The top 10 ways the House GOP are like my two-year-old daughter

The idea for this Father’s Day post came when I was putting my daughter to bed a few weeks ago, and she started to repeat, “Want tiny dog” — one of her favorite stuffed animals.  The room was dark, and so I asked, “Is tiny dog in the crib?”  to which she replied, “Not yet” or, rather, you have to imagine a certain sly lilt, “Not ye-et,” which might be translated as, “You have to find him if you expect me to go to sleep.”

As I’m crawling around the room looking to see if she’s tossed him on the floor or if he somehow got under the furniture, she said, “Must be frustrating.”  And so a post was born.

Since the floor debate on the Waxman-Markey climate and clean energy legislation is coming up (though probably not this week), let me, without further ado, offer

The Top 10 Ways the House GOP are like my Two-Year-Old daughter

10.  Core messaging is often infantile. It was, after all, on September 3, 2008 at 10:14 pm EST at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, that the entire GOP decided to make their central message a plea to the very youngest Americans — see “Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died.

9.  Similar messaging tactics.  GOP messaging guru Frank Luntz once said, “There’s a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it, is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time.”  In my daughter’s case, the target audience is very small, and, her message, some variant  “Today is Carousel day,” gets heard the first time and the tenth.  For the GOP, the target audience is bigger, but the polling suggests that most people long ago understood they like drilling to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.

8.  Very ego-centric.  My daughter has become fond of saying of various things around the house, “Mine!  Mine!  It’s mine!”  In the same vein, former House leader Gingrich is fond of saying, “I am not a citizen of the world!

7.  Love nonsense phrases that amuse them, if no one else.  See House GOP leader Boehner on ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”

6.  Unable to accurately restate things they have just heard — and once they get it wrong, they just keep repeating the mistake. My daughter keeps calling the plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex figure “Steggy.”  Similarly, the GOP keeps claiming there is an MIT analysis of Waxman-Markey that says the cost per household would be $3100 (see “MIT Professor tells GOP to stop ‘misrepresenting’ his work and inflating the cost to families of cap-and-trade by a factor of 10” and then again three weeks later, MIT Professor says GOP, Weekly Standard “misrepresentation” of his April 2007 study to project costs for Waxman-Markey is “inappropriate,” “silly” and “just wrong”).

5.  Love to hear and/or sing the same song over and over again. In my daughter’s case, that would be “Waltzing Matilda” (see “I just learned two shocking things“).  In the GOP case, it is the “Cheney energy plan.”

4.  Unable to understand or acknowledge the consequences of their actions. See House GOP pledge to fight all action on climate. “Why do conservatives hate your children?”

3.  Masters of delaying tactics (though, admittedly, not as successfully as their Senate colleauges).  See “House GOP puts forward 450 amendments to Waxman-Markey” and “Waxman’s speed-reading clerk “” hired to thwart GOP stalling tactics “” gets 2 minutes of fame“).

2.  Hate to change; can’t do it by themselves.  ‘Nuff said.

1.  Favorite word is “no.” For a while, my daughter went through a phase where her favorite word was “never” — pronounced, “Neveh!”  Then she went through the standard “no” phase.  Now her favorite word is “stop.”  Same for House (and Senate) GOP, it would seem.

Of course, unlike the GOP, my daughter is adorable, eager to learn new things, and will grow out of her infantile messaging and worldview.

Happy Father’s day to all the Dad’s out there.

23 Responses to The top 10 ways the House GOP are like my two-year-old daughter

  1. Joe Hunkins says:

    Joe your daughter is very adorable but I hope with this Father’s Day post you have not turned her into a future Republican political activist.

  2. Gail says:

    AWWWW. She is absolutely gorgeous! No wonder you work tirelessly to save her future.

  3. PaulK says:


    Scientifically speaking, the picture of your daughter proves that you (like me) married well. Happy Father’s Day.

    P.S. On Mother’s Day 3 times the normal number of long distance calls are made. On Father’s Day there’s 10% fewer calls, but 4 times the normal number of collect calls are made.

  4. Peter Croft says:

    I would like to see more focus on COP-15. In particular what the US needs to get done between now and December to try and get the best outcome from the negotiations.

    ““My big lesson from the Kyoto era is that it’s really important that the government delegation that represents the United States is in close touch with the Senate, with the elected officials on what’s acceptable and what’s not,” says de Boer, and he adds:

    “I think that a major shortcoming of Kyoto was that the official delegation came back with a treaty they knew was never going to make it through the Senate. And this time I have the feeling that the communication is much stronger, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, through John Kerry, is really expressing strongly what they feel needs to be done in Copenhagen.”

  5. Number 1 way your daughter is different from the House GOP leadership:

    Your daughter will grow up.

  6. Omega Centauri says:

    You already pretty much said it, your daughter is cute -unlike any republicans. Also unlike the later, it will be possible to teach her evidence based, rather than propaganda-based thinking. The only science the republicans know and respect is pyschological marketing techniques. They are eager students/practitioners of that field. I don’t think you can be both a practioner of such campaigns, and be a clear thinker.

  7. David B. Benson says:

    What Gary Herstein said.

    Anway, happy father’s day! :-)

  8. Oh yeah: Hear! Hear! Happy Father’s Day!

  9. Leland Palmer says:

    What a beautiful child.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    Happy Father’s Day!!

  10. James Newberry says:

    Also, with Independence Day near, happy Father’s Day to the founders of the nation – the fathers of the concept of American Revolution.

