Monday, January 3, 2011

A little rant about adjectives, nouns and the TNDP

Over the past two months, I've received many letters from candidates who wish to be Tennessee's Democratic Party Chair. A few of the letters have contained an improper and egregious error stating  "the Democrat message" and  "Democrat Party".  Democratic is an adjective and should be used.  An adjective is something that modifies a noun. A noun is a person, place, thing or idea. In this case, Democratic describes the Party and message. A Democrat is a noun.  Why am I explaining all this?  Isn't this basic?

Republican is both an adjective and a noun.  Again, this is basic but the underlying message is a candidate who wants to be Party Chair should know this.  If I have to tell this to a Party Chair candidate, should they even be our Party Chair? How will someone be our messenger when they make ignorant mistakes like this?  They would sound like George Bush and that is totally unacceptable.

As Wiki states: "Democrat Party" is a political epithet used in the United States instead of "Democratic Party" when talking about the Democratic Party.[1] The term has been used by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since 1940.[2]
When Democrats chose to use this, they are repeating Republican smears of our Party.  It is similar to using dog whistle politics meaning the usage of coded words that only certain groups can hear.  It may not be offensive to the general population, but to some, in this case Democrats, it is a slur.  So why would a person who wants to be Chair of the Democratic Party do such a thing?  Are they ignorant or purposefully demeaning us?  Either choice does not strike me as a palatable option.

Last summer, I heard Congressman Lincoln Davis say "Democrat Party" and I just cringed.  It is ridiculous for him  to talk like that.  Also, it shows how much time he spent listening to Republican talking points versus the Democratic talking points.

The use of Democrat Party has been banned at NPR.  Chris Matthew's of Hard Ball took exception to both Sarah Palin and Rep. Darrell Issa's use of the term and chided them for it.  It is easy to understand why those two polarizing Republicans would engage in such puerile antics, but it isn't easy for me to understand why Democrats would do such a thing.


  1. Sadly, too many in our party are afraid to stand up for our Democratic values, to be a real Democrat. They have allowed themselves to become so marginalized by Republican talking points that it may take a decade or more to turn Tennessee blue again. One lesson we can learn from the Republicans is that to rebuild our party, we need to recruit good candidates for every seat, from school boards, to town councils to the general assembly. Eventually we will win if we deliver a consistent message, perform once in office and stick to our core values. South Dem.

  2. Well said, HamDems. We have to embrace our Party and if someone denigrates us, we should call them out on it, just like Chris Matthews did.

    We have to recruit good candidates at the local level to build broad support.

  3. Um... well here is another point as to why we lost our butts in 2010.

    The TN Republican Party was a lot more organized. They had a massive field program. They ran their candidates, instead of letting the candidates run their campaigns.

    They were in every single county, including Shelby County. They are a much better team strategically speaking. Also, their voter file is better and more up to date.

    I am sorry to hear all of this, but at the end of the day, you have to see that when you don't do the work, you will not win.

    I am a Democrat, but I am not proud of what I saw this year.

  4. Excellent point, Sandy. It drives me nuts too especially when improper English is used by members of our own party.