A Curmudgeonly Potpourri

by The Occasional Curmudgeon
Friday October 12, 2012 - 09:40:00 AM

As a public service to assist readers in their preparation for the upcoming elections, yr. hmbl. (crmdgn.) svt. has assembled an informal guide for negotiating the 2012 political labyrinth.

Deciphering the Code

To be properly informed today, it’s important to develop translation skills to understand what candidates are really saying. As in George Orwell’s 1984, phrases or pronouncements spoken by today’s politicians often mean their opposite. Here are a few examples: 

  • “I would have used different words.” (Mitt Romney, responding to Rush Limbaugh’s evisceration of Sandra Fluke.) Translation: “I agree with Rush, she’s a slut.”
  • “Legitimate rape” (Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., during a local TV interview) = “She asked for it.”
  • “Another method of conception” (Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan referring to rape in a recent TV appearance) = “She asked for it and now has to live with the consequences.”
  • “He’s not like us.” (Sarah Palin, referring to Barak Obama.) = “He’s black and smart.”
  • “If you elect me, I will protect the essential nature of our neighborhoods.” (Heard on the radio while driving through Pittsburgh a few years ago during an election for city council.) = “I’ll keep the blacks and Hispanics out.”
  • “American values” = Entitlement by banks and corporations to lie, cheat, steal, and avoid paying taxes.
  • “Citizens United” = Citizens divided.
  • “Compassionate conservatism” = Rolling back the New Deal.
  • “Rampant socialism” = Obamacare.
  • “Government bailouts” = Mechanism by which corrupt, mismanaged, and overreaching corporations “too big to fail” transfer their debts onto the backs of taxpayers.
  • “I will move America forward.” (Romney, in numerous campaign speeches.) = “I will return America to the nineteenth century.”
  • “The brave men and women of our armed forces.” = “As long as they aren’t my kids.”

Suggested Campaign Slogans 


Today’s politics being more theater to entertain the electorate than a calling to address the exigencies of a troubled nation – the rhetoric obfuscatory and deceptive – I think it’s time we of the reality-based community had campaign slogans that really tell it like it is. Here are some suggestions:  

  • “Torment the poverty-stricken: vote Republican”
  • “Romney for President: because he’s entitled to it!”
  • “The U.S. should be run by those who own it: vote Republican”
  • “America: Freedom to be poor, uneducated, and sick”
  • “Protect corporate welfare: Romney for President”
  • “Reelect Obama: hope against hope he gets it right this time”
  • “Reelect Tom Bates: because he needs the work”
  • “Bates for mayor: because Loni wants him out of the house”
  • “Tom Bates: he never met a developer he didn’t like”
  • “High rises in Berkeley? Reelect Tom Bates”
Some Quotes For Our Times… …that still ring true: 


  • “It takes nerve to be a Democrat and money to be a Republican.” – Will Rogers
  • “Libertarians are Republicans who just want to smoke dope and get laid.” – Anonymous
  • “The Republicans believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.” – Barney Frank
  • “There is a story that God gave humans the truth...and the devil popped up and said, ‘Let’s organize this into religion.’” – Anonymous
  • “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” -- Isaac Asimov, Newsweek interview, 1980 (e.g., evolution vs. Creationism, and thank you Michelle Bachmann.)
  • “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” – Anatole France (Dedicated to Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan.)
  • “It would be a good idea.” – Mahatma Gandhi, when asked his opinion of “Western Civilization”
Bumper Sticker Wisdom… 

…seen recently in the East Bay: 

  • “Republicans for Voldemort”
  • “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”
  • “Where are we going – and why am I in this hand-basket?”
  • “Don’t believe everything you think.”
  • Be kind to one another…and begin the preparation of your immigration documents for Canada now – just in case.

Till we rant again, 


– Duh Curmudge 


The Occasional Curmudgeon is Berkeley writer David Esler