Your Ward Room Blogger recently received this press release from a flack at the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is supporting Rep. Joe Walsh in his campaign against Tammy Duckworth:
“Illinois’ unemployment rate for March was released today at an agonizing 9.1 percent, but Tammy Duckworth and her Democrat allies in Washington are still championing the destructive taxing and spending agenda that continues to plague the economy.”
It’s not the partisanship that bothers me here -- that’s the NRCC’s job. It’s the bad grammar displayed in using the term “Democrat allies.” The adjectival form of “Democrat” is “Democratic.” Although, in this case, the bad grammar is a partisan statement.
According to the wesbite Conservapedia, calling the Democrats “Democratic” reinforces “the false illusion that their party is somehow more ‘democratic’ than other parties.”
Writing in The New Yorker, journalist Hendrik Hertzberg -- a former Jimmy Carter speechwriter -- wrote “There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. ‘Democrat Party’ is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but ‘Democrat Party’ is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams ‘rat.’”
Even politicians who should know better use the term. George W. Bush, who graduated from Yale and Harvard, used the term “Democrat majority” in his 2007 State of the Union speech to a Congress with a Democratic majority. Bush, of course, knew what he was doing. The next month, he told a meeting of Democratic congressmen, “I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party.”
Paul Lindsay, the Communications Director for the NRCC, is also an educated man, with a degree from James Madison University in Virginia. Since Mr. Lindsay should know “Democrat” is not an adjective, Ward Room can no longer quote press release that use the word in that form. Someone has to take a stand for proper and traditional English. If conservatives won’t do it, we will.