Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stonekettle Station’s Guide to Election 2012 Terminology

It’s my honor and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney

It’s my honor and privilege.

It’s my honor.

It’s my privilege.

It looks like English.

It sounds like English.

It’s my honor and my privilege. It’s my political party and I can endorse Mitt Romney if I want to.

And if you read that sentence without attribution or context you might think that it actually was English and accidentally take it at face value, as such:

It is indeed my honor and privilege to endorse this fine fellow, Mitt Romney, whom I admire most highly and who I think will make a most excellent Grand Panjandrum of our humble democracy. He is a right dandy gentleman and I heartily enjoy his dashing good looks and the robust earthy aroma of his manly flatulence.  I would most happily award him my daughter’s trust fund and virginity and raise the resulting progeny as my own flesh and heir. He is a good egg. I love him the way a 13 year old girl loves Justin Beiber and unicorns, but in a totally non-gay manly sports analogy fashion.

And if you thought that, Gentle Reader, well, you’d be oh so very wrong.

See, that phrase, it is my honor and privilege, was uttered by none other than the insatiable attention-absorbing ShamWow! of American politics, former faux presidential candidate, Donald Trump (seriously, Colbert’s campaign for president is more legit).

Context, my pixilated electronic friends, is everything.

See, The Donald was speaking not English, rather he was speaking in the Orwellian forked-tongue patois of election year politics.  The fact he’s sporting Phyllis Diller’s haircut and channeling infomercial creeper, Vince Offer, should have been your first clue.

What the wispy Cowlick King actually said was:

I cannot believe that I’m doing this. I can’t even look at you, Romney, you with your Donny Osmond hair and your smug grin. God how I hate you, you filthy cult-loving bastard, I’m way richer than you and I’ve slathered on so much illegal Mexican Rogaine that I’m growing tits, but I still can’t get hair like that. You come anywhere near my daughter, you flatulent prick, and I’ll have you buried in the foundation of Trump Tower and covered in fifteen feet of concrete. Mitt, what the hell kind of name is that? Fuck you, Mitt. Well, anyway, here’s a check for your SuperPAC and I’ll drop you a list of legislation that I’ll be expecting your administration to approve.


It’s important to understand that politicians use words that sound like English (or ‘Merican! if you’re reading this in Texas) but really mean something entirely different from the standard Webster’s definition.

Confused? Of course you are.  Here, let me give you an example: the phrase “man of the People” is often assumed to mean “somebody like us” or perhaps “just an average Joe.” This is incorrect. In fact this phrase actually means “his net worth is not less than $200 Million, most of which is parked in off-shore tax-sheltered accounts.”

I know, I know, it’s difficult to understand. Don’t despair. 

Using the previous example, the trick is to examine the second syllable of the first word, stressors on the vowel indicate… What? It’s politics, of course there are two syllables.  The second syllable is unspoken. It’s invisible. See, you have to read between the ... oh, now, stop that.  Here, breath into this paper bag.  No, no, that’s ok, the barf bags are complimentary.  In fact, take two, it’s going to be a long road to November.

Tell you what, never mind the technical gibberish.  I’ll make it simple for you, Gentle Reader.  As a public service, Stonekettle Station’s crack cadre of highly trained political analysts are here to get you through election season – and by “crack cadre” I mean me and Mr. George Killian, with occasional assistance from our panel of studio experts, Mr. Bushmills on the Evangelical Protestant candidates and by Mr. Jameson when it comes to the Catholics – and Ms Bubbly Pink Champagne, should we find it necessary to discuss Rick Santorum.  Since Rick Perry dropped out suspended his campaign (see what I did there? You’re learning) we can dispense with Senor Tequila.

Now, forget about vowels and invisible syllables and help yourself to a cold one and the appropriate Irish – depending on your denomination, Catholics help the Protestants with the booze – and before you know it you’ll be speaking fluent politician.  Stick with me and you’ll be all over this election year stuff like a Japanese businessman on a teenage girl in a sailor suit  – though you may have a headache and hate yourself in the morning, nothing a handful of Vitamin B and a Bloody Mary won’t fix (speaking of which, be careful with those, you don’t want to end up babbling incoherent Bachmann and burping up celery scented vodka).

Remember, folks, the words only look like English:

Let’s start with an easy one: We The People:  You’ve been hearing this a lot lately.  Weedapeeble this, weedapeeble that, usually followed by some unintelligible gibberish, spitting, cuss words, and punctuated with “Constitution! Constitution!” and some waving of loaded firearms.  “We the People” almost sounds like it means, well, us. All of us. Together. Black and white, liberal and conservative, gay and straight. Us. We. People.  It means nothing of the sort, especially when voiced by a true American patriot in a pointy Ben Franklin hat waving a little Chinese made American flag.   What “We The People” actually means is: Get out, get the hell out, just get right the hell out of America! Which is, of course, what the Founding Fathers really meant when they wrote the US Constitution. It’s totally true, it’s called the Allen West clause.

Which, of course, takes us to our next phrase, namely Get The Hell Out:  Think it means get the hell out? Wrong. It only sounds that way.  I know, I know, but it’s ok if you’re confused. Hell, even politicians sometimes get confused when they use this phrase. And they’re professionals.

Congressman Allen West (R-Fl): “We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and my dear friend chairman of the Democratic National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else and get the hell out of the United States of America!”

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien: “I don’t get it. I mean, I don’t understand what you’re saying, you’re telling Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to get out of the United States?”

Congressman Allen West: “No, Soledad. Soledad, absolutely not. And you know that. No, I truly, no joke, I’m not being facetious. I don’t get what you’re saying.”

(The word you’re looking for here is Faceplam, which means exactly what you think it means, i.e. Lt Colonel douchebag. Bonus points if you know what West meant when he said “my good friend.”)

Speaking of getting the hell out, next up is Self Deportation, which sounds a lot like what Rick Perry did when he self-deported himself back to Texas once it became clear that Jesus was just fucking with him, but in reality means an act of chronic self-gratification that will eventually cause Mitt Romney to go blind. 

Misspoke:  You hear politicians use this word typically a day or so after they made a comment regarding either tacos or poor people.  Misspoke sounds like a politician is admitting that he was wrong and he’s sorry.  Sort of.  What it actually means is: I’m sorry you heard me wrong. 

None of this would be a problem if it wasn’t for the Liberal Media, which, of course, is code for “Damnit! I didn’t know that bitch was going to ask me what I read!” Also, “What the hell do you mean somebody recorded it and put it on YouTube? They can do that? Dear God! Tell them I misspoke!”

Family Values:  I value my family, all three of them. Plus the maid. And my rentboy. And, uh, damn that liberal media! Damn them.

Obama: See Hitler.

Hitler: See Obama.

Entrepreneurial: Jesus.

Flip Flop: What the other guy does. Me? My position on the issues “matured” (I was going to say “evolved” but I didn’t want to have to come back here tomorrow and admit that I misspoke).

Establish A Moon Colony:  Think “Jumped the shark” or “Nuked the Fridge.” Use this in place of either phrase in casual conversation and dazzle your friends with your political hipness. 

Then casually mention how you changed your Facebook Philosophy to “Stonekettle Station.” 

You’ll be so politically savvy that Donald Trump will be endorsing you next.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I ate a big dinner and I have to go send another politician to Washington, if you know what I mean.


  1. Huh. And here I thought "misspoke" meant "I'm sorry someone recorded that & can prove I really said it to people outside of my target audience."

  2. Cynthia Clayton VasquezFebruary 4, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    Just let it be known that I was the first to change my FB political philosophy to Stonekettle Station! (also, loved the Texas shout out!) Great one, Jim, as usual.

    [check the location of the L in facepalm]

  3. We the people also translates to Merrill Lynch.

    But all in all a good piece of translation.

    Cynthia I may have beaten you, as there was only one comment here when I switched.

  4. And odds are, Forbes aside, Trump probably doesn't have as much money as Romney, it is useful to his backers for him to look as if he does, but his only asset is partial ownership of his name.

    He has the time to play a role on a TV series, that eats serious time, 8-12 hours a day five days a week. If he could actually produce money doing the kind of projects that have his name on them, tv would be small change.

    The latest project, on NY's west side, is actually financed and run by a consortium of Hong Kong banks, no NY bank being willing to let him in their door to talk anymore.

  5. I can take a hint, Jim. I changed my political philosophy to Stonekettle Station. I did even better the other day when I directly linked to you in one of my usual Facebook political rants my friends love so much. I think it was after the whole "Romney I don't care about poor people" thing. Which, using your code, is the equivalent of the "scanner scandal" the Bushes had.

  6. I can't be bothered caring about who Trump supports. I'm waiting for Victoria Jackson to declare before I make up my mind.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I had a funny comment which I deleted because of a significant error, and then I lost the comment while I was trying to fix it, and then it turned out Nathan had already won the Internet for today and there was no point in playing. So never mind.

  9. Arrgh. Don't get me started on Allen West.

    "Take your message of equality of achievement...but get the hell out of the United States of America."

    Equality? Achievement? Get the hell out of the USofA? Really? In that case, Mr. Bojangles, how 'bout you get your black ass out into the field & start picking me some cotton? (Oh wait, did I misspeak???) Because you know it was a bunch of bunny-loving liberals who brought this country, kicking & screaming (literally) to the conclusion that you're more than 3/5 of a human being. Fuck you for not being 150% behind the message of equality and achievement.

    Oh, and while we're at it, the repeal of DADT is the 'harbinger of America's military decline'? That was exactly what people were saying when people like you were allowed to serve side by side in the military with whites. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. It's more than just a catch-phrase, you jackass; it's something the military has been doing every day for the past 236 years and, since you appear not to have noticed, they're getting pretty fucking good at it.

  10. "Send a politician to Washington."
    Kinky Friedman refers to this as "taking a Nixon."
    Good article, Jim.

