Iowa Politics with Jeff Stein — Fri. Jul. 31, 2020

Iowa Politics with Jeff Stein — Fri. Jul. 31, 2020

Dog Whistle Words

You’ve heard that term…in politics and rhetoric, it means uttering a phrase that will immediately lead hardcore followers to take action. Sort of like blowing one of those whistles that only dogs can hear, and they come running. 

Those on the left love saying that when a Republican uses certain phrases or terms, that they are “dog whistle” words. But perhaps they make such a big deal out of those, because they themselves do it worse.

How about the phrase “working people”…as in, “we’re just here to support the working people of this country”. Ever ask a Democrat what they mean by that? They have a hard time defining it. I work a lot of hours…do I count? Bet not. Do they mean only those who do manual labor, real work? Or, more likely traditionally, do they mean union workers who vote for Democrats?

It’s a good phrase because most of us think we work…so it’s a dog whistle for the base, with the hope that they can draw other “workers” in.

Another favorite…”the rich”…as in, “we need rich people to pay their fair share”. Careful about cheering on any soak the rich measures, because often the politician defining rich includes you. None of us thinks we’re rich, monetarily…at least so long as someone else out there has more. So sure, tax the rich…wait, you mean families making how much? We make that and we’re not rich. But again, it sounds good, especially since…again…no one thinks taxing the rich means them.

Phrases like these, and calling something a cut when it’s really not, as we’ve talked about recently, are getting thrown around more and more lately. Warning about being hooked by buzzwords without substance.