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Snow Job: Bush's "Democrat Party" Taunt

October 16, 2007

When former White House press secretary Tony Snow announced his resignation in August, he claimed his departure was motivated by his need for "dough." Appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday night, it turns out Snow is content to shill for President Bush for free.
Rejecting the assertion that Bush was far from the self-proclaimed "uniter" of GOP lore, Snow pooh-poohed Stewart's example that a petulant, mean-spirited President intentionally taunted his Democratic opponents by calling theirs the "Democrat Party." As it turns out, of course, what Snow implied was a slip of the presidential tongue is in fact a deliberate Bush tactic. (A quick Google search of the White House web site shows 39 examples of the "Democrat Party" slur, over 20 of them from Bush himself.)
In the wake of the "thumping" the Republicans received in the 2006 midterm elections, President Bush feebly tried to feign a spirit of cooperation with the victorious Democratic leadership. While Bush couldn't help himself the day after the GOP disaster ("it is clear the Democrat Party had a good night last night"), the President at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in February 2007 tried to laugh off his gambit with a nod to his legendary rhetorical incontinence:

"The last time I looked at some of your faces, I was at the State of the Union, and I saw kind of a strange expression when I referred to something as the Democrat Party. Now, look, my diction isn't all that good. (Laughter.) I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. (Laughter.) And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party. (Laughter and applause.)"

But as a quick walk down memory lane will show, George W. Bush used the term "Democrat Party" early and often, a practice he continues even today. As the chronology reflects, the closer Bush is to election time, the more frequently his pre-pubescent "Democrat Party" name-calling becomes a Bush staple:

"And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad [by]." (September 20, 2007)
"There are people in my party that don't want a comprehensive bill; there are people in the Democrat Party that don't seem to want a comprehensive bill." (June 11, 2007)
"On these issues, the Democrat Party has adopted a clear strategy of opposition and obstruction." (November 5, 2006, 3 mentions)
"Time and time again, when she and the Democrat party had a chance to show their love -- (laughter) -- they voted, no. (Laughter.) If that's their idea of love I sure would hate -- I'd hate to see what hate looks like. (Laughter.)" (November 2, 2006)
"Time and time again, when she and the Democrat Party had an opportunity to show their love for tax cuts, they voted no." (October 30, 2006)
"There are people in the Democrat Party who think they can spend your money far better than you can." (October 30, 2006, 6 mentions)
"It's interesting, if you look at the history of tax cuts, the Democrat Party always -- didn't always feel the way they feel today." (October 19, 2006, 4 mentions)
"And those are some of the voices, by the way, in the Democrat Party." (October 11, 2006)
"Make no mistake about it. The Democrat Party is anxious to get their hands on your money." (October 3, 2006)
"And there are a lot of people in the Democrat Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done, period." (August 21, 2006)
"There's an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq." (June 14, 2006)
"I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program." (March 21, 2006)
"And one area that we need to make progress on is with the Democrat Party." (November 7, 2005, 3 mentions)
"First of all, the Republican Party should never take a vote for granted, and neither should the Democrat Party." (October 5, 2005)
"I think it's time for the leadership in the Democrat Party to start laying out ideas." (June 23, 2005)
"It's the issue confronting people in the Democrat Party, issue people confronting in the Republican Party." (May 19, 2005)
"You know the Democrat Party left you, you didn't leave it." (October 31, 2004)
"As the Mayor puts it, he didn't leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party under John Kerry left him." (October 28, 2004)
"With that record, he stands in opposition not just to me, but to the great tradition of the Democrat Party." (October 27, 2004)
"Does the Democrat Party take African American voters for granted?" (July 23, 2004)
"As you know, I'm a proud member of the Republican Party. I'm traveling today with proud members of the Democrat Party. But we're all proud Americans, first and foremost." (January 31, 2002)

President Bush, of course, is far from alone in deploying the Reaganesque "Democrat Party" taunt for Republican fun and frolic. His first press secretary Ari Fleischer went to that well almost as soon he reached the podium in 2001. Scott McClellan followed suit. On his way out, Karl Rove offered the press corps one more "Democrat Party" razzing for the road. And just two weeks ago, Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston taunted his Democratic colleagues on the House floor, most recently in defense of Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" slander.
While all wish Tony Snow a full and fast recovery from his bout with cancer, it remains clear he has not been cured of his chronic smugness and apparently untreatable dissembling. As for his ex-boss, President Bush too appears beyond redemption.
UPDATE: The Daily Show web site has now posted both Part 1 and Part 2 of Jon Stewart's interview with Tony Snow.

2 comments on “Snow Job: Bush's "Democrat Party" Taunt”

  1. If the Bush Admin didn't intend the insult, and wasn't trying to propagate the puerile slur, they'd be noting Bush's errors in the White House transcripts. To the point... you don't see a "[sic]" notation in the transcripts, for Bush's repeated "mistake" in saying Democrat Party.
    Also, in the transcripts you cited, Bush used "Democrat" 37 times, to only 1 time for "Democratic." (Again, with no "sic" noting his error.)
    It could be noted, though, that the same google search, modified w/ the correcting "ic", turns up 140 hits. So the 37-1 ratio doesn't reflect the overall ratio.
    A deeper review would be needed to determine the overall ratio -- but it is fact that the White House is propagating the slur by failing to note Bush's "mistakes" in the transcripts.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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