This is about as “inside baseball” as blogging can get, and will therefore probably be of interest to all of twelve people, but let me make a few remarks. As you will have noticed, Republicans nowadays like to refer to the Democratic Party as “the Democrat Party.” Mr. Bush did this the other day in the SOTU, and Republicans have been doing it for years before that. They do this, yes, to be insulting by refusing to call the party by the name its members use, but they also want to insult Democrats by effectively denying the Democratic Party’s claim to being a party of the people. That is, they want to deny its claim to being democratic (a dubious honour that they, the Republicans, have decided to start claiming for themselves), so they refuse to call it the Democratic Party.
This is bound up with the many contortions that the party of corporations and the moneyed interest has gone through to make itself into the vehicle of populist resentment (without, mind you, actually doing anything to address populist resentments or desires) against “elites.” That the Democratic Party of the last seventy-odd years has been increasingly a party run by a political and cultural elite for the interests of that elite to the detriment of many Americans hardly helps to rebut these charges of not being a party of “the people,” but leave that aside for now. If you were to press some Republicans on this usage, “Democrat Party,” they would probably assure you in great earnestness that this has either always been the name of the other party (which is wrong) or that it is now the appropriate name for the party of elitism. One basic problem with the new name for the opposing party favoured by Republicans is that it is simply illiterate: democrat is a substantive, democratic is an adjective, and they should be used in the proper way by those who would like to be considered functionally literate English-speakers. Since Mr. Bush is the foremost representative of the GOP these days, I suppose it is understandable that they would begin to imitate his special facility with the language and would start using the wrong words for the wrong things.