Hippie punching

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"Hippie punching" is in the news around the world these days — Paul Krugman, "Macroeconomic Hippie-Punching", NYT 5/26/2013; "Gordon Campbell on the govt's latest bout of hippie punching", Scoop Media NZ 5/27/2013; "« Hippie punching » et puis tant pis !", L'est-éclair 5/28/2013;

One definition is offered by Michael Berube, "Libya and the Left", The Point, Spring 2012:

Those who believe that there should be no enemies to one's Left are fond of accusing me of "hippie punching," as if, like Presidents Obama and Clinton, I am attacking straw men to my Left in order to lay claim to the reasonable, vital center.

But hippie-punching seems sometimes to include the rhetorical abuse of leftists by people who self-identify unashamedly as rightists.

Krugman's introduction to the term is documented in a blog post from 7/19/2010, "Loona Bimbertons Of The World, Unite!":

Henry Farrell explains it all. One of his commenters says that the US term for what Henry calls Bimberton-kicking is "hippie-punching", which is about right; although when it comes to politics the proper term is DFH.

What’s particularly noteworthy is that Bimberton-kicking becomes more, not less prevalent when, as has happened consistently this past decade, the DFHs are proved to have been right. It’s understandable, of course. How can the self-proclaimed sensible centrists continue to regard themselves as sensible, when they were wrong about Bush, WMDs, financial deregulation, and so on? Only by becoming even more disdainful of the unwashed ruffians who got it right.

In the linked blog post, Henry Farrell evokes the motivations of a fictional character:

Saki’s short story, Mrs Packletide’s Tiger, has a wonderful opening paragraph which finishes:

She had also already designed in her mind the tiger-claw broach that she was going to give Loona Bimberton on her next birthday. In a world that is supposed to be chiefly swayed by hunger and by love Mrs. Packletide was an exception; her movements and motives were largely governed by dislike of Loona Bimberton.

If the American left could be substituted for Loona Bimberton, this would stand as an astute psychological analysis of Clive Crook’s latest effusion on how Obama could get his mojo back.

The cited comment is by Doctor Science was:

Is there a reason did you not say “hippie-punching”, which is considered the term of art for this rhetorical trope? Or is “hippie-punching” an exclusively American expression?

The term seems to have been introduced into mainstream journalism in September of 2010, when Susan Madrak used it to confront David Axelrod over the Obama administration's treatment of the political left. Greg Sargent, "Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of 'hippie punching'", Washington Post 9/23/2010:

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere's anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of "hippie punching."

"We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day," the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.

Some other takes on the Madrak/Axelrod exchange are here and here, and Ms. Madrak's own discussion is here and here:

I just got off a White House conference call in which I asked David Axelrod if he ever heard of the term “hippie punching”.


“Are you there?”

“Yeah, I heard you. Go on.”

Basically, after Axelrod told us how wonderful we were and how much they needed us to close the enthusiasm gap in this election, I called him on it. Like, yo Dave, here we are, liberal activists who give money and GOTV, and the White House needs to punch us in public so no one thinks they take us seriously?

And then he said, like, your feelings don’t really amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed-up world when we’re TRYING TO SAVE THE COUNTRY, and then I said excuse ME, we’re not talking about my feelings here, how am I supposed to motivate my readers when you treat them like the town ho?

As these discussions suggest, the term was already current in certain circles. Nine months earlier, for example, Doug Johnson, "Why don't you all f-fade away?", Balloon Juice 1/23/2010:

I do get sick of the way everything revolves around boomer narratives. We all joke about hippie-punching, but when Joe Klein goes off on the "far left" (or whatever he calls us now), that is what he thinks he's doing.

The earliest use of the term that I've found comes from the right — Frank J. Fleming, "Are Our Kids Punching Hippies?", IMAO ("Unfair. Unbalanced. Unmedicated.") 2/12/2008:

One day when I was but a young boy, I was walking down the street with my dad to the hardware store. He suddenly stopped, crossed the street and punched a man. When he returned, I ask, "Father, why did you punch that man?"

He turned to me and said, "That's a stupid question." Then he punched me.

It was a stupid question, because who my dad punched was a hippie. Back then, everyone knew that you punched hippies, but I've noticed that this knowledge may not be being passed on to the next generation. If there's one thing I've realized over the past few years is that hippies are not being punched quite enough […]

We have a war right now. Our military is overseas killing terrorists — the violent form of the hippie — so they can't be here punching hippies for us. We have to do that ourselves. To keep this a country safe for soldiers to kill evil foreigners without hearing whiny protests, we have to make it unsafe for hippies.

Fleming followed this up a few days later with a "Hippie Punching FAQ" IMAO 2/19/2008:

Unfortunately, American society has gotten lax on hippie punching to the point I thought I should write an FAQ to better explain the issue to those who don't currently engage in the punching of hippies. Hopefully one day this will all become so natural again that a hippie punching FAQ will be about as necessary as a flipping people off in traffic FAQ.

Though Fleming's FAQ is satirical, the hippie-punching part is literal:

Q. Where is best to punch a hippie?
A. About the face. That's where the hippie is most annoying.

Q. What is a hippie?
A. Generally, a hippie is an annoying, useless. Actually, less than useless, as they are not happy until they prevent other people from being useful as well. In fact, Scientists have determined that the only evolutionary purpose of a hippie is for punching as a stress release for productive members of society.

Q. Are there any other uses for hippies than punching them?
A. No, there are no other uses.

Q. Couldn't they be ground up and used as chum?
A. They're too gummy.

We've already got several psychodramas going on here — the metaphorical girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day, the serious people maintaining their self-esteem through public abuse of the metaphorically unwashed ruffians who got it right, the metaphorical woman whose movements and motives are largely governed by dislike of the metaphorical Loona Bimberton. Back in 2008, Fleming evoked a perhaps-deeper psychodynamic layer:

Q. Just to be clear, are you talking about physically striking hippies or are you talking metaphorically about "punching" hippies through rhetorical means or through your actions against narcissistic hippie ideals?
A. Can't it be both?

Q. Well, one of those is a valid point and the other I'm pretty sure is assault.
A. Maybe you're a hippie.

Q. Since you're writing both sides of this FAQ, you're actually accusing yourself of being hippie.
A. Shut up. I really hate you.

Q. Now this is getting a little weird.
A. You're the reason dad never loved me!

Q. Dude.
A. Why won't you die!

Q. Okay… let's dial this down a little. It's not me you're angry at. It's them. They're the ones at fault. Remember?
A. Are you going to have me hurt people again?

If we take hippie-punching to mean the rhetorical abuse of leftists, whatever the motivation, then Fleming's posts count as the origin.

The earliest usage of the phrase from the left that I've found so far is Doug Johnson, "Contempt for the audience", Balloon Juice 9/9/2009:

I still haven’t recovered from the one-two punch of the David Brooks hippie-punching manifesto on the dignity of the tea baggers and Time magazine’s Glenn Beck-fluffing cover piece.

What bothers me most about both pieces is the contempt that the authors have for their audience. Everyone knows that print media is dying and that it will end not with a bang but with a 3000 word whine about how much we’re going to miss it. I wonder this, though: has an industry ever thrived while having as much contempt for its customers as national print media does? […]

And with Brooks…where do you even start? His stock-in-trade is shitting on “progressive elites”, but who does he think reads his books and columns? Who does he think watches him and E. J. jerk each other off on the Snooze Hour? Who does he think, in effect, pays his salary?

Note that David Brooks is depicted as punching hippies from the self-identified center-right, to help maintain his role as the NYT's house rightist,  whereas Modrak's question for Axelrod depicted the Obama administration as punching hippies from the center-left, in order to establish its centrist cred.

But if you want more about how different people interpret this term, see the comments on Doug Johnson's 10/3/2011 Balloon Juice post, "Meet you all the way".


  1. Ginger Yellow said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    I had thought both "hippie punching" and "DFH" originated with Atrios/Duncan Black, long before 2008, but maybe a) I'm wrong about the date and b) maybe he just popularised the terms.

    [(myl) You might well be right — can you or others find some citations?]

  2. KevinM said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Sounds like a variation on the "Sister Souljah moment."

  3. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 10:43 am

    "He's thirty-four and drinking in a honkytonk / Just kicking hippies' asses and raising hell" is from the chorus of "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother," written by Ray Wylie Hubbard circa 1974. (Somewhere on youtube is a clip of him decades later telling a somewhat shaggy-doggish story about having been inspired to write the song after picking the wrong bar to walk into and getting beaten up.) But there the redneck is not a bland centrist. Ditto for the often quite violent anti-hippie rhetoric that characterized punk-rock circles from circa 1977 forward. I.e., the punk critique of hippies was not that they were too far to the left or any more out of some respectable "mainstream" than the punks were, but that they were old/fat/boring/sluggish/fatuous. Come to think of it, it's my impression that in myl's youth hippies-qua-hippies were often deprecated by hard-left activist types for being stereotypically more interested in getting high and getting laid than in Disciplined Revolutionary Action to Smash the Capitalist/Imperialist War Machine.

    Disputes and symbolic distancing between left-of-center Democratic officeholders and harder-left activists go way way way back before hippies were invented (Truman people v. Wallace people in '48 and for that matter Woodrow Wilson locking up Eugene Debs), and I assume there must have been various idiomatic ways in prior generations of talking about the phenomenon.

  4. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    Hippies-qua-hippies are have been so roundly deprecated for so many decades now (i.e. by the time I was in high school circa 1980 teenage boys who had long hair and smoked dope and listened to old Hendrix albums and pursued fringed-suede-vest-wearing girls who burned incense in their bedrooms wouldn't necessarily or typically use that word as a self-identification, and i don't think it's gotten any better since) that the use here (by those presumably identifying with the metaphorical hippies being punched) is a bit peculiar.

    I guess my tentative hypothesis would be that the point is to conceptualize the farther-left activist types being dissed by the centrists as hapless peaceniks unwilling to or incapable of effectively defending themselves in a fair fight, such that punching them is just sort of unsporting (the strong reaping symbolic benefits by picking on the weak without putting their own safety at any real risk)? I am dubious that that framing of the issue is accurate, since the dweeby centrists in question are not as adept in actual fistfighting technique as the literally-hippie-bashing rednecks and hardhats and bikers etc etc of yore, and I am aware of no evidence that the "hippies" are not at least as skilled in internet vituperation as their centrist deprecators.

  5. Matt McIrvin said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 11:16 am

    Sometime in the early 1980s, Bill Griffith drew a "Zippy" cartoon (I think it was in the book "Are We Having Fun Yet?") comparing the square construction workers of the 1960s with their 1980s counterparts. (He was arguing that a strange cultural inversion had taken place, and drew a straight-edged Eighties punk telling the shaggy Eighties construction worker to go back to the Haight.)

    Anyway, if I recall correctly, on the picture of the crewcutted Sixties variant, he drew in a label identifying his steel-toed boots as "hippie-kickers".

  6. Michael Watts said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 11:47 am

    I'm interested in the apparently full clause "who my dad punched was a hippie". I'm aware of this form, but in my mind it's not permitted in modern standard english; I would have to say "the man [or other noun] who my dad punched was a hippie".

  7. Ben Zimmer said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    I wonder if the locus classicus of hippie-punching was the 1970 incident involving Happy Chandler, former governor of Kentucky, punching a hippie in the nose at a protest at the Univ. of Kentucky. (Chandler's punch was commended by J. Edgar Hoover.)

  8. Ginger Yellow said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    Looks like I was probably wrong, at least on "hippie punching". Here's a 2010 post from Atrios himself:

    There was some discussion on the twitter about who coined the phrase "hippie punching" for its current lefty blog usage. Not sure, though it actually seems to be a pretty recent blog term. In any case, it occurred to me that the whole Iraq war stuff was mostly about punching hippies, as if until 9/11 US foreign policy was governed by People With Giant Puppets and then suddenly an opportunity arose to show those people (hippies) once and for all.

    I can find DFH on Eschaton going back to 2007, though that post isn't one of Atrios's.

  9. Ginger Yellow said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

    Multiple Atrios usages of DFH from December 2006: http://www.eschatonblog.com/2006_12_10_atrios_archive.html

  10. Rube said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    Like J.W. Brewer, I wonder how many people ever identified "themselves" as hippies. Many years ago, I dated a woman who had been a hippie when she was young, tripping on acid, handing out underground newspapers, the whole nine yards, and as far as I can recall, even she always referred to herself as having been a "flower child". I think the H word may have had a bit of a smell for a long, long time.

  11. Ginger Yellow said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    I guess my tentative hypothesis would be that the point is to conceptualize the farther-left activist types being dissed by the centrists as hapless peaceniks unwilling to or incapable of effectively defending themselves in a fair fight, such that punching them is just sort of unsporting (the strong reaping symbolic benefits by picking on the weak without putting their own safety at any real risk)?

    That's certainly not how it's used in the discourse I'm familiar with on the left-blogosphere. It's primarily used by self-identified (solely for the purposes of the metaphor) hippies, or indeed DFHs, to describe the act (by political/media opponents) of attacking someone further left in order to shore up their own credentials in the establishment – as described in Mark Liberman's penultimate paragraph. It's not about hippies being peaceniks. It's about them being considered marginal and a bit of a joke. To describe someone as engaging in hippie punching is to accuse them of attacking a leftist position not so much because you disagree with it, though you may, but because it will gain you some political/social advantage by virtue of the fact that you're attacking someone to your left.

  12. Transterrestrial Musings - Hippie Punching said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    […] Asking the important questions: whence the arrival of the phrase? […]

  13. MonkeyBoy said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

    Hippie punching (conceptually if not that exact phrase) was endorsed by Richard Nixon. The biggest incident was the May 8, 1970 Hard Hat Riot where about 200 construction workers attacked about 1,000 protestors against the Kent State shootings and the Vietnam War.

    The absurdity of physically attacking pacifists was well known in that era.

    Here are some better origin date info from Red State Origin of “Hippie Punching”:

    Right Wing News published “A Frank Legal Discussion: Why Is It Illegal to Punch Hippies?—Satire By Frank J.” on July 10, 2007. Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson was given this slogan by 2008 pundits: “”Kill the terrorists. Protect the border. Punch the hippies.” When Thompson dropped out of the race in January 2008, several pundits complained about the lack of hippie punching. On February 19, 2008, IMAO published a “Hippie Punching FAQ.”

    “Hippie punching” usage evolved from the right attacking the far left to the left attacking the far left.

  14. david said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    Hippie bashing is much older, probably dating to the rise of the word hippie. Here is a "history of hippie bashing" featuring a 2002 David Brooks article and referring back to a 1967 National Review article.

  15. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

    Maybe we can harmonize the peacenik point with the "marginal and a bit of a joke" point by saying that the point is to frame the "hippies" as easy pickings, who can be picked on for rhetorical advantage at low if any cost. But there has obviously been considerable semantic drift within this specialized discourse community of the left blogosphere since trying to shoehorn e.g. a set like "people who agree with Paul Krugman on some currently contested issue of macroeconomics" into my general sense of "hippies" makes my head hurt. I mean, Krugman's public persona arguing macroeconomic policy seems like exactly the sort of totally harsh buzzkill that echt hippies would want to tune out, although I guess the echt hippies occasionally got excited about turgid academic-jargon rants from the likes of square-looking dudes like Herbert Marcuse, so I guess anything's possible.

  16. Bob Hay said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    I have a vague memory of a Simpsons quote about hippie punching, but I can't recall the context. Grandpa might have been involved.

  17. Rube said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    @Bob Hay: There was that Simpsons episode where the old cowboy star was reminiscing about his TV show from 1970, which mostly consisted of him *shooting* hippies. I guess merely punching them is kind of gentle in comparison.

  18. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

    Some googling suggests Bob Hay may be thinking of an episode from 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Abie in which Grandpa gets mixed up with a Kevorkian-like doctor who is promoting assisted suicide for the inconvenient elderly:
    "Dr. Egoyan: As you surrender your body, what music and visual imagery would you like to experience?
    Grandpa: I wanna hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra and I wanna see cops beating up hippies!"

    This seems to be a rather vintage/nostalgic/literal use that does not fit with the more recent extended metaphor.

  19. Bob Ladd said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

    @david: 1967 may have coincided with "the rise of the word hippie" in its modern sense, but the word has been around a lot longer than the 60s, and there seems to have been a fairly abrupt change in its meaning in the mid-60s. The wikipedia piece on the etymology of hippie relates it to hip (in the sense of 'cool, with it'). Older LL readers like myself actually remember the song South Street, in which the word was used in its earlier sense, as mentioned in the wikipedia article.

  20. Eric P Smith said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    @Michael Watts

    I'm interested in the apparently full clause “who my dad punched was a hippie”.

    I agree that “who” as a fused relative is not standard. Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002) is surprisingly categoric: “We cannot say, for example, *Who wrote this letter must have been mad.” (Page 1076). But I think it is growing, and I think it crossed the Atlantic eastwards. I first saw it about 3 years ago in a notice in Edinburgh University Library: “If we can't help you, we’ll put you in touch with who can.”

    [(myl) See "Can I help who's next?", 12/4/2005, or more here.]

  21. bks said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

    The problem for the hippie punchers is that the dirty hippies seem to be right about everything no matter how many times they get punched. I wonder if the Greeks spoke of Cassandra punching?


  22. Eric P Smith said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

    @myl: Many thanks.

  23. Jon Weinberg said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

    @JW Brewer: The key to the "hippie" characterization, I think, is that the person being punched is said to be a hippie from the perspective of the puncher, not that of the punchee. That is, part of the implicit message is that the "hippie puncher" views everybody to the left of him as some sort of '60s hippie. That's the same sort of shift we see with "DFH" — the idea is not that the speakers see themselves as either dirty or fucking or hippies, but that *other* people view the speakers as DFHs, and the speakers are using the term as reclamation.

  24. Jon Weinberg said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

    And a very small bit of antedating for usage by lefties:

    "Batocchio," on 8/28/2009, writing: "Many [members of the Washington media establishment] feel the need to go hippie-punching, like Joe Klein."


  25. weaver said,

    May 31, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

    Course, what's bizarre about this usage is the underlying premise that Obama, Clinton, the Democratic party, people who actually are liberals (like e.g. Berube and Krugman), etc represent any part of the left such that it would be odd for any of them to attack leftists. If y'all could drop the McCarthyist conflation and recognise the difference between a leftist and a liberal (as in the different sides of the political spectrum they're on), the tendency of moderate rightists like liberals, or hard rightists like Democrats (distinguishable from insane rightists like Republicans), to attack leftists wouldn't need a special term.

  26. maidhc said,

    June 1, 2013 @ 5:04 am

    I've known a number of people who lived in Haight-Ashbury, rode on Ken Kesey's bus, etc., during the mid-Sixties, and none of them would self-identify as "hippies". "Hippie" was a term used by the media, people who ran sightseeing buses, and the like. Some of those people might reluctantly admit to being part of the "counterculture", but I think many of them would resist being tagged by any label.

    If I were looking for the origin of "hippie", I would start with Herb Caen, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and originator of the term "beatnik". But it was pretty much always used as a derogatory term by everyone, regardless of political position. See for example Frank Zappa.

    In the modern sense I recollect it starting to appear in the windup to the Iraq invasion, referring to people who pointed out that no credible evidence of WMDs had been presented. Also "DFH". I remember Atrios as being an early user.

  27. Bob Hay said,

    June 1, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    @J W Brewer: That's a reasonable match, but I don't think I've seen that episode, so it's not what I was thinking of. I rummaged around on Google for a while. The closest match I found was in the episode "D'oh-in' in the Wind" from 1998, in which Homer befriends two aging hippies. Near the end, Chief Wiggum says "It's time for a good old-fashioned hippie ass-whomping!" Not exactly punching, but it's probably what I was remembering.