  11. Dave says:

    Hey Joe, great post. Your daughter sure is adorable! Hope you had a pleasant Father’s Day!

  12. kkloor says:

    Am I the only one who finds the use of his child’s picture for a blog post to score cheap political points a little off-putting?

    [JR: It’s called humor. And father’s day.]

  13. Pangolin says:

    You’re right on target Joe. My republican dad actually used to have tantrums. Jumping up and down, squeezing his eyes tight shut and everything. Never voted Dem. in his life.

    Let’s not forget magical thinking also. What toddler doesn’t believe that the world produces cookies and juice by magic, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the monster under the bed and boogymen in the closet. We won’t even talk about what happens to messes and who cleans them up.

    In a similar fashion the GOP insists that there is an endless supply of oil, natural gas and coal. They seem to believe that because the products of burning fossil fuels are not immediately fatal (usually) then they aren’t really causing problems. They believe that Ronald Reagan wasn’t suffering from dementia for his entire second term AND that he lowered taxes. (the Tooth Fairy raised payroll taxes and raided the social security trust fund to pay for deficits) They believe anything Rush Limbaugh says and most of what Anthony Watts says which is pretty close to bogeyman stories.

    Ultimately they believe that if you just say that problems don’t exist that they really go away in real life. If that isn’t right up there with any toddler’s magical thinking I don’t know what is.

  14. Lou Grinzo says:

    kkloor: “Am I the only one who finds the use of his child’s picture for a blog post to score cheap political points a little off-putting?”


    Am I the only one in this discussion who disagrees with the “cheap political points” characterization, and finds tying that to Joe’s photo of his daughter a lot off-putting?

    I suspect not.

    The bottom line is that the “do it for the kids” angle, simple generational responsibility, is what drives many of us who are fighting relentlessly to educate and activate mainstreamers on the topics of peak oil and climate chaos. As I’ve said repeatedly online, they’re all our kids, even if they don’t share our DNA.

  15. Dennis says:

    your daughter will be a teenager some day — good luck with that.

    In the case of the GOP — does that mean they’ll stop talking altogether?

  16. Gail says:

    Lou, thank you for taking that on. A small caveat – do we not all share the same DNA, as we’re all human? If you go back far enough, we share life with all creatures on earth – creatures that we are fast exterminating.

    What drives me to relentlessly focus on the perils of climate change is not just my own children – terrified though I am on their behalf- but the unfathomably hideous prospect that all of the splendid things created by the human imagination – from literature to paintings to architecture to sculpture to scrumptious recipes – will ultimately be lost, since we depend, though we may not realize it, on the vast and interlinked ecosystems on land and in the oceans. We are laying waste to our own habitat, destroying all forms of life from butterflies to fish to trees.

    Humans are so greedy and stupid!

    We really should focus on our children and what we need to do to assure them a future life that is safe and fulfilling, instead of trying to figure out how to buy more junk. Americans in particular create staggering amounts of waste.

  17. Wow! Delightful !

    Other ways she is unlike the GOP: you love and enjoy her company, listen to her words, and sometimes you may indulge her and give in to her unreasonable demands.

  18. Dorothy says:

    So I might have got it wrong. In the article I wrote for West Coast Climate Equity on June 3, “The View from Across the Potomac River” [], I imagined the climate change deniers in the House as insane and compared them to Chimps. But maybe you’ve nailed it, Joe; they’re just infantile.

    Gail and Lou are correct: If we were all to focus on our children, what a difference it would make. When I first read in 2002 that the summer Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2050, I was truly frightened. I thought, “My grandchildren will be alive when that happens,” and turned into a climate change activist overnight. Now, science has learned better, and it looks like I’ll be alive as well. El Nino is back, and we have all sorts of warming heading our way. Maybe this will be the year the Republican members of Congress realize we’re really in trouble and start to grow up.

    Joe, I don’t think I’ve seen a lovelier little girl. I’m sending her a virtual hug, and please tell her there are a lot of us out here who care about her and will keep her in our thoughts.

    Thank you. You’re a gread dad.

  19. Dano says:

    She is darling! And so much more together than the GOoPers.



  20. ken levenson says:

    What a cutie!
    My daughter Amelia will be 3 in August – and your list rings true.

    I find it comforting to note that as our daughters are reaching ages of maturity, responsibility and power, the (forever?) infantile GOPers will largely be senile or dead. Can’t come fast enough.

  21. Ed says:


    Market forces will like to keep her in that blisfull state of ignorence and denial. They need to keep her from growing up in order to keep her a satisfied and happy customer living in a consumer orientated world of strip malls, online shopping paradises and other institutions designed to mortgage and credit away her future for the sake of the credo of the GOP as formulated by its great visionary leader George W. Bush while standing on the rubble of the WTC:

    “Lets go shopping”

    But there excists an antidote to all economic infiltration into our live. It is not written by Marx and Engels but by Benjamin Barber and its called “Consumed, how markets corrupt children, infantalize adults, and swallow citizens whole”. So learn her how to read and make this the book she learns it by :-). If you would by any chance not have read it yourself, its a great read for adults as well, it cut short my own shopping addiction in 1 week (and saved me thousands of dollars on high street shit which o only contribution to my live was to clutter up my appartment and stress me with missing wallwarts (150 wallwarts was the last count)).


    Ed Kuipers

  22. Pat says:


    How could you compare your daughter to the Republicans? That is not nice.

  23. Jen York says:

    I would vote that cute little face into office, haha!