No more ‘Democrat wars’ for GOP spinmeisters?

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Republicans have come up with another name for the opposing party — the right name.

For years now, the GOP has gone after “Democrat schemes,” “Democrat presidents,” “Democrat Congresses” — all phrases from the 1996 Republican platform, repeated many times since. Twenty years earlier, Bob Dole famously declared that all wars of the 20th century were “Democrat wars.”

On Tuesday, members of the Republican platform committee meeting in Minneapolis voted down a proposal to call the opposition the “Democrat Party” in the 2008 platform. Instead, they’ll go with the proper Democratic Party.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We probably should use what the actual name is,” said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the panel’s chairman. “At least in writing.”

In 1996, references to the Democratic Party were purged from a draft of the platform. As party leaders explained at the time, they wanted to make the subtle point that the Democratic Party had become elitist, no longer small-d democratic.

In the debate Tuesday, Jim Bopp of Indiana echoed that sentiment but said fair’s fair.

“We should afford them the respect that they are entitled and call them by their legal name.”