Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Of Socialists and Extreme Moderates

Posted at 12:56 pm, January 10th, 2012
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

The winner of the Republican presidential nominating battle is unknown at this writing. It’s not too soon, though, to declare the loser: the English language. When, in politician-speak “moderate” becomes an epithet or President Obama morphs into a “socialist,” language has lost its moorings and meaning.

At one time “moderate” had entirely favorable connotations. It even meant “reasonable.” In the service of Newt Gingrich, “moderate” is evil incarnate, as in Mitt Romney the “Massachusetts moderate,” no compliment intended.

Socialism is a system in which ownership of production and distribution belongs to the government. That doesn’t even begin to describe Barack Obama’s political and economic views. So when Rick Perry said recently that “we have a president who is a socialist.” that’s laughably absurd.

Politicians are fond of calling for English to be made the country’s official language. Why, then, do they so often debase it?

The press will occasionally fact-check politicians. They also ought to language-check them. Proper use of language is vital to political discourse. Politicians who engage in language-abuse should be held to account in the same way those who falsify facts have the record set straight.

Obama a socialist? Romney a far-out moderate? Enough already.

One Response to “Of Socialists and Extreme Moderates”

  1. Eugene Barufkin says:

    Right to life is not right to life when those same folk advocate for war and guns. Last yr 3,600+ kids were killed in homes with resident guns.
    This is the universal message -
    President Obama marked the date by saying he remains committed “to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right”:
    + = “We must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,”

    + = “While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption,” Obama said.
    + = “And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.” s in every home.

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