The Year Of ‘Repudiation’: For Republicans, 2010 Was All About The ‘R’ Word

Nov 5, 2010 4:28pm

ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:

It’s become the Republican equivalent of a four-letter word to curse Democrats with — except, in this case, it’s nine letters.

“Repudiate” and its variations appears to be the term of choice that the GOP is using to characterize the message voters sent to President Barack Obama and Democrats this week.

Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered up a dose of “repudiation” in his interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer on Thursday.

“When you have the most historic election in over 60, 70 years,” Boehner said, “you would think the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they've put forward in the last two years." 

Tea Party favorite and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also chimed in, telling ABC News in an election night interview: “Will the president take a lesson away from tonight? This is a profound repudiation of his policies.”

Whether it was the Democratic agenda, the expansion of government, ballooning spending or health care reform — Republicans seemed to be in agreement — all of it was “repudiated” on Tuesday night.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who helped usher in a similarly sweeping GOP victory in the mid-1990’s, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that 2010 was even “bigger than 1994.” To be clear, Gingrich said: “It’s a more decisive repudiation.”

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, likely the next budget chairman in the House, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on the day after the election that President Obama’s agenda “was just repudiated.”

But Ryan didn’t stop there.

“This was a repudiation of the direction the president and his party have taken the country,” he said. “Just like 2006 was a repudiation of Republicans who strayed from their principles and got soft on spending and government."

And days before voters handed Democrats their verdict, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the head of the Republican Governors Association, predicted on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: "If Republicans win, that’s what it will be — a repudiation of Obama’s policies.”

Keith Appell, a political and messaging strategist for conservative candidates and causes, said that the “notion of the 2010 campaign as an opportunity to repudiate the Obama agenda” can be traced to the feisty health care town hall meetings of 2009.

“People began saying back then that they’d remember in 2010 and campaign to roll back or repudiate the Obama agenda,” Appell, the senior vice president of CRC Public Relations, said. He added that the rumblings got louder after Democrats finally passed the health care bill.

“All along, the notion that all this needed to be repudiated grew more prominent in the conservative and Republican message,” Appell said. “There was also a nuanced evolution in tone from ‘this has to be repudiated’ to ‘this must be repudiated’ to ‘we will repudiate.’”

Pundits also can't help themselves. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan fit it into his post-election analysis on The American Conservative Web site: "The left has yet to grasp that the nation has repudiated it as well as Obama."

A four-month-old tweet from Sarah Palin may have been another reason the term spread like wildfire in GOP circles. In July Palin famously coined her own variation — “refudiate” — in reference to the controversy over a planned Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

“Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” she wrote. The tweet was soon deleted, but not before it sparked a few chuckles among the lexicographically inclined and earned an entry in Urban Dictionary.

With all the “repudiating” going on recently, it’s not surprising that the word has snuck its way into mainstream media references too: “Republicans say voters will repudiate Obama,” read a Reuters headline before Election Day.

And then there was an election night exchange between Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the left-leaning Nation magazine.

As Tuesday night’s results became clear Colbert, host of his eponymous “Colbert Report” joked to vanden Heuvel: “They hate you. They hate your policies. Apologize to America for the president!”

“I will not apologize,” she responded. But Colbert pressed: “Repudiate. Before the cock crows, repudiate him three times!”

“I will not repudiate,” said vanden Heuvel, putting an end to the war of words.


The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2010 – Katrina vanden Heuvel
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive


You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus