Monday Open Thread: Scary Phrases In Politics

I’ve noticed that typically Monday mornings tend to be pretty slow around here. Which isn’t surprising, as none of us are quite able to make a career out of blogging (yet), and need to go to our real jobs. So here’s the first of (hopefully) many Monday Open Threads…

I’ll give you the first theme. Words that raise the red flags in your mind when you hear politicians use them. My first comes from this post:

Unfair Competition

If you hear those two words come out of a politician’s mouth, you know that he’s not trying to create fair competition, he’s trying to put a stop to competition with regulation. They don’t want free competition, they want “managed” competition. I.e. no competition at all…

So what are yours? What phrases, when you hear a politician say them, make the hairs on the back of your neck rise up, as you know whatever follows them is bound to be very bad?

  • Kevin

    “I’m here to help”

    “The middle class and the poor are being screwed”

    “Outsourcing American jobs”

  • Mark T

    “Create a level playing field” or “Level the playing field”

    Anyone standing on a playing field being leveled will be run over by heavy equipment.

  • Jason


  • trumpetbob15

    “Clean up corruption”

    and lately, “Global warmning” or “foreign oil dependence”

  • John Newman


  • John Newman

    “bipartisan support”

  • Doug Mataconis



    “fair trade”

  • Wild Pegasus

    A short lexicon of politicians:

    “Free markets” – public cost, private profit
    “Development” – free land, subsidies, and tax breaks to whoever greases the right palms, q.v. “Revitalization”
    “Free trade” – not free trade
    “Anarchy” – disorder resulting from oppression
    “Freedom fighters” – terrorists you pay for
    “Terrorists” – terrorists you used to pay for
    “Democracy” – oligarchy
    “Initiative” – money without oversight, often paired with “Development”
    “Social” – state
    “War” – crime
    “Crime” – untaxable commerce
    “Election” – advance auction of stolen goods
    “Government” – mafia

    – Josh

  • Matt

    “Protection”. Any time some politician wants the government to “protect” me, rather than provide “defence” or “regulate” something, it usually means that I’m about to lose some more liberty for a dubious putative gain in public safety.

  • tarran

    “for the children”

    “we owe it to ourselves”

    “investing in our community”

    “preserving property values”

    “sustainable development”

  • TerryP

    free trade

    There ought to be a law

    For the Children


  • mike

    “the children” or “the future.” These are paired together quite often.

    “freedom.” It’s not always bad, but it’s been used so often the word has become quite watered down to the point where it is unusual if a politician gives a speech on foreign policy and doesn’t mention freedom 10-15 times. Quite often it means anything but.

    Anytime a typical McCain/Giuliani/Romney Republican mentions Ronald Reagan, James Madison, or Thomas Jefferson. I know what’s going to come next is the antithesis of what those men stood for.

  • Wild Pegasus

    Reagan, Madison, and Jefferson stood for different things.

    – Josh

  • tarran

    Yet all three would be horrified at socialized health-care.

  • mike

    “Yet all three would be horrified at socialized health-care.”

    Precisely. All three men stood for different things, yet politicians (especially Republicans) are almost obligated to throw their names around in any major policy speech. If one of their names is mentioned, I can almost guarantee that what is going to follow will have nothing to do with what that particular man stood for.

  • tkc

    Most of my favorites have already been taken with the exception of ‘sensible gun control’ which is something that almost always denies sensibility.

    The anarcho-capitalist streak in me abhors ‘we need…’ and ‘our country…’. The first assumes the politician knows what I need, which is bull. The second assumes ownership of things which don’t belong to them. In the end, both ‘we need’ and ‘our counrty’ are political-speak for, “I want X and you’re going to pay for it.”

  • js290