A big problem for the left for as far back as I can remember has been the need to constantly swim upstream against the torrent of shit unleashed by the right. Say what you will about right wingers in America, they have got their shit together in terms of their PR machine, the dissemination of talking points and keeping the group on message. The left, in general, have been getting their asses handed to them in this arena.
How can we possibly hope to compete in the marketplace of ideas when we appear to be behind before the game starts? How can we effectively debate issues of national security when conventional wisdom says that we are weak, ineffective, indecisive and possibly treasonous from the outset? Now of course that argument is demonstrably false, malicious, intellectually bankrupt horseshit but our side hasn’t been able to eradicate these memes from the public discourse. It’s bad enough that the right repeats this stuff incessantly but the fact that the corporate media (the so called “liberal media”) acts as a conduit and some weak-kneed Democrats dutifully internalize them is what allows these ideas to stick in the back of people’s minds.
Clearly it is important for Democrats to challenge conventional wisdom in order for them to hope to be in a position to turn things around. This is not an earth shattering revelation by any means. I simply thought it would be useful to compile a list of conventional wisdom, memes, slogans and, basically, the bullshit generated by the right over the last several years that has been gleefully shoveled by the media into the giant pile of manure that is American politics.
Again, a lot of this is fairly obvious to anyone that has been even passively observing politics and the media in this country for the last several years. It is, however, a fairly sobering thing to see these things together in one place. This list is by no means comprehensive. I’m sure there are some glaring omissions(likely because I have been going over this list for too long). I’m sure my legions of dedicated readers will add a lot of their own items to the list.
**A big hat tip to my friend Mr. Doggity, a big contributor to the Al Franken Show blog in its first year, who compiled a large portion of this list. I’ve done some rearranging and editing and added some things of my own but I am standing on his shoulders with this post**
UPDATE - I'd also like to point out that pieces of this list were put together from other lists throughout the blogosphere. Specifically, John Aravosis' AMERICAblog & Peter Daou's The Daou Report should be singled out for recognition.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a communist and a terrible president.
Jimmy Carter used to be a waffler, now he's a traitor.
Walter Mondale is a flip-flopper.
Michael Dukakis is a waffler.
Ronald Reagan was the best president in history.
The media is liberal.
Bill Clinton is a flip-flopper.
Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster.
Bill & Hillary Clinton are radical leftists.
Al Gore is a waffler.
Al Gore claimed he invented the internet.
Al Gore is boring, stiff and wonky.
George W. Bush is a great guy to have a beer with.
George W. Bush is a Texan.
George Bush was a successful businessman.
Bush won Florida in 2000.
Losing by 2 million votes in 2000 is a mandate.
This administration will hold itself accountable.
Bush will restore honor and integrity to the White House.
The Clinton administration trashed the White House before the Bush administration took over.
Bush will make health insurance affordable for low-income families.
The Healthy Forests Initiative will help forests.
No Child Left Behind will help children.
The Clear Skies Initiative will reduce air pollution.
Republicans are compassionate conservatives.
It is executive privilege not to reveal the members of the energy task force.
Vice President Cheney no longer has ties with Halliburton.
Bush is not that familiar with Ken “Kenny Boy” Lay.
There is no global warming.
There is global warming, but humans aren't causing it.
If there is global warming, it's actually good for us.
There are legitimate scientists who dispute the "liberal" theories about global warming.
Sex education causes STDs and increases pregnancy rates.
HPV vaccine will cause teen sex cults.
Unemployment numbers have never been so low.
Outsourcing will create more jobs.
The vast majority of Bush's tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum.
Tax breaks for Hummers are good for the economy.
Tax cuts increase federal revenue.
The estate tax hurts family farms.
Privatizing Social Security will save Social Security.
Citizens will earn more money for retirement with “private accounts.”
Republican proposals to change Social Security are not plans to “privatize.”
They are not “private accounts,” they are “personal accounts.”
The budget deficit will be cut in half in four years.
The economy is doing great.
Nothing is more important in a time of war than cutting taxes.
Bill Clinton is responsible for 9/11.
Bill Clinton was offered Bin Laden on a silver platter and turned it down.
No one could have anticipated airplanes flying into buildings.
We have removed the Taliban from Afghanistan.
Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire.
They hate us for our freedom.
The creation of a department specializing in Domestic Security isn’t necessary.
Refusing to support the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security is anti-American.
The Patriot Act is needed to protect Americans.
Giving up some freedoms is necessary to defend freedom.
"Bin Laden Determined to Strike within the U.S." was a historical document.
You're either with us or against us.
We don’t want the smoking gun to be in the form of a mushroom cloud.
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
Anyone who leaks information will no longer be a part of this administration.
There can be no doubt that Saddam has reconstituted his WMD program.
The only way to get Zarqawi is to invade Iraq.
Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11.
We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.
Critics of the war are liberal, left-wing radicals.
Opposition to the war gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
Democrats hate America.
Dissent is unpatriotic.
The Iraqis will welcome us with open arms and flowers.
It could take six days, six weeks - I doubt six months.
Several hundred thousand troops is wildly off the mark.
Democrats voted for the war too.
Iraq is the central front on the war on terrorism.
Yellow ribbon magnets on your car mean you support the troops.
Iraqi oil will pay for the war and the reconstruction.
US liability for the war shouldn’t be more than a billion dollars.
Saddam would not let the weapons inspectors in the country.
Saddam would not let the weapons inspectors do their jobs.
There is a large international coalition participating in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
We know where the WMD are. They’re in the area around Baghdad and Tikrit and north, south, west and east somewhat.
