Plumbing the Depths of GOP Labels

I'm glad the recently released book by "Joe the Plumber" isn't selling that well. But seeing that pseudo-celebrity's name in the news again does give me food for thought.

The book's Fighting for the American Dream subtitle reminds me once more that the GOP's notion of that dream still doesn't reflect our country's diversity. Republicans are partial not only to individual monikers like "Joe the Plumber" (who's white) but to group monikers like "hockey moms" (who are mostly white) and "NASCAR dads" (who are also mostly white).

It's a "Southern Strategy" offshoot that's worked for years. But America's changing demographics now make Republican "monikerism" a tougher sell -- as exemplified by Barack Obama's presidential victory. So perhaps it's time for "The Party of Lincoln" (as in gas-guzzling Lincoln Navigators) to create new monikers to describe other voters it must reach if it wants to win more future elections.

How about "Sue the Social Worker"? "Basketball dads"? "Overscheduled parents stressed by low pay, crummy health insurance, and inadequate day care"? (Perhaps that last moniker could be a bit more concise.)

Republican "monikerism" does have the benefit of inspiring others to coin their own descriptions of people. For instance, I was tailgated last month, and loudly called the speeding driver a "NASCAR nincompoop." It was a feel-good moment ... until he shot out my tires. But, heck, the treads were threadbare anyway, and my subsequent hospitalization helped me reach my medical plan's high deductible.

After the one-second session of physical therapy allowed by my insurance, I boarded a train. There, the deafening chatter of cell-phone users made it hard for me to concentrate on a book (not Joe the Plumber's). So I informed the loud talkers that they merited the moniker of "hubbub boobies." It was another feel-good moment ... until an irate commuter hurled his cell phone into my open mouth. But, heck, after reflexively swallowing the thing I now have lots of free minutes. And the phone's "My Heart Will Go On" ringtone gave me the confidence to stop seeing a cardiologist.

Then I watched a cable-news show. Seeing commentators denounce Obama and other (relatively) progressive Democrats caused me to loudly label them "yahoo yammerers" -- referring, of course, to the boorish "Gulliver's Travel" characters rather than the Internet search engine. It was yet another feel-good moment ... until the irked commentators smashed their way out of my TV screen and used a large cable bill to beat me within a rating point of my life. But, heck, I'm getting more exercise without a working TV, and the attack-dog commentators are surprisingly docile if you walk them twice a day.

With increased exercise came a desire to see a football game in person. But whether you're a healthy "football dad" or an injured "football cousin-spleen-removed," it's hard getting into a pro football stadium these days without a "personal seat license." The prospect of paying a fabulously wealthy team owner thousands of dollars for the right to buy a seat caused me to call him "Ben the Bankrupter" to his face. It was yet another feel-good moment ... until the owner had me arrested for labeling him without buying a "personal labeling license." But, heck, I quickly bailed myself out of jail with "Monopoly" money matching the team's colors. And while giving up the "Monopoly" money means I can no longer play that board game, I'm now a "Scrabble dad."

Seems I've strayed from politics, so let's return to that subject. How can the GOP get more votes in the future, even if it doesn't diversify its monikers? Perhaps by assembling a synergistic coalition of "hockey moms" and "NASCAR dads." The key would be to get each group interested in each other's sport. NASCAR vehicles could race against ice-rink Zambonis, which reach dizzying speeds of a few miles per hour. To even the odds, NASCAR drivers could steer only with their feet after a tutorial from "soccer moms."