  28. Bloix said,

    June 1, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

    Along with maidhc, my recollection of hippie is that (like the earlier beatnik) it was always derogatory and if used by people who identified with the counterculture it was ironic. The wikipedia link given by Bob Ladd unfortunately quotes only from mainstream media sources and not at all from the prolific underground press (which presumably is not online). I've found an interesting UPI story from 1967 about a mock funeral of "the hippie," which says, "the label is considered by hippies [!] as a trick by which mass media have hung all kinds of bad connotations on them."


  29. Robert said,

    June 2, 2013 @ 5:12 am

    @ MonkeyBoy
    re the Hard Hat Riot. For some reason, possibly because I had never encountered the word "yippie" before, I have always remembered a snatch of a Mad Magazine spoof Hard Hat Anthem, "Off we go into the peace group yonder, looking for yippies to chase." It was to be sung to the tune of Wild Blue Yonder which for a long time I eggcorned/mondegreened into Wide Blue Yonder, which has always seemed to me a superior metaphor.
    In yet another case of the satirical being taken for the serious, the only google hit for "yippies to chase" was the delightful stormfront dot org.

    Off we go into the peace group yonder,
    looking for yippies to chase.
    There's a freak tearing the flag usunder,
    at him boys, step on his face!
    We'll watch over this land of freedom,
    we'll protect liberty's ways.
    Those lousy reds, we'll break their heads
    and nothing will stop the hard hats today!

    I seem to remember Tim Robbins refused to release the soundtrack of Bob Roberts for just this reason.

  30. J.W. Brewer said,

    June 2, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    If this modern usage started in the context of controversies over Afghanistan/Iraq (to represent the more-dovish-than-centrists-were-at-a-given-moment-in-time perspective) that makes a lot of sense since probably a lot of activist/pundit types both left and right were (largely unhelpfully imho) seeing hawk/dove disputes of that era as a rerun of Vietnam-era disputes, where in stereotypical hindsight hippie = annoying antiwar protester is a pretty good fit. What I find more baffling and thus I suppose interesting is how the new sense then spread in certain circles to encompass the leftier side of other policy disputes (quasi-Keynesian stimulus v. neoliberal austerity, for example) that don't particularly closely fit anyone's received stereotypes about hippies or the Hippie Era.

  31. bianca steele said,

    June 2, 2013 @ 11:50 am

    @J.W. Brewer on 5/31:

    In the past couple of years, especially, I've run into people online, probably in their twenties, who seemed to claim the label "hippies" for themselves. As far as I could tell, they were in the midwest or west, places more laidback than the northeastern cities where I've lived all my life, so maybe it's a regional usage? As far as I can tell, they're not identifying as political hippies, though, if that makes sense, so it really isn't a usage that's relevant to the topic of the post.

  32. Rodger C said,

    June 2, 2013 @ 11:51 am

    @J.W. Brewer: Maybe it's connected to the growing number of adults, including commentators, who have no personal memory of hippies at all.

  33. Jon Weinberg said,

    June 2, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    Whether the hippie characterization closely conforms to received stereotypes, I think, isn't the point. Hippie-ness has long been invoked in ways that don't really stand up to scrutiny. As Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog put it on 10/30/07:

    For decades, Republicans have lovingly constructed a grotesque, repulsive Democrat caricature that's succeeded in making many people — not all of them self-styled conservatives — feel that they couldn't possibly vote Democratic, ever. You know the drill: Godless hippie tax-and-spend socialist America-hating peaceniks. Bizarrely, Bill and Hillary Clinton are regarded as the absolute embodiment of this caricature.


    The idea is not that people who believe in Keynesian economics are hippies; it's that in the American political scene, one can always get traction by referring to people on one's left as if they were hippies, whether it makes sense or not.

  34. IMAO » Blog Archive » The Coining of “Hippie Punching” said,

    June 3, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    […] According to a professor on a linguistics blog, I am the originator of the term "hippie punching" — used today to mean striking out against the far-left. I would have thought hippie punching was as old as time itself, but I'll take this honor. Seems like something significant enough to go on my Wikipedia page. […]

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