY GETTING WORSE.

And then, when they accuse you of being partisan, being mean, and playing hardball, you say the above. Over and over. It's straightforward, it's strong, and most importantly, it's TRUE. Poke holes in the folksy pile of horse manure and cleared brush that fucker hides behind. Set it on fire. Sweet, cleansing fire.

MANDATE.

No, not Ted Haggard and Mark Foley behind the dumpster at Denny's. Stop saying "the will of the American people". For one, it's too wordy. For another, it's lost all meaning, and for thirdly, it rings false on a subconscious level, because the American people know, deep down, they don't actually have any will. It's a bit late to start calling 2006 a mandate, but if Captain Chucklehead can claim 51% as a mandate, then you can claim 51 Senate seats as the same. Is it a stretch? Yes. Will you get away with it? Yes. If you use the hose.

THE HOSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

This is the vital part. Because there are a few members of the Democratic Party in Congress who have bad habits. They like war, or they like kickbacks from lobbyists, or they actually are delusional enough to think "bipartisanship" is a valid post-millenial concept. Bad habits can only be broken with negative reinforcement, so install garden hoses with spray nozzles throughout Capitol Hill.

Every time Lieberman says "bipartisanship", spray him with the hose.

Every time anyone talks about watering down lobbying reform, water them down instead.

Invite former senator Bob "unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory" Kerrey to a reunion luncheon in the cafeteria, then soak that motherfucker so that he doesn't think being out of office makes him safe.

I will admit this last one is slightly trickier from a P.R. perspective, but since I've made half your consultants obsolete with this one column, you can give them The Hose Of Representatives as a spin project. And if they get it wrong, well, you can always spray them with the hose.