Thursday, January 29, 2009

Poking a stick at the 'Democrat Party'

Sen. Phil Berger of Rockingham County, the Senate Republican leader, is a well-liked, respected and thoughtful legislator. I think he has had some good ideas, including some proposals that would make the Senate's debates friendlier to members of his party and some Democrats, too. Among other things, he proposed altering an arcane rule on calling the question that has caught senators by surprise more than once -- in effect ending debate on an entire bill instead of just on one part. But Democrats rule the roost in the Senate. With 30 of the 50 Senate seats, Democrats call the shots.

Berger is understandably frustrated by this. The minority always is, and Senate Republicans have been in the minority since the crust of the earth cooled. I don't blame them for feeling run over. I would too.

After Wednesday's opening session, when Democrats rejected proposed Republican rules changes, Berger let fire with a complaint about partisanship and the need for bipartisanship. No quibble there.

But the language Berger used illustrates a problem for his party. He, like many Republicans, likes to call it the "Democrat Party," not the Democratic Party, and refer to their colleagus as "Democrat senators," not "Democratic senators." They deliberately ignore the fact that the formal, legal, actual name of the organization is "Democratic Party." Democrats do, of course, use "Democrat" as a noun; they do not use "Democrat" improperly as an adjective.

"The ungrammatical conversion of the noun 'Democrat' to an adjective was the brainchild of Republican partisans, presumably an attempt to deny the opposing party the claim to being 'democratic' -- or in the words of New Yorker magazine senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg, 'to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation,'" notes the Web site Media matters. "In the early 1990s, apparently due largely to the urging of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the use of the word 'Democrat' as an adjective became near-universal among Republicans."

The Web site also notes that President Warren Harding liked to call it the "Democrat Party" and so did U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy R-WI, who, Hertzber wrote,"made it a regular part of his arsenal of insults."

In his Wednesday news release, Berget put himself in the logically challenged position of beginning, "Now is the time for a bipartisan effort to remake North Carolina's government from the ground up. Democrat Senator Marc Basnight's speech…."

And later, referring to the rejection of rules changes, Berger said, "Unfortunately, this failure indicates a continuation of past practices in which Democrat leaders dictate the operations of an extremely partisan Senate from behind closed doors."

Berger's right about the need for bipartisanship. But as long as he and his colleagues continue to deliberately misuse the name of the opposition party in such a high-schoolish way, it's hard to see how Democrats would feel much reason to change their ways. It probably only reinforces the Democrats' view that Republicans are only going to play political games, and so the Grand Old Party's legitimate gripes can simply be ignored.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Betts, your blog today is one of the worst pieces of commentary I’ve ever read.

You want to talk about “logically challenged”. The failure to append the letters “ic” to the word “Democrat” somehow is analogous to the steamrolling that the "Democratics" (definitely not small d) employ in the State Senate.

Matt M said...

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Question O-Thority.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Betts,

You sir, are a clown at best and closet fascist at worst. You defend anti-transparency, anti-sunshine law and ultimately, anti-Charlotte behavior amongst our elected officials because the minority party refuses to genuflect to the party in power.

Your stunning lack of objectivity is a fabulous example of why your chosen profession is going the way of the buggy whip.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like hes earned the stripes for this tiny indulgence. Lets give him some breathing room.

Anonymous said...

"earned his stripes"?? "tiny indulgence"?

As a steward of the Constitution, (free press) Mr. Betts has a tremendous responsibility to the general public and does not have the luxury of ANY partisan indulgences. Especially in the troubled times we now find ourselves in.

(Nighty night Mrs. Betts).

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely pathetic. NC's corruption in state politics is legendary and it has been led by the Democratic party. Is your point that proper grammar must be used before any idea contrary to the democratic party line will be considered? HOGWASH!!! We have to endure a Governor, born of corruption, that ran an anti-Charlotte campaign. That's punishment enough without having you lecture us on proper grammar. What a sideshow! Next you will be telling us if we talk nice, terrorism will cease. Wait a minute, I think I've heard that somewhere before. Let the circus begin.

Anonymous said...

Who knew there'd be so much screaming over Mr. Betts' properly noting the difference between a noun and an adjective?

Anonymous said...

Just another example of how bankrupt and devoid of ideas and decency the FlatEarth Republicans are.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of how Obama-fascist trivialize their detractors, all the while the "sheeple" in their own party willingly hand over the Constitutional rights.

Anonymous said...

From now on, I plan to misspell "Democratic" like this:

A-S-S-H-O-L-E

It's more accurate, anyway... Democrats don't believe in democracy, so why should we even let them use the "D" word to describe themselves?

Can't wait for McClatchy to go out of business and see your sorry butt tossed out on the street.

Anonymous said...

The remarks here are a good example of the attacks the neocons will make on anyone who dares to go against their wishes. When they resort to name calling, you know you have them on the ropes. Intelligent conversation is far too complicated for them to understand. This is why the Republican party is suffering their worst defeats in elections.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Just because Democratic, left-leaning, newspaper editors choose to use rhetorical tricks like mentioning Joe McCarthy within the same paragraph NC Republicans does not somehow make him (or you) part of some intellectually superior "chosen party". It is an insult all the same, just the same as the posters who referred to Mr. Betts as a clown or fascist. But what it DOES reveal is how so many Democrats secretly believe that they truly are better than those who dare disagree with them. And those discriminatory beliefs will be what ultimately causes the Democratic party to fail in this country. Yes, it will take some time, but the events are already in motion. It is just that the likes of Mr. Betts and yourself can't see them through your pink colored glasses. (See, I JUST did it to you too). Maybe I am smart enough to be a Democrat? ;>)

Anonymous said...

Sure, they should leave the high school-ish insults at home. So should you, Mr Betts, leave at home what is at best the lazy journalism that leads to the wholly unenlightening invocation of Joseph McCarthy in an effort to add color to the piece.

The truth is that the procedures used in the NC statehouse essentially disenfranchise a significant portion of the population by completely freezing out Republican legislators, notwithstanding the fact that those Republicans represent Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party members, the unaffiliated, members of other parties and those who don't know or care about parties: once elected they represent the entire population of their district. It is childish, undemocratic, frankly un-American for the party in power to act in that fashion, and it can neither be excused by the semantics of the opposition, nor is that situation the responsibility of the Republicans.

The fact is that the distribution of power in the NC Assembly has lead to unchecked corruption, and it ought to end. It is the responsibility of those in the majority to end it. If you feel the need to excuse or qualify that position, Mr. Betts, you are writing about the wrong subject.

Anonymous said...

Whiny fascist NC GOPers like to forget that it was their party and former Speaker Brubaker that brought the NC legislature the undemocratic "committee floaters" that could vote on in any committee without actually serving on it.

It took non-Charlotte Democrats (read: Speaker Hackney) to actually got rid of this ridicilous rule.

Sour grapes again from the party of losers.

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes you say? Facist neocons? Irony at its best when you consider that it was the Dirty Dems who made judicial races non-partisan when flabergasted that conservative judges were winning in NC. Or how about Obamunist's removing the CBO's report that only $26B of this "stimulus" would be spent this year (immediate relief, eh?) or his removal of references to Frank Marshall Davis (his Communist mentor in HI) from later editions of his book , or... DON'T KID YOURSELVES. It's the DirtyDems (aka CommiePigs) who hide info and data that doesn;t agree with their wishes. PIGS. Therefore Democrat party is accurate; they don't believe in MAJORITY RULE; they believe in minority rule (let's step on the whites in favor of the brown people). PIGS.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Betts is absolutely right and I'm glad to finally hear someone speak about this supposedly "casual" insult these childish, bully-on-the-playground Publicans use to ridicule Democrats. And yeah, I said Publican. As in the "Publican Party". I think all Democrats should get together and rename them the Publican Party, as in "Publican Phil Berger". Two ought to be able to play at that game.

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