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John K. Herr Headshot

How to Speak 'Politician'

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So you want to learn how to speak "Politician." Terrific!

First, you'll have to unlearn traditional English, with its emphasis on making rational thoughts clear through words.

Instead, obfuscate with half-truths -- or better yet, quarter- and eighth-truths.

Express righteous indignation over minor matters. Practice your hyperbole.

Disingenuously criticize things you were guilty of a few news cycles ago. Hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug.

And always read from the talking points produced by your party elders and ideological betters.

Remember, politics is a team sport. You're either Red or Blue. Purple is for plums and Prince.

Let's get started!

DEMOCRAT: Rights.

REPUBLICAN: Freedoms.

DEMOCRAT: "Promote the general welfare."

REPUBLICAN: "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

DEMOCRAT: Progressive.

REPUBLICAN: Socialist.

"People begin to see what happens when an entire political party that's drifted into socialism and doesn't hide it anymore, what happens to the country when they get power." -- Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show

REPUBLICAN: Conservative.

DEMOCRAT: Extremist.

REPUBLICAN: Failure.

DEMOCRAT: Glitch.

REPUBLICAN: Holding people accountable.

DEMOCRAT: Finger-pointing.

"It shouldn't be about having heads roll or firing people, Piers.... That's what his focus is on right now, not on pointing fingers of blame, but making sure that [the website] works." -- Jay Carney, Piers Morgan Live, CNN

DEMOCRAT: End-of-life advisory board.

REPUBLICAN: Death panel.

DEMOCRAT: Greed.

REPUBLICAN: Envy.

DEMOCRAT: Income inequality.

REPUBLICAN: Growth and prosperity.

DEMOCRAT: Closing loopholes.

REPUBLICAN: Raising taxes.

DEMOCRAT: Workers.

REPUBLICAN: Individuals.

DEMOCRAT: Unions.

REPUBLICAN: Labor bosses.

DEMOCRAT: Safety net.

REPUBLICAN: Web of dependence.

DEMOCRAT: Nutrition assistance.

REPUBLICAN: Food stamps.

DEMOCRAT: Nudge.

REPUBLICAN: Coerce.

DEMOCRAT: Right to privacy.

REPUBLICAN: "Leave us alone."

DEMOCRAT: Victims.

REPUBLICAN: Victim mentality.

DEMOCRAT: Disenfranchised.

REPUBLICAN: Inconvenienced.

"It's well-documented that [photo ID] laws disproportionately disenfranchise low-income voters, people of color, students and the elderly, but married women and transgender people (some of whom are married women) are also among those likely to be impacted by the new [Texas] law." -- Katie McDonough, Salon.com

DEMOCRAT: Multiculturalism.

REPUBLICAN: Balkanization.

DEMOCRAT: Transparency.

REPUBLICAN: Leaks.

DEMOCRAT: "Culture of corruption."

REPUBLICAN: "Politics of personal destruction."

(Note: this switches back and forth depending on which party is in trouble)

REPUBLICAN: Liberal media bias.

DEMOCRAT: Corporate-owned media bias.

REPUBLICAN: Objectivity.

DEMOCRAT: False equivalency.

REPUBLICAN: "End our dangerous reliance on foreign oil."

DEMOCRAT: "End our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels."

REPUBLICAN: Carbon dioxide.

DEMOCRAT: "Death gas."

"The Environmental Protection Agency formally declared Monday that carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels poses a threat to human health and welfare." -- Washington Times

DEMOCRAT: Blue Dogs.

REPUBLICAN: RINOs.

DEMOCRAT: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

REPUBLICAN: "...The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

DEMOCRAT: Modern Family.

REPUBLICAN: Duck Dynasty.