Let's begin with McMitt Romney. Funny how he always manages to engage our attention with things he is forced to explain later. Successfully groveling before the Conservative Political Action Conference (he did manage to win the straw vote!) McMitt weirdly referred to himself as a "severe" conservative. That got everybody's attention, Readers, in and out of the ideological fray. Today's Paul Krugman column in the New York Times, for example, was headed "Severe Conservative Syndrome," a hint of the medically-inspired terminology commonly attached to "severe": disabled, depressed, ill, etc. ...
If nothing else, Romney appears to have broken new ground for the word that Republicans have snagged to convince other Republicans that they are just as conservative as, say, Ronald Reagan. But Reagan, of course, is merely a convenient ad hoc throwback inasmuch it can be easily shown that the GOP icon presided over raised taxes, debt ceilings and budget deficits with the best of, eh, severe Democrats.
Still, Romney has revived Orwellian Duckspeak, which, you know, refers to people who talk without thinking.
Meantime, Romney's opponents have found other adjectives to repeat when they are in the company of two or more voters. McRick Santorum argues that he is the only "true" conservative in the crowd, shifting the focus from McNewt Gingrich, who also calls himself authentically tried and true, even more so than Santorum, if you really want to believe that.
Not to confuse you, but there are numerous other references to conservatism that show up regularly, depending on the audience in the hall. To wit: economic, social, ultra-right, Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, post-modern (Probably from George Will) and Neo-
For now, however, Romney has at least won the linguistic honors, Duckspeak be damned.
Or as Krugman concludes: "...you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism."
Modern American? That's a new one on me.