Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Did Michele Bachmann Coin the Phrase "Frugal Socialists?"

Bookmark and Share

The phrase has appeared sporadically in the media in various political contexts over the last few decades

michelebachmann07.jpgMinnesota U.S. Representative and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann made some much-needed headlines in Washington, D.C. Monday when, during a speech before the Family Research Council, she had this to say about her fellow 2012 White House hopefuls:

"Unfortunately for too many Republicans, they also aspire to be frugal socialists...We can't preserve liberty if the choice is between a frugal socialist and an out-of-control socialist."

The thinly-veiled jab at frontrunners like Mitt Romney and Herman Cain gave Bachmann a media bump after her dismal polling numbers had rendered her virtually invisible in recent weeks, even before the Cain sexual harassment scandal broke.

But while Bachmann has received significant mileage today with the "frugal socialist" concept, the question remains: did she really coin this phrase?

Not quite.

Smart Politics has unearthed a handful of examples in the U.S. and international media in which "frugal socialist" or "frugal socialism" has been used, including one as recently as this August.

In an August 25, 2011 article in London's Daily Mail, the paper used the phrase in an attack piece against former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

"Who, other than the two people involved, can say what really happened in that hotel suite, for which the ever-frugal socialist DSK reportedly paid a mere $3,000 a night?" - Daily Mail (August 25, 2011)

The Associated Press also used the term in an article on immigration to Israel a few years ago:

"The end of mass immigration comes as Israelis have lost some of their self-confidence, bogged down in their 41-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, perceiving their country to be under weak, corrupt leadership, nostalgic for the frugal socialist era." - Aaron Heller, Associated Press (September 6, 2008)

And other examples from around the globe:

"Anyway, sitting or otherwise, taxpayers can rest assured that all the overseas business practically every minister so diligently attended to during the last recess will be capably followed up next week when a group of frugal socialists doing their best for you, the workers, will depart New Zealand." - National Business Review (New Zealand) (May 19, 2006)

We must adjust to the changes in the world by mobilizing our society, hoping that the Soviet Union can sustain and reconsolidate itself while we put in place our own alternatives. Because we are not a rich country, Cuba will always have a frugal socialism, even as we continue to develop. - Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, San Francisco Chronicle (December 19, 1990)

"The Liberal Party, not to be outdone by the frugal socialists, is toying with a truly splendid money saving idea - something called "actuarial rating" for medical insurance. I heard Wilson Tuckey, the opposition spokesman on health, advocating this system last year." - Herald (UK) (March 7, 1988)

So will decrying "frugal socialism" become Bachmann's new catchphrase as she enters into the next crucial eight weeks before the Iowa caucuses?

Perhaps, but, the half-life of catchphrases in politics can be short-lived.

Just ask Democratic Missouri U.S. Representative Emmanuel Cleaver, who borrowed the phrase "Satan sandwich" earlier this summer in reference to a House deficit-reduction compromise plan.

The plan passed and the phrase disappeared.

Now, while Smart Politics is not suggesting Representative Bachmann or her campaign were aware of previous usages of the phrase, she may want to reconsider any thoughts she may have of ordering in bulk "End Frugal Socialism" t-shirts for her campaign website.

Because Herman Cain is likely to come up with a phrase that is just as memorable over the next 24 hours.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Which State's US Senators are Drawn from the House at the Highest Rate?
Next post: No Appointment Necessary (in AZ, MD, UT, WI)

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting