Sarah Palin has already singlehandedly introduced several terms into our political lexicon. "Hockey mom" is probably the most recognizable of these. "Troopergate" will become more and more known in the next few weeks. But today, I would like to personally add to this growing body of terms the Alaskan governor has spawned:
The Republicans, in their "meet Sarah Palin" video, have helpfully provided the image to go along with this new term:
This image, it should be noted, has not been altered in any way, shape, or form.
So before we begin, let's define our new term:
moose poop (n.) -- (1) Synonym for "bullshit," esp. when used to describe falsehoods coming out of Sarah Palin's mouth, or indeed any Republican in the 2008 election. (2) Genteel term for the scat or feces of alces alces (North American moose). See also: moose shit. Usage: (1) I see Sarah Palin's spouting the same old moose poop. (2) Watch your step, there's some moose poop on the trail here.
As with all compound English words, since it is a new term, it will begin as two words: "moose poop." Later, it may go through a hyphenated period, as it becomes more popular: "moose-poop." Eventually, though, it will be spelled as a single word: "moosepoop."
Now, I gave some serious thought to some other variations, but had to reject them one-by-one until the moose poop stood alone (so to speak). Some of these may later seep into people's usage, when "moose poop" itself has lost its shock value. The first of these is the more vulgar: "moose shit" (which, due to the popularity of "bullshit" "horseshit" and "chickenshit," may even begin life as the compound word "mooseshit"). The problem with mooseshit, though, is that it's hard to say. There are two "S" sounds right next to each other, which don't really come out as strong as it could.
Likewise (and due to the cutesy factor being way too high), toddler-speak variations were rejected: "moose doo" or "moose poo" or even "moose doo-doo" do have the quality of repeated "Ooo" sounds -- which make it so much easier to deliver this term in a Fargo accent, or even a Canadian, Bob-n-Doug-McKenzie accent -- but the lack of a consonant at the end leaves you with a puckered-up mouth and nowhere to go. Don't believe me? Try saying "moose doo-doo" three times fast.
Two terms that suggested themselves will have to be used later, as alternatives for moose poop -- "mooseflop" and "moosepuckey." Both have a snappy sound to them when falling off the tongue, but might be confusing if not properly identified beforehand with something that is more obviously fecal, like moose poop.
The two runners-up both had points in their favor. "Moosecrap" really snaps, and everyone knows exactly what you mean when you say it. And there was an excellent "Ooo" repetition, as well as good alliteration, in "moose manure." Look for both of these to become popular alternatives soon.
But combining both their strengths with none of their weaknesses, I have to say that the best term linguistically is "moose poop." It's cute without being cutesy. It's barnyard without being outright vulgar. And you could so easily picture Sarah Palin saying the words "moose poop."
The quicker this enters our political discourse the better. So practice saying it out loud. Give a good hearty "MOOSE POOP!" to the rest of your office or dorm today. Start throwing the term around with abandon!
More on this subject later (and how Democrats can use it in talking points) after we hand out our weekly awards.
Joe Biden almost won the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this week, for saying the following:
"If there has been a basis upon which you could pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued -- not out of vengeance, not out of retribution; out of the need to preserve the notion that no one -- no one -- no attorney general, no president, no one is above the law."
But then he walked it back the next day, saying it was Congress who would investigate, not an Obama/Biden White House:
"The Obama/Biden administration is not going to start off saying, 'God, let's go take a lot at what [happened].' The American people want to know what we're going to do, not what happened."
So instead, this week's MIDOTW award goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Because for once, he is actually using his position to further the Democrats' chances of winning this year's election. Next week, he has scheduled a vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which aims to correct an extremely misguided Supreme Court decision on pay equity for women. He did this, in part, to force John McCain to pick a side on the issue. If McCain is now a hockey-mom-loving kind of guy, then surely he's for this bill, right? This will put women's rights squarely on the agenda, which helps show the McCain/Palin ticket's anti-woman stance better than anything else could have done right now.
For painting McCain into a such corner next week, Harry Reid gets the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award -- the first time he's ever won one! So a hearty "well done" to you, Harry!
[Congratulate Harry Reid on his Senate contact page to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]
OK, I know this is getting repetitive, and also that his eligibility for the award (what is a "Democrat"?) is still open to question, but for his speech at the Republican National Convention, there is simply no other choice this week but Joe Lieberman for the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. With special "Zell Miller" clusters, to signify the ultimate betrayal of speaking at a GOP convention.
No more needs be said on this subject. For shame, Joe, for shame. Too bad you had to use your "vice presidential acceptance speech" when you didn't even get picked, huh? Well, all I have to say is: Tough mooseflop, Joe.
[Contact Joe Lieberman on his Senate contact page to let him know what you think of his actions.]
Volume 46 (9/5/08)
Boy, the moose poop has been flying ever since Sarah Palin's entrance on the national stage. Here is the Alaskan State Senate President -- a fellow politician from Wasilla -- on the Palin pick:
"State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news. 'She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?'"
And here is the Alaskan Speaker of the House:
"State House Speaker John Harris... didn't want to get into the issue of her qualifications. 'She's old enough,' Harris said. 'She's a U.S. citizen.'"
And that's just what her own state's Republicans are saying about her. If you're amused by this sort of thing, Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic has a huge list of Republican reactions to Palin being on McCain's ticket.
But back to the moose poop at hand (so to speak). While I have spread the moose manure around with a pitchfork here, there are plenty of other ways to utilize the phrase, so please don't hesitate to offer your own "moose-poop-isms" in the comments section.
Bonus points for working in Bullwinkle's name....
The first item in our list today is actually for an even stronger talking point than moose poop. The Republicans had fun during one of their speeches shouting "Zero!" to questions from the stage over what experience Barack Obama has. Question after question about him, the crowd would thunder "ZERO!!" back.
This can be turned to Obama's advantage very easily, and should be used immediately in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
"I listened to the Republicans speak at their convention, and you know what I heard them say about helping middle-class families with their problems? Zero! That's right -- Zero! What did they say about health care? Zero! What did they say about the mortgage crisis? Zero! What did they say about making college more affordable? Zero! What did they say about your needs? Zero! What did they offer your family to help you around the kitchen table? Zero! That's because John McCain doesn't get it. He said zero about the middle-class because that is the sum total of his plan to help the middle class -- Zero! Americans are up Moose Poop Creek without a paddle, and John McCain offers zero -- ZERO! -- new ideas for you. Republicans ignored the middle class at their convention, they have ignored the middle class for the past eight years, and Americans are tired of being ignored. John McCain ignored you when he had a chance to speak to you, and he will ignore you in the White House."
When the moose poop hits the fan
OK, the eagle-eyed among you will notice that I did indeed manage to slip some moose poop in there after all. See how easy it is?
Speaking of moose poop, Barack Obama appeared on Bill O'Reilly's television show The Moose Poop Factor (I admit I may have gotten the show's name wrong, I got that off the internet... ahem). Afterward, O'Reilly had some surprisingly nice things to say about Obama. But now McCain's handlers are trying to keep Sarah Palin as far away from any reporter's microphone as is humanly possible. This one needs to be hit, and hit hard. Over and over again.
"After I appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show, he said the following about me: 'He's a tough guy, Obama. I looked at him eye to eye, he's not a wimp. He's not a wimpy guy.' Now, I don't know anyone who would call O'Reilly a fan of mine, but that's what he said. Now we hear from the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin doesn't want to face any questions from reporters at all. What is she afraid of? She won't even talk to the press, and she's somehow supposed to be ready to step into the office of the president at a moment's notice? She's so scared of saying something wrong that she won't take questions, and yet we're supposed to believe that when the moose poop hits the fan, she's ready to be Commander-in-Chief?"
Same old Bush moosecrap
This one should immediately follow the last one.
"McCain's people tell us to give Sarah a chance, because she's studying real hard on foreign policy issues. Well, most of the people giving her this briefing are from George Bush's team at the White House. How is the McCain/Palin team supposed to represent any change in our foreign policy when they're obviously just going to give you the same old Bush moosecrap on the world stage?"
Shoveling the moose manure on health care
Continuing the middle-class theme, we move on to health insurance. Democrats need to steal a page from the Republican playbook on this one, and use the words "middle class tax increase" as many times as possible, in order to point this out. Don't even bother giving details, leave the press to do the heavy lifting. Just repeat "tax increase" over and over again.
"John McCain says he has a plan for changing health care. His plan is to make you pay more, both to the big insurance companies and in taxes. That's right -- John McCain actually wants to tax the health care benefits you get from your employer. If McCain seems dangerously out-of-touch with the health-care problems average Americans face, it's because he gets his health care from our tax dollars. That's right. John McCain lies about my health care plan and says I'm for 'big government' to run health care, but that's exactly how he gets his own health care. So I challenge John McCain -- get your own health care the way that working Americans do, and the way you want everyone to do under your plan -- or else please stop shoveling the moose manure. McCain wants to TAX your health care benefits. I don't. It's as simple as that."
Republicans are laughing at you
The sneering disdain about "community organizers" was on ugly display for all to see at the Republican convention this week. It's time to turn this around, especially in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
"Republicans showed America what they think of my experience as a community organizer at their convention. But I say that their disdain was aimed right at you. Because what I actually did was to help union workers who had lost their jobs due to the steel plant being shut down. That's what a "community organizer" does, Mayor Giuliani. Help steel workers who have lost their jobs. They actually laughed at it more than once during their convention. You know what? They were really laughing at you. The next day, it was announced that unemployment is up to 6.1%. Real funny, huh? And what did John McCain have to say about that? Moosepuckey! That's right -- McCain thinks the Bush years have been wonderful, he's for more NAFTAs, and he has not announced a single way he's going to change things from Bush's economic policies. I am going to Washington to fight for you, and I have told you exactly how. McCain thinks that when steel workers are fired, it's something to laugh about. And that is exactly how he would lead the country -- by continuing the disaster of the Bush years, and laughing at the hard-working Americans devastated by them."
This one just writes itself.
"John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and presented her as some sort of champion against earmarks. This fantasy of her blazing some sort of anti-earmark trail in the wilderness is complete moose poop. Sarah Palin, as a mayor, hired a Washington lobbyist in order to get millions of dollars in earmarks for her town. And then as Alaska's governor, Palin requested more earmarks per capita than any other state! Sarah Palin is no earmark-slaying crusader, in fact she herself is Queen of the Earmarks. So much for McCain's credibility on the issue."
Sarah Palin, extremist
Sorry to cram all this into one talking point, but it looks like we've run out of room here. If you're hungering for more, check out the additional talking point lists from Art Levine and RJ Eskow at the Huffington Post.
"Sarah Palin is a politician who tried to fire the town librarian for not agreeing to censor books, who indeed tries to fire everyone who doesn't agree with her or her family, who wants to make abortion illegal for rape and incest victims, who thinks that God favors her pipeline plans, who sat through a speech in her church that said God was punishing Jews for not converting to Christianity, and whose husband was a registered member of a party in favor of Alaskan secession whose founder was killed while illegally trying to buy plastic explosives. Do I think Sarah Palin is too extreme for America? Does a moose poop in the woods?"
Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com
Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground