These days I self-identify as a Republican, but some of my best friends are Democrats. Actually, as a function of the town where I live, virtually all of my best friends are Democrats.
So on behalf of my friends and on behalf of simple civility, I hereby call on all Republicans everywhere to abandon the contemptuous use of “Democrat” as an adjective. If you need a handy analogy to understand why references such as “Democrat leaders” or “the Democrat Party” are offensive, consider the difference between the phrases, “he’s a Jewish boy” and “he’s a Jew boy.” Or, if the problem is not that you are obnoxious, but rather merely that you are ignorant, a quick glance at the party’s official homepage will confirm that the correct usage is “Democratic Party.”
I associate the misuse of the term with Bob Dole, who famously made an ill-received reference to “Democrat wars” in his vice presidential debate with Walter Mondale in 1976. [Interestingly, Wikipedia’s lengthy entry tracing the ignoble history of “Democrat Party (phrase)” doesn’t mention Dole. But I digress.]
All of this came to mind as I prepared to approvingly post a passage by Andrew McCarthy in The Corner, describing why he believes the Democrats will use unusual parliamentary tactics to force through a health care bill opposed by a majority of Americans. My annoyance at the first few words below caused me to spin off on this lexicographic tangent:
In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.
I admire McCarthy, and I note that earlier in the very same paragraph (before the bit I quoted), he properly uses the term “Democratic leadership.” So I’m choosing to interpret this as a typo.
I also hope his analysis is incorrect, and that the desire for re-election will sway enough Democrats [note correct usage of noun form] to sink Obamacare. But I fear he may be right.