Democrat vs. Democratic

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"The job of politicians, however, is different, and among those of the Republican persuasion “Democrat Party” is now nearly universal. This is partly the work of Newt Gingrich, the nominal author of the notorious 1990 memo “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” and his Contract with America pollster, Frank Luntz, the Johnny Appleseed of such linguistic innovations as “death tax” for estate tax and “personal accounts” for Social Security privatization. Luntz, who road-tested the adjectival use of “Democrat” with a focus group in 2001, has concluded that the only people who really dislike it are highly partisan adherents of the—how you say?—Democratic Party. “Those two letters actually do matter,” Luntz said the other day. He added that he recently finished writing a book—it’s entitled “Words That Work”—and has been diligently going through the galley proofs taking out the hundreds of “ic”s that his copy editor, one of those partisan Dems, had stuck in.

"In days gone by, the anti-“ic” tic tended to be reined in at the Presidential level. Ronald Reagan never used it in polite company, and George Bush père was too well brought up to use the truncated version of the out party’s name more than sparingly. Not so Bush fils—and not just in e-mails sent to the Party faithful, which he obviously never reads, let alone writes. “It’s time for the leadership in the Democrat Party to start laying out ideas,” he said a few weeks ago, using his own personal mouth. “The Democrat Party showed its true colors during the tax debate,” he said a few months before that. “Nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for actually getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program,” he said a week before that. What he meant is anybody’s guess, but his bad manners were impossible to miss. Hard as it is to believe from this distance in time, George W. Bush came to office promising to “change the tone.” That he has certainly done. But, as with so much else, it hasn’t worked out quite the way he promised."