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GUEST OPINION: Solomon offers doubletalk on Huffman


With the possible exception of L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction novelist who founded Scientology, it’s not often that a writer gets the opportunity to test their own theories in the real world. But Norman Solomon seems intent on creating that opportunity for himself.

In his mass-market paperback, “Power of Babble: The Politician’s Dictionary of Buzzwords and Doubletalk for Every Occasion,” published in 1992, Solomon advised, “Don’t shy away from timeworn doubletalk, any more than you would avoid bullets in a gun because others just like them have been used before. It’s true that the wrong cliché, ill-chosen and poorly aimed, can shoot you in the foot. But the right one will find its mark: the voter.”

Norman Solomon (PD FILE, 2012)

Norman Solomon (PD FILE, 2012)

In March, Solomon began a campaign apparently intended to scare seniors, create division in the Democratic Party and discredit Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, for not signing a pledge which only 25 of the 535 members of the 113th Congress chose to lend their name. He claimed that Huffman was throwing seniors under the bus.

The truth is that Huffman, who defeated Solomon in the June primary election last year, was one of the first members of Congress to make clear his strong support for protecting Social Security and his opposition to the chained CPI that is included in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal. In fact, Huffman had already signed a letter along with a majority of the House Democratic Caucus — more than 100 signers — stating their unequivocal and specific opposition to any cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, including chained CPI.

Solomon’s “pledge” is a ruse. During his campaign, Huffman made a promise to voters that he would not engage in politics based on any “Norquist-style” pledges. But Solomon knows that. That’s why he continues to babble even though his original approach has been proven false by Huffman’s steadfast leadership to maintain the integrity of earned benefits such as Social Security.

Perhaps that is why, in a recent opinion piece (“Promise not to cut is nothing like tax pledge,” Close to Home, April 10) Soloman resorts to “double speak.” He appears to be taking credit for the fact that Huffman is opposing the cuts proposed by the president; even though he never signed a pledge to do what he was already doing.

Confused? That’s the point of “double speak.” It is a technique intended to confuse and to frighten.

Claiming someone wants to cut Social Security is a “hot button” issue. When the claim is untrue, it’s a lie.

Claiming credit for pressuring a member of Congress to take a stand that he or she had already taken in public and numerous times is doubletalk of the worst kind.

At some point, enough is enough. As chairmen for the Marin and Sonoma County Democratic parties, we feel it is necessary to call this kind of destructive babble what it is and to make clear that this type of rhetoric, designed to divide Democrats and to scare senior citizens, has no place in local politics.

Stephen Gale is chairman of the Sonoma County Democratic Party. Paul Cohen is chairman of the Marin County Democratic Party.

15 Responses to “GUEST OPINION: Solomon offers doubletalk on Huffman”

  1. Norman Solomon Doubletalk on Jobs says:

    In the Power of Babble page 139 Solomon offers this “jobs jobs jobs” defined as “carrots carrots carrots to dangle dangle dangle”. That’s the advice he was serving up to politicians in 1992. In 2009 he was “co chair” of the a phony self serving Commission on Green Jobs with Lisa Maldonado…it’s gotta be a little embarrassing that the executive director of the NBLC fell for this fraud.

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  2. brenda says:

    @Norman Solomon

    “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.” George S. Kaufman.

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  3. Norman Solomon on Sellers of Alcohol says:

    In the Power of Babble, Norman Solomon’s 1992 dictionary for politician’s, page 73 he defines “drug-free America” as a buzz word as follows: ” The nation’s biggest and most dangerous drug pushers–tobacco companies and alcohol sellers–have no reason to fear calls for a “drug free America” by politicians who wouldn’t dream of taking on the cigarette and booze industries.”


    So Norman Solomon is a candidate for Congress who wants to represent one of the world’s premier wine region’s with all the economic benefits that goes with that status and he considers the grape growers, wineries, distributors and related supplies “dangerous” drug pushers? How will that work?

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  4. Norman Solomon on Ethics says:

    Norman Solomon had some words of wisdom for politicians in his 1992 book “the Power of Babble” on ethics. He defined ethics as “not getting linked to shady financial transactions, overt influence peddling, plagiarism of speeches, extramarital affairs, cheating back in college, etc. Usage: The operative political definition is so narrow that few subjects are discussed as ethical matters. You won’t have to worry about having your “ethics” impugned if, for instance, you countenance racial or gender discrimination, or accept the suffering of huge numbers of poor children due to inadequate nutrition, housing, and health care; “ethics” in political parlance does not relate to such matters.” page 83

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  5. The Power of Babble... says:

    “Ambiguity that sounds forthright is a politician’s best rhetorical friend. Strive to present your expedient choices as acts of courage; when you stoke the lowest common prejudices, do so with visionary hot air. Keep flattering voters.”

    Norman Solomon in the Introduction to his book the Power of Babble
    published in 1992 and now he is running for Congress…again.

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  6. Solomon is a DINO says:

    @ Elephant
    Use the DINO term correctly. DINO is Democrat is name only. Solomon registered to vote as a Democrat in Marin County in 2007 for one reason to run for Congress. Before that he was a Green and a critic of Dems.

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  7. Jean Anderson says:

    Who’s the bigger Psycho? Norman Solomon or Norman Bates?

    It’s a toss-up.

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  8. Demosthenes says:

    Elephant: Neither the Sonoma nor the Marin Democrats endorsed Huffman during the primary election last year. It wasn’t until the other Democrats were knocked out and he faced a Republican challenger that there was an endorsement.

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  9. michael koepf says:

    Democrat sharks viciously attack Democrat paraná, a food fight amongst the arrogant and selfish that nobody cares about.

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  10. Michael Aparicio says:

    Mr. Solomon’s pursuit of electoral politics seems to be hindering his ability to do what he used to do well, hold elected politicians and government officials accountable through his commentary. His pursuit of wedge issues has turned him to manufactured issues and hyperbolic allegations. Rather than holding Mr. Huffman accountable for what he says and does, Solomon pins his own electoral hopes on manufacturing anxiety about whether or not Huffman pledges his positions dogmatically. I’m not surprised our local party chairs have countered Solomon’s rhetorical bombs with their own – that L. Ron Hubbard analogy got me laughing. They’re doing it so Mr. Huffman can focus on governing.

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  11. Timothy Learing says:

    Solomon is an anachronism. He appears to be some type of self-righteous, overly strident, inflexible hippie/former communist who took too much acid in the 60′s. Maybe needs to “mellow out and get with the program man.” it’s 2013 Gramps :)

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  12. Elephant says:

    Warren Atkinson – Well said Sir.

    I see this piece as pure spin by Mr. Gale and Mr. Cohen to try to discredit Norman Solomon and make themselves not look like the fools that they really are.

    In the last election, both the Marin and Sonoma County Democratic Parties endorsed Jared Hufman. Yet his politics are (and always have been) those of a fence sitting DINO, whereas Mr. Solomon’s politics are those of what I see as a true Democrat.

    So go ahead and give me a thumbs down if the truth hurts.

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  13. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Let’s means-test benefits – let’s means-test Social Security and Medicare and make the rich pay more for these benefits. ~Rand Paul

    I think the Chained Consumer Price Index (C-CPI-U) is a better cost of living adjustment method for Social Security, because “upper-level” substitution bias impacts this index in the following month, instead of years later. It’s a more “real time” index.

    Social Security is a social insurance program. It’s a social safety net which requires workers to put money into the insurance fund, so if they didn’t save enough money for when they could no longer work; they would have at least some money on which to live.

    If you are young, you should save some money for your future. If you are reaching your golden years and didn’t save enough money, you may need to become even thriftier.

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  14. Warren Atkinson says:

    I find this kind of internecine fighting among Democrats very unseemly. The heads of the local democratic parties should not be attacking other democrats who are simply trying to hold our leaders accountable to defend social security and medicare-especially given the President’s spinelessness on what is one of the foremost democratic issues. For me the opinion piece is a large failure on two fronts: First it severely lowers my respect and esteem for Mr Gale and Mr Cohen and makes them look like DINO Party Hacks. And secondly it gives Mr Solomon more power and credibility. Congressman Huffman should not have to stoop to being defended by this kind of Democratic toadying if Norman Solomon is as wrong and misguided as they say he is. Clearly the virulence of their attack shows otherwise.

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  15. homegirl says:

    Some are described as “has been” Solomon is a “never was.” He should find something better to do with his time.

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