Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dwight D. Eisenhower just called...

Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks from the past in support of core progressive programs under attack in his day by fringe elements of obscure parties, which are now being seriously challenged by powerful, effective, and determined members of his own party today.


"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." ─President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952
The image comes via @TheRiverWanders on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Refudiate, Propulgate, Malaprop, Portmanteau, Art, Life

I realize I make this connection very, very late in the game, but it occurred to me this afternoon just how uncanny it is that Aaron Sorkin*, in The West Wing, prefigured Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's portmanteau malaprop "refudiate".
In the episode titled "Disaster Relief", fictional Vice President "Bingo Bob" Russell uses the word "propulgate" at a conference at the White House in the Roosevelt Room.

Gary Cole as VP Bob Russell in The West Wing

From the West Wing script:

VP Russell (played by Gary Cole): Excuse me, Toby, if I may. You're right, Congressman. If we lower cap gains taxes, we reward the small business owners who took a risk for the economy and I'd be the first in line to pat 'em on the back, but the thing is, the Speaker is trying to "propulgate" a tax bill onto an appropriations package. We start allowing that, we're never going to get budgets passed.
[Leo, Toby, and Will look confused at the VP's word choice.
* * *
CUT TO: INT. - WHITE HOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY
Leo and Will are walking through the hallway.]
LEO [con.] (played by John Spencer): ... although I'm pretty sure there's no such word as "propulgate". Maybe he meant "propagate", or "promulgate".
--The West Wing, from the episode titled Disaster Relief

John Spencer, Gary Cole, and Richard Schiff
The fact that the two neologisms rhyme is icing on the cake.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
*Credit for the prophetic malaprop perhaps should go to Alexa Junge, author of the teleplay.