Those trucks we found in Iraq were mobile biological weapons labs.
Iraq sent its WMDs to Syria.
The violence is the result of a few Baathist dead-enders.
The insurgency is in its last throes.
Bring It On.
No one could have anticipated the Iraqi insurgency.
There is no civil war in Iraq.
We've turned a corner in Iraq.
A spike in violence in Iraq is a sign of American success as insurgents resist positive changes.
A decline in violence in Iraq is indicative of American success in getting a handle on Iraqi security.
If our military commanders need more troops, all they have to do is ask for them.
Abu Ghraib was the result of “a few bad apples.”
There is no need for a bill banning the use of torture.
We do not torture.
A “signing statement” freeing the executive branch from having to follow a law is necessary during a time of war.
Progress as a result of the “historic” pass of sovereignty, formation of government, election in Iraq will be seen in the next 6 to 8 months.
When they stand up, we'll stand down.
A plan to withdraw troops is defeatist.
U.S. beliefs that Iraq had WMD was an intelligence lapse.
The WMD mistakes were made in good faith.
Congress had access to the same intelligence on Iraq.
The Founding Fathers were Christians.
George W. Bush is a Christian man.
America is a Christian nation.
There is a war on Christmas.
There is a war on Easter.
Democrats and the ACLU want to ban the bible.
Democrats and the ACLU want to make it illegal to pray.
Bush was elected by “values voters.”
Dems struggle to attract “values voters.”
Jesus would have voted for Bush.
Gay marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage.
Republicans are pro-life.
Democrats are the party of death.
Evolution isn't supported by the facts.
There are legitimate scientists who dispute the "liberal" theories about evolution.
Man existed alongside the dinosaurs.
The earth is 6,000 years old.
Terry Schiavo wanted to live.
Michael Schiavo wanted to murder his wife.
Michael Schiavo abused his wife.
Terry Schiavo can laugh, smile & communicate.
Terry Schiavo can recover.
The country is 'bitterly divided' over the Schiavo controversy.
George W. Bush is a war hero. John Kerry isn't.
John Kerry shot himself in the leg to earn his medals.
Max Cleeland blew off his own limbs.
Bush is a war president.
Bush is a popular president.
The Democrats are weak on national security
Bush critics are 'shrill,' 'angry,' 'bitter’
John Kerry was against the $87 million before he was for it.
John Kerry is a flip-flopper.
John Kerry outed Mary Cheney.
Howard Dean is insane.
Diebold voting machines are secure.
Fox News is fair and balanced.
Jeff Gannon is a journalist.
Bill O’Reilly looks out for you by cutting through the spin to get to the truth.
Chris Matthews will not let anything get by him.
Tim Russert asks the tough questions.
Dan Rather got what was coming to him.
No one could have anticipated the breech of the levies.
Kathleen Blanco never asked for federal help.
Ray Nagin should have used the buses.
All of the president’s nominations should be given an “up or down vote.”
John Roberts would be a great Supreme Court justice.
Harriet Miers would be a great Supreme Court justice.
Harriet Miers is the best candidate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
It is not necessary to give Harriet Miers an immediate “up or down vote.”
Sam Alito is the best candidate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
It is the duty of Congress to approve the President’s nominations.
Tom DeLay is decent Christian businessman.
The Delay investigation is the result of a rabidly partisan prosecutor.
Nobody at the White House knows Jack Abramoff.
Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff too.
The Corruption scandals are bipartisan.
The 9/11 plot would have been discovered with the NSA domestic spying program.
Press reports about warrantless wire tapping undermines American national security.
Bill Clinton did it too.
Democrats don't want to wiretap terrorists.
Whenever we say "wiretap," that means we're going to get a court order.
The government is tapping your phone to protect you.
Leaks of classified information authorized by the President are ok because he can de-classify anything at will.
Leaks of classified information to the press by a whistleblower to expose illegal activity are treasonous and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
You cannot have Civil Liberties if you are dead.
Anyone who thinks Dubai shouldn't control our ports is racist.
No one who thinks we should build a wall along the Mexican border is racist.
The national anthem should only be sung in English.
Mexicans must be stopped from taking jobs Americans won't do.
George W. Bush is a decider.
Dick Cheney is a sober shooter.
Joe Wilson admitted that Valerie Plame wasn't covert.
Valerie Plame is a traitor.
Joseph Wilson is a traitor.
Patrick Fitzgerald is going to indict Joe Wilson.
Karl Rove has a faulty memory.
Scooter Libby has a faulty memory.
Gas prices are high because of liberal environmentalists.
Gas prices are high because of taxes.
Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge will lower the price of oil.
High gas prices are the result of increased global demand.
Capping gas prices interferes with the free market.
Gas is still cheaper in America than in Europe.
Windfall taxes on high oil company profits is socialism.
It’s surprising that Bush’s poll numbers are so low since people like him so much.
Basically everybody likes the president except for a few wackos on the left.
George Bush doesn't read the polls.
The Democrats are in disarray.
The Democrats are struggling to take advantage of opportunities even with a weakened GOP.
Some Democrat party insiders are concerned the party is too liberal.
Some Democrat party insiders say Howard Dean is destroying the party.
Howard Dean can't raise money.
The Republican Party is the party of ideas.
Democrats lack new ideas.
Democrats are struggling to articulate ideas.
Democrats take a political hit criticizing Bush when he has strong poll numbers.
Democrats look like they are “piling on” if they criticize Bush when he has weak poll numbers.
Al Gore is an angry madman.
John McCain is a maverick.
John McCain is a straight shooter.
Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee in 2008.
Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.