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Wingnut Debate Dictionary

Last update: 11/10/03


Readers write in to ask about various entries. Perhaps other readers will write in to answer them.

Q: I'm curious, though, about one entry: Homer-the-Trollism. I was wondering if maybe you could please point me to an example of whoever this refers to. I searched around for obvious clues on google and Atrios' blog, but couldn't find the specifics.

Q: [While the following isn't a query as much as a suggestion, yours truly is also a big fan of Bierce, having first discovered his marvelous Dictionary back in about 1975, and currently owning three different editions of the thing. If anyone feels incredibly strongly about this one way or the other, tell me.]

I'm anxious to see credit where credit is due. I don't wish to take anything away from our valiant 'posters', but perhaps a name-change is in order.

The most historically piercing social/political commentary of its (or any) time was also a dictionary. I refer to Ambrose Bierce's classic 'The Devil's Dictionary'. Perhaps a small title change is in order to placate the vociferous Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus. I propose the title The Weevil's Dictionary' as a small 'tip-of-the-hat to Mr. Bierce. 'Wingnut' does not have the same overwhelming negative connotation as 'Weevil', which is a difficult monicker to hide behind. In fact, I feel the term 'Wingnut' may be a subconscious badge of pride to these reprobates; a wing-nut being an essential piece of industrial technology. No one wants to be a weevil.

All the terms and definitions contained herein were obtained at the weblog authored by Atrios, or have been suggested by readers after the original compilation. None of them were authored by me, but I thought they deserved a more permanent location than a comment section or even a weblog entry. The only thing I've done so far is alphabetize (hopefully correctly) the entries and add the sort of HTML code I could teach my dog to use in five minutes. Unless any of the original authors (who I may get around to fully attributing in the next couple of days) object, consider the entirety of this dictionary to be in the public domain.

I've done nothing other than minor modifications for form. I've not diddled one whit with the content. If I've gotten anything incorrect or any of the authors are pissed off about anything whatsoever concerning this, contact me and we'll work things out to your complete satisfaction. This is yours, not mine.

By the way, anyone who might be thinking of wasting their time contacting root for whatever reason should be advised that I am root.

The contact address is


Related things:

Belorussian Translation of "Wingnut Debate Dictionary"
Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit
Language: A Key Mechanism of Control
Politics and the English Language - Eric Blair
The Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce


acoulteration - providing outward trappings of evidence in order to acculturate viewers to believe obvious lies. (renato/DavidNYC)

Ad Ad Ad Hominem - Complaining that critics are making ad hominem attacks on you after you have made ad hominem attacks on them. AKA Triple Strength Preparation AH. (Hawthorne Wingo)

Adelmania: The insistence that pre-emption must be continued as a primary foreign policy, precisely because it has proven to be such an incredible disaster. It may also be used with other failed Movementarian policies, such as tax cuts for the rich, "Healthy Forests," and so on. Or: "You can't argue with failure." Named for Defense Policy Board member (and pool-boy of Satan), Ken Adelman. (Seraphiel)

ad hankering: The practice of accusing anyone who disagrees with you of ad hominem attacks, even if what they said had nothing whatsoever to do with an ad hominem. (Pandagon)

Ann Coulter does this all the time. When someone dares to point out one of the nigh-on-infinite lies and misrepresentations in her "books", she responds, "Why are you attacking me?"

All-or-nothingism: This is when one is mocked because his/her recommended policy does not completely solve some problem.

Amelia Earhart Defense - A four part shell game: (1) I can't find those facts; (2) there are lots of theories; (3) oh, that was a long time ago; and (4) nobody cares anymore. This is useful when the quote, facts, or figures have been "disappeared", as in the recent K.Parker Affair, or the White House Website Follies. (chris c)

Andyrogenous - to be both a social conservative and a social liberal. (Ben)

anorecdotalism: when presented with statistics, they respond with a story about meeting an anonymous little old lady @ bus stop or grocery store & whatever she told them is more credible than ANY kind of facts or figures we can provide

applepiety - A "holier (and more patriotic) than thou" attitude. (taz via MetaFilter)

Argument by Attribution - In which any argument you make is immediately conflated with whatever they think Noam Chomsky/Robert Scheer/Susan Sontag/Michael Moore said about something. Mark Safranaski does this incredibly well - essentially, any argument you make, you must first answer for any argument that anyone else sharing a vague political connection to you has made. You also see this in the presidential debates, where the entire field wants to withdraw from Iraq because Kucinich is the only one saying that. (jesse)

Atriosciousness -- spoiling a good argument by introducing facts and logic?

audio'reilly. To adjust the sound level relative to the opponent, either electronically or vocally, to make ones argument appear stronger.

Awolunteer (v): To posture, for example thru the use of body language, bold statements and proclamations, or the use of costumes and special effects, that one is serving or a part of a noble cause, when in fact one wants to have nothing to do with the cause in question. See also: chickenhawk. Also, of course, Awolunteer (n): one who merely awolunteers when the going gets tough, leaving others to pick up the pieces. (thingwarbler)


Blognostication \blog-"näs-t&-'kA-sh&n\ n (2003): 1) an indication in advance: FORETOKEN, delivered through the internet, via a Weblog, or 'blog. Usually most effective when done after the fact.

Borkellatio - the act of declaring reactionary religious beliefs to be perfectly adequate justification for enacting anti-civil rights laws.

Byrd-baiting (11/10/03) - Proving that "Democrats are the real racists" by the fact that Sen. Byrd was a member of the KKK thirty years before you were born. (Zizka)


Cableism: An obvious lie repeated so many times it functions as a truth, for the time being.

Cartmanic-depressive (11/10/03) - To complain about a lack of respect or civility whilst simultaneously doing everything possible to make these unlikely. (Michael Turyn)

Cheney's razor (n): a philosophic rule that the most complex explanation of an unknown phenomenon is probably correct.

Clenis Envy: [Cl]inton/p[enis] Envy. See Clenis Syndrome for the origins of the term.

Clenis Syndrome: An uncontrollable urge to blurt out "Clinton did it!" or "Oh yeah? What about Clinton?" rather than using logic and reason to make one's point. Original usage (as per below):

Note (11/10/03): "The evolution of 'clenis' may be attenuated and murky, but its origin is clear. It originated one drunken evening in a political chatroom after 5 hours of listening to rightwingers whine about monica, blow jobs and a variety of other sexual activities they had never participated in, nor ever would. Bill's dick, the clenis (Clinton + penis) is and was the source of all the world's problems (including WWII and the fall of the roman empire).

I have forgotten the screenname of the friend who helped coin the phrase with me, but what the hell. I'll claim all the credit myself. I dare anyone to find a reference to the clenis before January, 1999." (existentialmoo)

colmes (adj.): 1. characterized by an affable and inoffensive demeanor while being repeatedly emasculated on national television.

Colmestrato (n.) - An emasculated, harmless "liberal" stand-in included for purposes of fairness and balance. (section29)

colmny - what Hannity dishes out but can't take

Condilyzing: perpetual unrepentant lying, unable to tell truth from fiction, altered reality. Synonyms: Bushspeak, Cheneylyzing. (spek)

Condiment - A statement that needs to be taken with a heavy pinch of salt. (Ben)

Cotton Dandy: (n) One who attributes greatness to his political patrons in the most saccharine, cliched, idealistic prose available, which under even mild scrutiny, fails to have any substance behind it. (see, Sullivan, Andy).

Coultering - the act of adding copious endnotes in an attempt to give the sham appearance that one's writings are scholarly, methodically researched and based in fact."

Coulterintuitive. Making shit up that has nothing to do with the known universe. (Holden Caulfield)

Coulternating - The old lawyer trick of throwing out a zillion arguments/talking points to see what will stick. This will lead to JFKs Tweetys and Stepfords exclaiming that the one valid point makes for a "great read". (Hawthorne Wingo)

Crying Wolfowitz: telling lies to achieve an objective. (spek)


Dead Centrism (11/10/03) - Neither left, nor right, but just stupid and wrong. (Zizka)

DeLaying Tactics - the delaying of bills or issues that will be damaging to the GOP until they can be coopted for political gain or to bash Democrats with when the Republican spin machine gets rolling. (John Lotts Calculator)

Demagogarrhea - Gut wrenching sickness brought on by hearing RNC talking points spouted by yet another Bush apologist.

den Beste ex machina - The creation of a fake political movement, such as Transnational Progressivism, that has virtually no basis in reality in order to disparage ideological opponents.

Anti-feminists have done this for years. The best known examples are Christina Hoff Sommers' creation of "equity feminism" and "gender feminism" to differentiate points of views she likes (equity feminism) from those she doesn't like (gender feminism). She and other anti-feminists disparage any opinion or movement about women they oppose by labeling them "gender feminism." (Pandagon)

deus ex rectum: when arguing an increasingly unsupportable position, one suddenly and out of nowhere pulls a totally non-sequitur BS long-discredited right-wing meme out of one's ass.

Disinglennuousness (n.): The practice of saying, after the fact, that just because you linked to something outrageous with 'THIS IS INTERESTING' or 'EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS', you don't necessarily agree with the linked sentiments, their having been exposed as utter pig-bollocks. (Nick Sweeney)

Dobbselganger- To substitute one poll question for another midway through the vote to arrive at the desired result.

Dowdification (11/10/03) - The creative use of ellipses to change or obfuscate the meaning of a quoted statement. Coined by James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com; originally said of Maureen Dowd. (via Mark Shaw)

dutoitification - You become duToitified when you've got it so good that you lose all perspective on the world and as a result exaggerate minor unpleasantries into vexations of Biblican proportions. That is, you become an insufferable weenie. ( Philosoraptor)


electoralmapism: A curious synaesthetic condition in which the sufferer perceives certain American states as being "red" and others as "blue", leading to the belief that those living in "red" states are completely virtuous and incapable of sin or misjudgment, while those who live in "blue" states are unspeakably evil.

Elmer Fuddocrats: Candidates, officeholders, and party members who, having the opposition cornered at point-blank range, decide instead to shoot their own party in the face. See: Senate Elmernority Fuddership, the Fuddocratic Branch of the Democratic Party, Joe Lieberman, also, ReFuddican impeachment management.

europlexy (10/11/03) - The condition of a conservative being worked up into a froth about what Europeans think of the U.S. while simultaneously insisting that he/she "doesn't care at all" what the Europeans think of the U.S. (jamsterdam via MetaFilter)

Even the Liberal - If one liberal, anywhere, makes an argument that goes against liberal orthodoxy, all liberals are wrong. This has also been suggested in the form Even Some Liberals Agree. (jesse)

Even Some Liberals Agree (11/10/03) - See Even the Liberal.

Extreme Leap - Democrat: "I think there might be better ways of dealing with this situation." Repub response: "So you would rather see Saddam in power." (Derelict)


False DickChenomy: The arguer offers only two options in a situation, one of which is objectively pro-saddam.

Freepler Shift (n.) - Claiming a source is further in one partisan direction than can reasonably be claimed. From Free Republic. (Lakema/Renato)

Fucksimile: To create a double-post in a comments section. Usually preceded by the ejaculation, "Aw."


George Chuvalo, The - A comment thread denizen who just won't quit. Nobody could knock George Chuvalo down. He just kept smashing the other guy in the fists with his face until the fight was over. [Chuvalo was a heavyweight fighter in the 1970s who fought Frazier, Ali, etc.] (Zizka)

Glenndemma ("reaching a" or "being in") When the disconnect between what you believe in and reality grows to such a degree that you become confused and either docile or unusually aggressive.

Glennuendo (n.) - The act of drawing a darkly ominous inference from an opponent's failure to discuss a political issue. From Reynolds, Glenn. (Vaara)

Godomy (godomizers, godomizing): Shamelessly and repeatedly invoking God in support of your partisan agenda, and implying that your opponents are less-holy-than-thou.

Godwinuous: A debating pose employed by fascists to declare that they've "won" a debate by invoking "Godwin's law," even though the accusation by their opponent that they were advocating a Nazi-like policy was justified on the merits."

Going Dennis Miller (10/11/03) - Using 9/11 as one's excuse to support the entire GOP agenda because you endorse George W. Bush's to rid the world of the godless, Judeo-Christian-hating mud people but in a way that doesn't sound racist because 9/11 hurt you a lot. (August J. Pollak)

Gorinecrophilia: digging up the carcass of a dead dog and fucking it in order to score rhetorical points.

GOTO Reno, or the Reno Gambit. When confronted with anything Ashcroft does, change the subject to Janet Reno as if she were worse. So many use this it can't be named after a particular individual, though "Rush to Reno" might be fitting.


Hannitizing - Standing in front of the American flag and quoting from a patriotic song to show what a great American you are. (Hawthorne Wingo)

Harrisment (11/10/03) - Purging the black vote from election results to achieve a desired effect. (madamjujujive via MetaFilter)

Hobbsian: (as in Bill Hobbs) (a) to argue pointlessly and tirelessly because it shows team leader potential and blind loyalty to the GOP even in the face of documented incorrectness; (b) fully subscribes to the rules of Calvinball, even when (especially when) shown to be wrong.

Homer-the-Trollism: Accusing your opponents of bigotry for merely noting your far-fetched, divisive, and perhaps racist tactics and platform.

Hopeless Complification (11/10/03) - The assertion as an excuse for a controversial policy or action that the situation is or was too hopelessly complex to do anything else. See also Red Herring Partisanification. III

Idiot Buffer, The (11/10/03) - "The average voter doesn't care about..." (Zizka)

inKausinstent - adj : displaying a lack of consistency with a position claimed to be held for the purpose of "proving" one's contrarianism.

InKausouciant - adj : marked by intentionally focusing on the superficial; nauseatingly thoughtless [ant: professional]

Inner Santorum - (n): a place where stupidity and bigotry is worshipped; where logic, common sense and decency is shunned, and a fun time had by all rich, white, heterosexuals. See also GOP HQ (thingwarbler)

Involuntary Rallaction (11/10/03) - The immediate disapproval of anything said or done by Ted Rall on the grounds that he, in fact, Ted Rall." (August J. Pollak)

Iron Butt - Someone who parks his butt on a comment thread and matches the rest of the world, comment for comment. (Zizka)

It's My Fact and I'll Lie If I Want To - This allows the wingnut to transform a statement which may be somewhat complicated: "the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2% in the 3rd quarter" or misleading: "the average American family will get $1089 in tax cuts" into a fuzzy fabrication: "the economy grew 7.2% last month" or an outright lie: "Every American will receive a $1000 check thanks to the Bush tax cuts." (R. Porrofatto)


JFK (v.) To perform one's political accommodation by engaging in nonstop talk-radio-warblog-Reynolds-Sullivan-style left-baiting while claiming still to be a "strong liberal." (from the standard code-word remark "I'm a JFK liberal")

Examples: "He's useless...he JFKed a long time ago", "He started reading Hitchens, and before long he JFKed", "Yeah, they're JFKing all over that den Beste essay over at Armed Liberal and Lake Effect"

Note: JFKing is symbiotically related to the Even Some Liberals Agree gambit, since JFKers quickly establish their roles as the reliable house liberals who provide neocons with all their even-some-liberals-agree examples. See also Zellmanella, Zellot. (T.V.)

Joe-SixPACism (11/10/03) - Claiming that a policy supported by a small, powerful, group is good for the common man, no matter how injurious to the latter it actually may be. See WOBLlies. (Michael Turyn)


kettle (v.): 1. to note the wealth of one's opponent as an insurmountable bias, while failing to note one's own considerable wealth. Also, to engage in same with respect to one's political donors.

Kim Du Toitnology: A sophisticated neural-net language program, which is able to translate splattered monkey turds into semi-coherent English-language blog posts. Most humans can't tell the difference.


limbaughcrisy: loudly denouncing 'degenerate' and illegal behavior, which one nevertheless secretly practices.

Little Green Echo Chamber - a technique where those who post dissenting viewpoints in comments threads are banned from further commenting in the website, ensuring that the Conservitards will only have other Conservitards to argue with.

Little Green Eyed Monster - From the website littlegreenfootballs.com. The envy that conservatives feel over the ability of Islamic states to oppress their own people. Also known as "projection." (SWR)

luskin (v.): 1. to secretly desire the status and intelligence of one's opponent while engaging in a systematic misrepresentation of him/her. 2. to stalk


Malkinization (n.) - Usage of questionable or irrelevant anecdotes in support of a position when statistics disprove the position. Cognates: Malkious, malkiniously. From Malkin, Michelle. (Hesiod)

Malkirony - Projecting your self-hatred on immigrants even though you are from a family of immigrants yourself. Also characterized by a skewed vision of liberals because you went to a predominantly liberal college even though you know how its going to be (eg: Oberlin). (Hawthorne Wingo)

matthewsize: (v.) 1. to wildly speculate upon a Democratic candidate's deep seated and dastardly motivation for doing anything. 2. to explain and/or praise an otherwise condemnable act by Bush, or other male GOP politician (see verbal fellatio).

millerism - Stealing someone else's footnotes so people will assume you read the original language they were printed in.


Neoconstipated: The inability to pursue a sound foreign policy because the organs of power are clogged with neoconservative ideologues."

Neonanism: The propensity of the neoconservative spin machine to circle-jerk a lie into a fact that "everyone knows" by playing a deliberate game of "telephone" with it where the infonugget is massaged further and further along at each step of the process, with the previous steps cast as somehow being corroborative, rather than as a forensic trail of the deception.

Nethercutting - v. the act of appending an insincere, phony line to the end of an offensive speech, in an effort to obfuscate everything that was just said. (Steve Smith)

Newter - (var. Newtralize) To restate the position of an opponent, followed immediately by the phrase "The fact of the matter is..." and then your own opinion. Example: "Liberals say they support national security. The fact of the matter is liberals are treasonous scum who should be lined up and slapped."

Nitparsing (11/10/03) - Overanalyzing textual material, particularly transcripts of speeches, news conferences, or the like, in an effort to demon- strate that the person quoted is lying or to make some other obscure point. (Mark Shaw)

(No)Onanism: Attributing your political views to worthy strangers, based solely on their possession of positive traits you would like to associate with your side.

Noonanism - Wet, rapturous bombast about the feet and other appendages of Conservative Real Men caused by internal vibrations that must stimulate all the wrong nerve cells - habitually used in comparison to Bill Clinton. See also Pegstasy.

No Societease (11/10/03) - To claim that no society has ever survived for long under a particular set of circumstances. Often spoken in seeming ignorance of the Roman Empire's having lasted between 450 and 1350 years, depending on how you count the Byzantines. (Michael Turyn)


Obsession with Irrelevant Context - That's when we get to claim that people were "quoted out of context," when the missing context is completely irrelevant. I'd say Mick the Hack probably wins this one hands down, though self-proclaimed Krugman stalker, and my good friend, Don Luskin is providing some pretty tough competition. Another version of this is the Chewbacca Defense - which is to throw so many irrelevant details into the discussion that is ceases to make sense. (Atrios)

Occam's Pretzel (n): The logical fallacy of attempting to deduce the policy of the Bush administration by assuming that Bush makes the decisions. (SWR)

Odd Lott Theory (11/10/03) - Concept that a fall guy can be culled from a political peer group and turned into a pillar of salt thereby deflecting criticism for a widely shared belief. (madamjujujiv via MetaFilter)

O'Reillyus Interruptus (v): being cut off from making a really good point or argument by a radio or cable TV talk show host. Usually involves being loudly shouted down, having one's mic cut (if in a studio), or being "potted down" (if calling in to a radio program). Odds of this happening are greatly increased the closer one gets to the truth.

Origin of Insult - "When I said you were an ignorant simp that knew nothing, and that you were a stupid jerk, that wasn't an insult. Calling me a liar, however, is." (jesse)

oughtism (n.): The act of providing unsound political advice for one's ideological opponents.

Note: (11/10/03) The Italian novelist Italo Svevo, James Joyce's buddy, said something like "In any discussion it's always important to explain to your adversary exactly what's at issue in the case. That's the only way you can be sure that you will understand it better than he does." (Confessions of Zeno). (Zizka)


parasite arrogance (11/10/03) - Spending all your time abusing others who you claim = are too stupid to bother with. (Zizka)

Parkerbation - To misquote the anonymous source you invented in the first place.

Partisanification (n.): The declaration that an opponents argument is "partisan" and therefore de facto without merit.

Pee Wee Herman Defense - (a) From Pee Wee Herman's famous cry of "I know you are, but what am I?" This one has been deployed recently on everything from racism (Democrats are "racist" because they won't rubber-stamp judicial nominees. Never mind the GOP attempts to trash affirmative action, strongly supported by the Dems) to fiscal responsibility (GOP continues to insist that Democrats are "tax and spend liberals" despite demonstrating their ineptitude at handling money with the nation's largest ever budget deficits) to the fires in SoCal (according to wingnuts, caused by "liberals not allowing trees to be cut" rather than Bush refusing the money requested by SoCal to clean up the deadwood that caused the fires to burn out of control). This may be the most popular tactic of all. (Jennifer)

(b) (11/10/03) To change the goal when it becomes clear that the situation is deteriorating and that the original goal is now unattainable: "I was trying to do that!". (Zizka)

Pegstasy - A mystic trance state which produces exalted visions of magic dolphins and the innermost thoughts of delimen.

Penis Glennvy: (n) the belief that by linking to Instapundit and his posts, rightwing bloggers can extend their influence and reputation into the blogosphere. Indeed.

Perles Before Swine (v.) (11/10/03) - The regurgitation of the Party-line to the Major Media Organizations. Relying on administration sources for anything vaguely resembling the Truth. Quoting said sources as 'facts', and getting away with it. (Seymour)

Photo-optimism: n. employing a photo that is redolent of feel-goodness in hope to impart a similar feeling whenever the subject of said photo is mentioned or seen.

Pick the Definition - Used to cover your ass when you say something stupid and to attack your opponents. Often words mean many things. There are things called dictionaries which list these multiple meanings. So, you can use an alternative definition to claim an opponent meant something other than what is clearly obvious, or you can claim you meant something other than what was clearly obvious (such as Don Strangefeld's musings on the word "slog," which to his credit was admittedly somewhat tongue-in-cheek). This one is so widespread I'm not sure we can pick a winner. (Atrios)

Plain-Folk Argument - Accusing your opponent of being an ivory-tower dwelling elitist because they don't watch Nascar or listen to country music, or because they do enjoy lattes, wine, and classical music. Arguments about personal taste and their unimportance in polictical debate are not a valid comeback. (Philip Pangrac)

Powell Movement - when a moderate allows him or herself to be used by conservatives for their own ends. From Colin Powell. (Robert Green)

Profanity Always Loses - It doesn't matter how many times they say you love Saddam, but if you use the word "fuck", you lose. (jesse)

Python blindness (11/10/03) - Failure to realize that 'argument' is something different than 'contradiction' or 'abuse'. (Zizka)


rancho-commute v. To work hard on world problems by spending a lot of time playing golf and relaxing back at your ranch.

Reagantology: the cult of Ronald Reagan, who was obviously a perfect human being with no character flaws, and the 4th member of the Holy Trinity. Its adherents are known as Reagantologists.

Red Herring Partisanification (n.): Drawing attention to an opponent's supposedly partisan motives when this has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Closely linked to Hopeless Complification.

Reductio ad Hannitum: To ask your evil liberal guest something patently ridiculous, then, while they roll their eyes, accuse them of "dodging the question"

Reno Gambit - See GOTO Reno.

Resort to Ad Hominem - In which any negative characterization of anything, no matter how valid, is an ad hominem attack. (jesse)

Rosh Herring: A post by a person, supporting himself, but posted under a pseudonym and pretending to be someone else.

Follow-up: I really have to protest the "Rosh Herring". There is a perfectly good internet-term for this technique: the "sock puppet". The history of it is quite amusing, do a Google search for "sock puppet" and "Earl Curley" (failed internet psychic, drunk, net abuser, and source of malapropisms). It's good to see John Lott is keeping such esteemed rhetorical company. (Satan luvvs Repugs)

Rosh Hosannah - Alt. for Red Herring. (The Cunctator)

rush - v., to defend hypocritical right-wingers with logic that appears to be drug-addled


Sacred Cow - Republicans have mastered the art of just designating some subjects as untouchable. Best example in the still (very) recent past... the now cancelled Reagan film. It never mattered whether anybody saw it. There was never any real discussion about whether it had real objectionable content in it or not. Even discussions about whether it was right for a political party to step in and pressure television producers is off limits. They didn't need to resort to any of these techniques so aptly described by Atrios because they were able to evoke the Sacred Cow theme. Even Democrats are falling over themselves to agree Ronald Reagan is too sick... too whatever. It's wrong to talk about Reagan now (or ever). Whether factual or fictional, unless it is authorized propaganda put out by a trusted GOP functionary. Period. Sacred cow trumps all other arguments. (Joe Briefcase)

Saddamite (n.): 1. one who engages in the production of weapons of mass destruction and poses an imminent threat to the people of the United States of America. Except not. (Draeton)

Santorium: where rich Republican women can go for...well any medical procedure involving reproductive rights with no fear of prosecution, humiliation or public scrutiny.

Santorum (11/10/03) - The mixture of lube and fecal matter sometimes resulting as a by-product of anal sex. From the winner of a write-in contest originated by sex columnist Dan Savage.

Scaliosis (n): condition wherein the afflicted develops a preternatural ability to read the minds of Constitutional framers at a remove of over 200 years.

schizodittohead (n.): 1. one who exhibits a split personality with respect to moral judgements, completely dependent upon the political affiliation of the actor.

Schtickism (1)an argument which demands the DNC adopt the GOP Party Platform or risk becoming irrelevant; (2)Alternate meaning: an argument in which it is assumed the extinction of Islamic and brown-skinned people who don't shape up is a virtuous act.

Seelye - To report, when a candidate has clarified his or her position on an issue in a way that requires a minimum of two clauses, that he or she has "introduced some new confusion" as to what that position is. (forked tongue)

shooting for the moon (11/10/03) - An attempt to tire an opponent into even partially accepting a patently ridiculous argument and then declaring yourself the winner in perpetuity, e.g. America is a Christian nation because the word 'Lord' appears in the declaration of independence. (Space Coyote via MetaFilter)

sixtease (11/10/03) - To counter any argument with "You're a hippy," or its equivalent, (e.g., "And I bet you like the Grateful Dead's endless noodling, too,"). May or may not include blaming the opponent for any and all real or perceived bad consequences of the period from 1958 to 1975. See Cartmanic-depressive. (Michael Turyn)

slate (v) -- to take a smugly contrarian position in print in a bid to be the koolest kid in the room; to snark for snark's sake.

Stepford Democrat (n.): Term used for political hack who is Democratic in name, but relentlessly supports the GOP (if a Republican is President) or pushes a corporate and culturally conservative agenda (if a Democrat is President). The Stepford Dem is differentiated from its more aggressive, openly right-wing brethren (see: Zellouts, etc.) by its touchy-feely rhetoric (eg: "I feel your pain!") and its pretense of being genuinely sorry that it has to abandon its traditional constituency & support its enemies because of "pragmatism", "political reality", "the need to compromise", etc. A curious byproduct of this species is that its constant caving-in and appeasement does not, in fact, please its enemies, but usually makes them more psychopathically angry & all the more eager to hurt & humiliate their targets, which in turn, prompts the Stepford Dem to become ever more craven and subservient in its efforts to grovel before those who openly express their wish to destroy them. See also DLC. For the UK version, see Tony Blair, New Labour. (John D./Jesus Christ)

sullivan, v. To base your argument on a source that actually argues the opposite what you claim it does.

Sullivanish (v). For an issue to conveniently "be disappeared" when inconvenient facts appear to prove a pundit wrong; often to be replaced with a close variation on the same issue, but one that enables the same pundit to take the exact opposite position with ease and apparent impunity. (thingwarbler)

Sullivating - Misrepresenting your opponent's position, and then proceeding to bash them over the head with things they never said. If the opponents complain that they are being taken out of context, then squeal that they are backpedaling and declare yourself the "winner."

Sullogcabinism: The philosophy that one political party is usually right and more virtuous because of its strong sense of right and wrong, except on the one issue that affects you directly and personally. Then it's a "big tent" even though 99% of the party's members want to make your behavior or hobby a felony.

Sully (v.) - To pretend people who were clearly speaking metaphorically were speaking literally, and criticize them based on that. Also known as the "War on Metaphor". From Sullivan, Andrew. (Matthew Yglesias/Andrew Northrup)

Sullynecdoche (11/10/03) - A rhetorical technique in which a radical statement expressed by a small minority on the fringe of a political movement is used to indict the beliefs of the entire movement. For example: after quoting stalin, write something like, "That's the type of moral decay that is characteristic of today's left." Note: this technique can only be used against liberals. (Aaron Slater)


Technical Difficulties - Defending a plainly false statement by saying that it was "technically accurate" when a technical interpretation of the statement is equally false. Ex. - the defense of Bush's SOTU claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium as supposedly "technically accurate" because it referred to the British, rendered technically inaccurate by the use of the word "learned"

Thesaurus Defense - "The president never said it was an imminent threat! He said it was a looming danger!" (pbg)

Thrasymachan Gambit - After Thrasymachus, one of the nastiest opponents Plato's character Socrates (as opposed to the real Socrates) faced, in the first book of the Republic, which is trying to put down one's opponent right before introducing a bad analogy (presumably in order to stun one's opponent into silence). It's sort of like the Chewbacca defense [ this is a rough paraphrase of stuff you can find for yourself on the 'net]

threadjacking - the redirection of every discussion unkind to Dear Leader, preferably to The Clenis or point of moral equivalency. (Ras_Nesta)

Timesosophy: As it's in the Times, enough said.

To Fruminate - Named after the man who turned 2/3 of a three-word phrase into his very own 15 minutes of fame, frumination is the opposite of reason, and is the thought process whereby one comes to the conclusion that it is intrinsically moral to be right, and you are wrong. (It also helps to believe that, not unlike Caligula, a certain former Arbusto executive has become divine.) (R. Porrofatto)

Tottenology- Needlessly repeating your position while desperately searching for a rationale for it.

truth fatique (11/10/03) - "I'm tired of hearing about..." (Zizka)

Tucker Gambit: Baiting opponent into seemingly hypocritical position by using an irrelevant triviality as if it were germane to the topic; usually followed by shock and outrage at opponents (expected) response.

tweety (v.) - To brutally and truthfully contest an invalid answer or lie by a talk show guest, then immediately suck up to them to the point where the criticism seems never to have been made. Ex. Matthews performed a tweety when he discounted Coulter's lie about George C. Scott, then called her a "great writer" and said "I can't wait to have you back." (BudMan)


ubaldi, v. To hide a spectacularly weak argument behind a facade of tortured metaphors and pretentious vocabulary. See also will, safire.


Vaccingating: The process of accusing your opponent of doing what you're already doing in an effort to prevent your opponent from being the first to make that accusation.


War on Analogy - When conservatives pick apart an analogy by bringing in utterly irrelevant details. For example, if I write "Iraq is, in many ways, like Vietnam," a graduate of the wingnut debating school will respond with "You're wrong! Iraq is in the Middle East!" Or, if one points out to Andrew Sullivan the similarity between Jayson Blair and certain journalistic lapses under his own watch, he could respond with "They're nothing alike! Jayson Blair is lefthanded!" I think Jay Caruso is current champion of this technique. (Atrios)

War on Metaphor - Where conservatives pretend people who were clearly speaking metaphorically were speaking literally, and criticize them based on that. Andrew Sullivan's been excelling at this one lately. (Atrios)

Why Do You Hate America? - This one needs no definition.

WOBLies (11/10/03) - Claiming that a policy cannot be racist or elitist because at least one old black woman has been found to support it. From Marc Rogers' WOBL=='Wise Old Black Lady', describing a character common to many horror or sci-fi movies who knows everything necessary for the white heroes to move forward in the plot without dying immediately. (Michael Turyn)

Wolfuscation - to darken (hide) or confuse an issue. (spek)

WWIIism (aka WWWCD?) an offshoot of the "Everyone is a Nazi" technique (widely practiced on both sides): compare *every* argument, no matter how small, to WWII. You, of course are on the right side, the stern, square-jawed Churchill.


Zell-manella. Claiming that you are a "life-long Democrat," but now you're disgusted by their negativity, and you've fallen for the steely-eyed Dubya. Sufferers are known as Zellots or Zellouts.

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