Still not having anything better to do, I went to LexisNexis and typed in "Demagoguing Paul Ryan" and came up with slightly fewer results from the newspaper option. I was aghast and agog reading them, because it seems like these overpaid pundits and columnists and hacks are all getting their marching orders from some centralized Reactionary Word Bank. Here are just a few of the gems, beginning with Chief Gemstone Paul Ryan:
The tragic irony is that if the Left succeeds in demagoguing to death the only plan that saves Medicare, this political victory will diminish any incentive to avert Medicare's imminent end. -- Paul Ryan, Washington Post op-ed, 8/6/10.
It is an important conversation starter... a broad and brave call for dealing with politically charged issues that Congress and Obama are studiously avoiding or demagoguing. -- unsigned editorial, New York Daily News, 4/11/11.
The Administration just needs to stop demagoguing and join the adult conversation. -- Kevin Ferris, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/22/11.
Paul Ryan has just released a bold and serious plan.... Obama is demagoguing the Ryan Plan. -- Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, 4/8/11.
Now, I know the Democrats... they have been demagoguing the Republicans on Medicare. -- Donald Trump, via New York Times article, 5/3/11.
Next time you see a politician demagoguing Medicare, ask this: should we be using our resources in the manner of a nation in decline or one still committed to stoking the energy of its people? -- David Brooks, The New York Times, 5/11/11.
Now, can we (meaning you Democrats) just get past the demagoguery? -- Cal Thomas, USA Today, 2/24/11.
Democrats Demagogue Medicare: Liberals Play Politics as the Health Care Plan Goes Belly Up -- headline of Emily Miller op-ed, Washington Times, 5/3/11.
Interestingly, accusing the opposition of demagoguery has been a favorite tactic of conservatives in the past. Case in point, according to a Wikipedia entry, "in the 19th Century, political reactionaries branded their opponents as demagogues and directed numerous reprisals and censorship against them. Representatives of the German Confederation of German-national and liberal groups were accused of Demagogenverfolgung, subversion and sedition.
A famous usage was by the aging Erich Luedenddorf, an early supporter of Hitler, but who later called him "one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation."
Since Hitler is still conventionally viewed as the greatest/worst demagogue of all time, and his name has become synonymous with the word, and an early tactic of the Tea Party during the health care debate was to carry posters of President Obama wearing a Hitler mustache, it is not too much of a stretch to conclude that the more genteel conservative pundits are deliberately and cynically using the demagogue word as code for something worse -- something extremely hateful.
It's all part of what is called The Big Lie -- some of the Republican pundits are taking their own demagoguery and deflecting it to the Democratic opposition. Again, from Wikipedia:
"The phrase (Big Lie) was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler's psychological profile. His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."
Hmm... methinks Paul Ryan and Co. are the real, neo-Fascist demagogues in the mix. The Republicans refuse to compromise, refuse to negotiate, refuse to acknowledge that the deficit was caused by tax breaks for their rich friends and subsidies for the corporations, blame their one person at a time (Obama), even going so far as to question his citizenship and patriotism. And boy, can they ever whine when they don't get their own way.
|"Mommeeeee... They Won't Stop Demagoguing on Me!"|
The only thing left for Obama and the Democrats to do is to stop negotiating with these Repugnant Republicans and let their demogoguery nonsense boomerang right back at them.