Dear Republicans: Will You End Your Use of “Killing” Language?

Right wingers such as Republican Congress members , “patriots,” and tea partiers have learned that it helps them with their “base” to use the words like “killing” and “killers” and “death.”  For instance, they used “baby killer” to refer to abortion providers and, in particular, Bill O’Reilly and many others used “Tiller the Baby Killer” to refer to abortion-provider Dr. George Tiller who, as we all know, was assassinated by an anti-abortion zealot.  Also, the estate tax, in right-wing terms, came to be known as the “death tax.”

Of late, the most popular term used by Republican Congress members has been “job-killing.”  It became easy (and politically helpful with their base) for them to tack “job-killing” onto anything they disagreed with.  For instance, as reported by Leslie Savan in The Nation, their response to the 9/11 first responders health bill was that the bill was a “massive job-killing new entitlement program.”  In addition, as reported by Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein, Republican Congress members talk of “job-killing legislation and “job-killing regulations.”  “Big deficits are always ‘job-killing,’ which might come as something of a surprise to all you Keynesians out there.”  There are “job-killing spending binge[s]” and “job-killing stimulus projects.”  Republicans say that “President Obama runs a ‘job-killing administration’ with a ‘job-killing agenda’ carried out by, you guessed it, a ‘job-killing bureaucracy‘” and that the entire federal government is a “job-killing machine.”

The Republicans’ most recent egregious recent use of “job-killing” was to actually place it in the name of their bill to repeal health care reform: “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”  (Introduced by far-right-wing House majority leader Eric Cantor no less.)  According to experts, this is the only time that “job-killing” has ever appeared in the title of a bill.

The Republicans know that the bill will not pass and, in fact, almost certainly hope that there will never be any debate on the bill since that would only show the voters how repealing the health care bill would hurt them.  They also know that the health care bill does not “kill” jobs.  The only reason they introduced the bill was to check off a campaign promise.

In addition, as Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein writes, the way the Republicans use “kill” and “death” is a “GOP canard” and takes our eyes off real deaths.  Pearlstein says:

“What’s particularly noteworthy about this fixation with ‘job killing’ is that it stands in such contrast to the complete lack of concern about policies that kill people rather than jobs. Repealing health-care reform, for instance, would inevitably lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths each year because of an inability to get medical care.”

And so, now, in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shootings, and the Republicans’ statements that they supposedly want to tone down the heated political rhetoric, it might be time for them to stop using terms like “killing” and death.  A concrete signal would be for them to rename the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”  Does anyone think that will actually happen?

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