And, your name…is?

Matt Yglesias and Josh Marshall address the underlying importance of George W. Bush’s “mistaken” utterance of “Democrat Party” (as opposed to “Democratic Party”) in the State of the Union address last week. Most people would probably overlook such a thing (especially given this president’s repeated mangling of the English language) but, as Greg Sargent points out, this isn’t the first time Bush has done this sort of thing.

So, why does this matter? It matters because it quite simply shows a lack of respect from the Republican Party in regards to their political opponents. The simply think they can push people around, much like the high school bully. I’m going to quote Matt’s post at length here because it’s on point:

The key charge against liberals is that we’re weak. Weak on Communism. Weak on crime. Weak on terrorism. Weak-minded, soft-hearted, weak, weak, weak. Well, what’s the key sign of weakness: a person who won’t stand up for themselves.

To call someone by something other than the name he wishes to be called by is rude. To make a mistake is forgivable, but to persist — deliberately — in declining to use your adversary’s proper name is rude and insulting. It’s not a big deal unless you take standing up for yourself to be a big deal. When Democrats go on TV and let a conservative get away with the phrase “Democrat Party” it’s signaling that Democrats are weak. They’re too weak to stand up for themselves. They’re too weak to have a sense of group solidarity or party loyalty. They’re inclined to let things slide. They don’t want to make a scene. They don’t like to have a fight. They’re weak. Is a political party that can’t even protect its own name really going to keep America safe?

What’s more, it establishes the conservative media as a truth-free zone. Presumably, if CNN cared about accuracy it would not employ people are regular commentators who can’t correctly name America’s older and larger political party. Nor would ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR or any other media outlet. Yes, yes it would initially seem petty and bizarre of all these outlets to insist that people either name the party correctly or else not appear. But the fact that this would seem petty and bizarre is the point: “Democratic” is the correct word and this isn’t an obscure point. That everyone lets conservatives say “Democrat” over and over again is part of establishing mainstream acceptance of the idea that the conservative media operates in an accuracy free zone. They’re propagandists and that’s okay by the MSM — no need to get things right!

That last bit is especially important in regards to the bogus story from last week in which Insight magazine (owned by the very conservative Washington Times) asserted that Barack Obama had attended a Muslim religious school, or madrassa, as a child growing up in Indonesia. CNN thoroughly punched holes in the story and Obama’s office issued a forceful press release denouncing the story. What’s more, Obama now seems to be “freezing out” FOX News (who also ran with the Insight story).

Obama’s forceful push back against FOX, like Jim Webb’s exchange at the White House with President Bush, shows that Democrats aren’t going to stand idly by and allow themselves to be smeared or belittled by the White House or the media. Standing up and fighting is the way to put these people in their place.

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~ by uvasig on January 31, 2007.

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