  11. Thanks for the morning laugh.

    Still, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Make all the fun we want, we in Alaska are still saddled with the likes of Parnell, Young, Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, Jerry Prevo [ha! slipped that one in there, didn't I?]

    digby has a good point this morning, regarding who's spending what on the SuperPACs (that's not a football team, goober):

    "This big money is going to be very, very important in congressional races. And the Dems aren't even in the game."

  12. @Kenneth Head: t's something the military has been doing every day for the past 236 years and, since you appear not to have noticed, they're getting pretty fucking good at it.

    West spent 20 years in the military ... and despite tours in the combat zone he retired as an O-5. That tells you everything you need to know about LtCol Allen West's military career.

    The fact that his military career ended in non-judicial punishment instead of trial by court martial also tells you something about his character. I note however, that he still wears military insignia on his civilian clothes despite having brought discredit and dishonor to the service.

    The guy is a self serving scumbag.

  13. @Nathan, Eric: Damnit. Now I want a Victoria Jackson endorsement!

    You know, you could probably run a blog that consisted of nothing but satirical posts about that goofy loon. If there was anybody who needed medication, it's Victoria Jackson.

    What I can't figure out is, who the fuck listens to her? Who are those people.

  14. I saw the title of your post and carefully removed all spit-able items from my vicinity. See, I'z larnin'. The post lived up to my expectations.

  15. Cynthia and Warner, I beat you both. :) I've had this up on fb for probably 6 or 8 months now:

    Political Views

    Left-leaning progressive. Also, Stonekettle Station. (It's a blog, I dare--er, er, encourage--you to look it up.) Heh.

  16. You know, Jim? I think you picked a phrase that cuts right straight to the heart of the conservative/liberal divide, in this country. "Man of the People." That, my friend, is a divide that traces its roots clear back to before middle school, and it's the reason why Mitt Romney is never, ever going to get the conservative base to embrace him.

    I'm fully aware that I'm going to sound elitist as hell for saying this, but Mitt doesn't disguise his intelligence nearly enough for the comfort of blue-collar Republicans, and certainly not for the Tea Party-types. For those people, G.W. Bush was their iconic, golden-clad poster child. He has never in his life made anyone feel like the slow kid who walked in on a Nobel committee.

    You want to make a guy whose merest curiosity as to what wonders lie between the covers of a book ended with Dick & Jane become viscerally uncomfortable? Use the word 'viscerally' in a sentence around him. That's the kind of word that gets a smart kid punched on the playground. If you were a book-ish 6-foot 175 lb kid in a rural school who didn't give a fuck whether any of the hicks liked him, it was a morbid form of entertainment.

    Romney is not too liberal for the Republican base, even if that's how the rest of the field is trying to portray him; he's just plain too goddamned smart for the average Republican's comfort.

  17. I had "We the People" figured out since the sixties. Star Trek: TOS. "The Omega Glory."

    Ee Plebnista.

    I learned then that words' meanings can be misused unless the historical context is known, and that politicians warp those meanings if they can (pun intended).

  18. I saw that no one had checked the "I hate you so much" button and since you understand political speach (just for this post) I know you will understand that really means "I LOVE YOU!!" (In a purely non gay, non sexual, internet sorta way ...even though I AM gay!)

  19. Hey, I know how we can really fuck with Jim... Write him in for POTUS! :D *runs for cover*

  20. Translating political speech? Oh yeah, this calls for Killians!

  21. As Tony Blair once clearly stated: "We must channel our dynamics and leverage our differences."

    Not sure what the hell New Labor was about, but they sure could spin and promulgate with the best of them.

    If you really want to hear political double speak at its best, watch BBC's "Yes Minister" on Youtube or PBS.


  22. Jim Wright said:
    “West spent 20 years in the military ... and despite tours in the combat zone he retired as an O-5. That tells you everything you need to know about LtCol Allen West's military career.”

    IRC, 20 years and O-5 is the "up or out point." If you've got no prospects for promotion, you're out.

    Jim Wright said:
    ”The fact that his military career ended in non-judicial punishment instead of trial by court martial also tells you something about his character.”

    I take this to be the military equivalent of a plea bargain in his case.

    Jim Wright said:
    “I note however, that he still wears military insignia on his civilian clothes despite having brought discredit and dishonor to the service.”

    THAT is what tells me everything I need to know about his character, or lack thereof.

    Good stuff, Jim.

  23. This one had me laughing out loud. Your description of The Donald is spot on. It's going to be a long, fun political season with this GOP lineup. Thanks for your POV.

  24. I've been... mainly quiet on this, but US politics, especially in years like this, are just intensely fascinating to watch. This year, though, has been something extra special when it comes to the GOP.

    Pretty much from the start, the GOP primary election has reminded me of nothing so much as watching a bunch of hogs fighting in the muck: The noise is appalling, the stink is worse, there's excrement, blood and mud flying everywhere, and it invariably ends up covering everyone that's not at a reasonable safe distance as hundreds of pounds of pork collide in a titanic clash of flab, belligerence and pure, bloody-minded meanness.

  25. "the ShamWow! of American politics".

    Epic tea snort.

    Excellent post...AND my sinuses have never felt better.

  26. Jim, You totally ROCK!
    You need to run for office in Alaska.



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