What kind of bullshit is comparing Obamacare to slavery?

A couple years ago, Ben Carson made the mind-boggling statement that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Gobsmackingly, this statement has not come back to haunt him. Rather, as Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate, “What do Iowa Republicans think? Eighty-one percent say this makes him a ‘mostly’ or ‘very’ attractive candidate.” That makes 81% of me scared as hell of Iowa Republicans.

But what kind of bullshit is this? Glad you asked.

First, let’s closely look at the comparison. Obamacare is a program that led to over 16 million people getting health insurance, including me. Slavery was an institution in which people owned people, causing incomprehensible death, degradation, and damage. So it’s not exactly apples and oranges. It’s more like apples and Nazi Germany.

I’d say the best bullshit word for this is batshit. Batshit is a very common slang word for craziness these days, but it originally meant bullshit. Back in the 1950s, a bunch of batshit was simply a load of horse apples, malarkey, bunk, etc. The insane meaning gradually evolved, and these days batshit is almost exclusively used for cases and characters that are cuckoo-bananas.

But for Carson, we need to embrace batshit‘s past and present. Carson’s comparison is batshit in every way conceivable. He couldn’t be more batshit if he pooped a bat.


What kind of bullshit is “Washington: It’s a strip club”?

Republican candidate Mike Huckabee recently released a commercial with a fairly startling premise: “Washington: It’s a strip club. The political class dances for the donor class, and the working class gets stuck with the tab.”

While assaulting the world with the horrifying image of a politician gyrating onstage with a pole, Huckabee has dumped a metric buttload of bullshit on us. But what kind of bullshit?

I could probably apply 90% of the words in (shameless plug alert) my forthcoming book Bullshit: A Lexicon to Huckabee’s comparison, but I think the best one is bull pucky. It fits the folksy Huckabee, whose very name sounds like a word for bullshit, or maybe an object you can’t name. Huckabee isn’t that far from hoosiewhatsit and hickeymadoodle.

Bull pucky fits Huckabee’s comparison because it sounds like the kind of word some innocent fella–or at least one who wants you to think he’s innocent–would use while crying down hellfire upon the she-devils stirring up innocent loins in a diabolical dancing establishment.

“Bull pucky!” the rube would exclaim, denouncing the dancers while sneaking a peek in the window, just as Huckabee insults the strip club of Washington while droolingly applying to be the new manager.

What kind of bullshit is “America is not a planet”?

During last night’s Republican debate, Marco Rubio made some intriguing astronomical observations:

“We’re not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate. America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely. But America is not a planet.”

Obviously, this is a type of bullshit, but not just any type. Horseshit? Mumbo jumbo? Malarkey? Bunk? Actually, the climate part is a good example of bunk, but the planetary stuff is something else.

I reckon it’s ackamarackus.

Ackamarackus is a type of BS that’s big and showy and distracting: it’s a five-star circus of bamboozlement. This 1954 example from the Sunday Times (and the Oxford English Dictionary) gives a good sense of the word: “The story is about an American circus in Germany, a spiv who picks up a German floozie, a high diver who marries her, and a dumb giant who brings her wayside flowers. In fact, it is the old circus ackamarackus.”

Pointing out that America is not a planet as a way of excusing our duties to the planet is, as Sterling Archer would say “classic misdirection.” And it’s classic ackamarackus too: all that’s missing is a tiger (or elephant?) jumping through a flaming hoop.