Welcome to The Mad Logophile. Here, we explore word origins, evolution and usage. Words are alive: they are born, they change and, sometimes, they die. They are our principal tool for communicating with one another. There are over one million words in the English language yet only an estimated 171,476 words are in common current use. As a logophile, I enjoy discovering new words, using them and learning about their origins. Please join in.
My first TML diary dealt with political words. While there were a few pieces of slang in it - Blue Dog, Yellow Dog, pork, slush fund among others - most of it dealt with "serious" words and their origin. This time we'll have a go at the slang that we hear from our pundits, political reporters and those inside the Beltway. And a great many of us.
This is one of those times when an alphabetized list is the easiest way to present the information. So, get your gag reflex under control and follow me...
Actorvist: An actor who is involved in politics and/or "pet" causes. George Clooney is an actorvist for Darfur.
Advance man: Someone (male or female) who is sent somewhere before an event to set things up, including publicizing it.
Ad Watch: To monitor advertising for its content, especially false or misleading content. We need a better ad watch network to refute the lies.
American Taliban: A term for the fanatically religious fundamentalists who believe that religion not only has a place in Government, but that it should control the country. Marcos wrote a book about this entitled, appropriately enough, American Taliban.
Anglosphere: Loose political affiliation of English-speaking countries who, ostensibly, have the same goals. America is considered by many to be the dominant country in the Anglosohere.
Astroturf: Fake grassroots organizing, usually supported by a special interest group. The Tea Party Patriots are an astroturf organization funded by the Koch brothers.
Attack Ad: A negative advertisement that attacks an opponent. Also attack dog (one who attacks on the behalf of others), attack line (the general theme of attacks on an opponent), attack politics (running and/or governing primarily through attacking one's opponent or ideas) and attack video (a video that was created only as an attack on a person or idea).
Axis of Evil/Weasel: Term the Bush administration used for countries "suspected of harboring terrorists." The Axis of Weasel referred to nations that wouldn't play along. "Axis" comes from the WWII term for the enemy country's alliance.
Bafflegab: Confusing or meaningless speech. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named specializes in bafflegab. AKA; Word Salad
Barking Head: A commentator who is aggressive and/or loud. Bill O'Reilly is the prototypical barking head.
Belligerati: Pro-war commentators. Chicken hawks with a TV show.
Beltway: Washington D.C. and its environs, after I-495 which encircles it. Used to refer to anything originating therein. Inside the Beltway refers not only to the area but to politics in the Capitol in general. Hence, Beltway wisdom to describe the way those inside the Beltway think -- which isn't always simpatico with the rest of the country. Beltway blinders is what prevents the insiders from seeing how the rest of the country thinks.
Bigfoot: A political journalist or pundit who wields great power, extended to anything/one who does so. After the legendary creature.
Big Tent: The idea that a political party can include a diverse base. The Republican party says they are a big tent party but their actions belie that claim.
Bimbo Factor: The effect of a woman when referring to a male politician usually in the context of a scandal.
Bleeding-Heart Liberal: Derogatory term for those of us who feel that civilized society includes taking care of those who need it.
Bloviate: To talk at length, usually in a pompous fashion. With the growth of cable news, we have more bloviators than ever.
BOGSAT: Acronym for "bunch of guys sitting around talking." The preferred format for most Sunday morning political shows.
Bork: To destroy someone's character, especially in the media. After Judge Robert Bork, whose 1987 Supreme Court nomination was blocked in a similar fashion.
Brass Collar: Being of unwavering allegiance to one's party and/or ideology; always voting the straight party ticket.
Campaign Mode: Being in the mindset of campaigning, i.e. more aggressive, artificial, pandering.
CAVE: Acronym for "citizens against virtually everything." People who oppose any change.
Chicken hawk: Aggressively pro-war person who has never served in the military, usually because of some kind of deferment. Famous chicken hawks include Limbaugh, Chaney, Bush and Rudy Giuliani. The term came into wide usage from its use in a 1986 issue of The New Republic. Previous term was war wimp.
Christmas Tree: A piece of legislation that has unrelated and/or expensive provisions attached. So called because it is heavily "decorated."
Clothespin Vote: When you have to hold your nose in order to vote for a candidate. Many of us did this in the 2010 election to help the Democrats maintain a majority in Congress. We were half successful.
Conchie: 1) a conscientious objector or 2) someone who is overly aware of a person's skin color or race.
Democrazy: A democracy in which inequitable situations have arisen, where cheating and voter manipulation is prevalent. Which begs the question... are we living in a democrazy now?
Demopublican/Republicrat: A politician who ran and was elected under the auspices of one party but whose actions after election reflect the opposite ideology. Ben Nelson is a Demopublican.
Demosclerosis: The tendency of the government to resist change.
Dittohead: Someone who believes everything that Rush Limbaugh says; a sheep who cannot think for himself.
Dog Whistle: The use of coded language designed to stir up a party's base or someone's followers. An analogy to whistle used to train dogs, whose high-frequency can be heard only by the animals.
Dollar Diplomacy: American foreign policy of protecting a region so that US commercial and financial interests there are also protected. Originated by President William Taft and his Secretary of State, Philander Knox.
Dope Story: False information that is "leaked" or planted as part of a smear or attack campaign.
Echo Chamber: Term for the tendency of the media to parrot one another's reporting in an uncritical manner. For example, Fox Noise makes up a story and CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, et.al. report it without checking to see if it is factual or not. Lazy reporting.
Express Issue: A call to vote for a particular person or issue.
Fair-Fight District: A state district that has been re-drawn to favor no one party. Usually due to redistricting after a census. We should see some of these in the next election.
Farley's Law: The common political wisdom that a voter will decide who they will vote for in a Presidential election by mid-October. Named for James Farley, campaign manager for FDR.
527 Organization: A tax-exempt group organized under section 527 of the US tax code. A 527 can raise money for GOTV efforts, issue advocacy, etc. It may not advocate for or against any particular candidate
FOB: Acronym for "friend of Bill", meaning anyone who supports and/or is an acquaintance of Bill Clinton.
Foggy Bottom: Washington D.C. neighborhood (one of the oldest) where the Department of State's offices are located. Hence, a synonym for the State Department. Also located in Foggy Bottom: George Washington University, the Kennedy Center and the Watergate Hotel.
Freep/er: To skew an online poll by voting over and over again via proxies or by deleting cookies. To load a blog with comments in a similar manner. From the practices of members of Free Republic, aka Freepers.
Frontrunneritis: Being the front-running candidate, exposing one to increased scrutiny by the press. Also the tendency of the front-runner to "coast."
Fudge Factory: Synonym for the State Department. Coined by John Franklin Campbell, a State Dept. Officer with his book, The Foreign Affairs Fudge Factory.
Globaloney: A foreign policy or global outlook that is unrealistic. Coined by Clare Booth Luce in 1943 to describe the "global thinking" of VP Henry Wallace, who believed that building airports all over the world would promote world peace.
God Squad: Term for the Endangered Species Committee, which was formed in 1978, and whose job it is to override the Endangered Species Act in "regional or national interest." For example, reducing protections of the Olympic Forest and the Spotted Owl to benefit logging companies.
Gold Bug: Someone who favors the free circulation of gold. Usually derogatory though some gold speculators use the term to describe themselves.
Goo-Goo: Short for goody-goody, a derisive term for someone who idealistically supports political reform.
Gotcha: Used in various ways, it describes politics and/or journalism that thrives on catching the opponent in an error. Gotcha politics, gotcha questions, gotcha games... all attempt to trick or trap the other side, painting them as inept or dishonest. The classic gotcha question is When did you stop beating your wife? Or, in the case of She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, What newspapers do you read?
Granfalloon: A word coined by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. meaning a huge amorphous organization. Quoting the novel, Cat's Cradle: a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless.
Graymail: A trial tactic wherein the defendant (usually a government employee) claims that classified records are essential to their defense. Of course, the government will deny permission for their use. The defense then claims that there can't be a fair trial without the documents. The ultimate goal is to get all charges dismissed
Gucci Gulch: A term first applied to the halls outside the offices of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees. Now applied to K Street and, by extension, the lobbyists that dwell there.
Hardball: Besides being the name of Tweety's show, it describes very aggressive and ruthless competition, especially in politics.
Hard Money/Soft Money: How a donation is made determines whether it is hard or soft money. If a donation is made to a specific candidate's campaign, it is hard money because its purpose is specific. Donations made to a PAC or 527 or any group, for which one does not denote exactly where the money is to go is soft money. Many loopholes have been devised to get around this designation, however, and these distinctions are long overdue for reform.
Hard-Shell: A Conservative who is unyielding, obstinate, uncompromising. Mitchie McConnel is a hard shell -- how apropos.
Hatchet Job: A particularly harsh criticism, distortion or character attack. Right now, we see Mike Huckabee doing a hatchet job on President Obama. In this, he is performing the function of a hatchet man for the Right Wing.
Horse-Race Journalism: Media coverage that focuses on popularity and inter-campaign spats rather than focusing on the issues. Sadly, most election season reporting now follows this paradigm.
Hot Button: An issue that is strongly emotional and/or divisive. Often used as a shiny object to distract the populace while more important issues are being debated or dealt with.
Immunity Bath: Being considered to be free from any prosecution. The previous administration has apparently been given an immunity bath in regards to their war crimes.
Inside Baseball: The knowledge, often intricate and arcane, that one might have about a given topic. The technical and often boring information that the public is usually not privy to.
Instant Policy: Sometimes an administration official is forced to react to some recent news or is asked for an off-the-cuff comment. What gets said at times like this -- for example if an official is queried about a new poll on a pundit show -- becomes instant policy. Ideas or opinions stated with no deliberation, consultation and very little detail which often gets the speaker in hot water.
Invisible Primaries: All the activity -- fund raising, campaigning, polling, etc. -- that occurs before the actual primaries. The gearing-up time before election season.
Iraquification: The process of withdrawing US troops from Iraq and returning the country to the Iraquis. Still on-going.
Iron Triangle: The relationship between government agencies, lobbyists and legislative committees which allows them to dominate policy in any specific area. The iron triangle of oil is arguably the most powerful and one of the oldest. We saw last year how those within the triangle circle the wagons during and after the BP oil spill.
Jane/John Q. Public: Fictitious (as far as we know) names for the "average" American man and woman. Whenever a pol wants to sound populist s/he refers to these spurious citizens.
Jawbone: Using diplomacy and negotiation instead of force to get things done. The carrot end of the carrot and stick analogy.
Joe the Plumber: An "everyday guy" who ostensibly represents the average American. Name derived from the alias of Joseph Wurzelbacher, who was used as a stunt in the 2008 McCain campaign.
Jungle Primary: Primary election in which voters may vote for any candidate regardless of the candidate's party affiliation. Also known as a blanket primary.
Kangaroo Ticket: A dual ticket where the primary candidate is less appealing than the running mate. So called because a kangaroo's hindquarters are stronger than its front legs.
Kidnapping: To gerrymander a district so that its Representative's residence is outside the district. This eventually pits two incumbents from the same party against one another.
Kool-Aid: As in to drink the kool-aid, meaning to blindly support a particular ideology, person or issue. From the 1978 Jonestown tragedy where over 900 followers actually drank Flavor Aid spiked with cyanide.
Limousine Liberal: A wealthy Liberal. A myth that has been very useful for the Right in painting Democrats as out-of-touch.
Loose Cannon: An uncontrollable or out-of-control person. In politics, it can refer to someone who doesn't stick to the party talking points or vote with their caucus.
Lunch Lid: A mid-day moratorium on new from the White House. The announcement the lunch lid is on means that reporters can go to lunch knowing that any important news from the WH will not break as they are eating.
Mama Grizzly: A term coined by She Who Will Not Be Named to describe a "conservative woman with common sense who will rise up to protect her children." As if liberal women have neither impulse. In reality, an arrogant and divisive term.
Majority Minority: Describes a state or district whose composition is less than 50% white. As of 2009, the states of Hawai'i, New Mexico, California and Texas fit this criteria.
Mediscare: A tactic used to scare elderly voters in which Medicare is targeted for cuts. In use right now by the Republicans.
Mercuri Method: An electronic voting system in which a paper copy, verifiable by the voter, is generated. The voter verifies through a sheet of glass or screen and, if verified, the paper is deposited in the ballot box. Named for the originator, Rebecca Mercuri, a research fellow at Harvard's JFK School of Government.
Millionaire Loophole: In 1976 the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Buckley v. Valeo that limiting the amount of money one could contribute to their own campaign was a violation of the First Amendment.
Minarchist: An anarchist that favors minimal government, they believe that it should only protect citizen's rights and provide for national defense. Typically a subset of the Libertarian movement.
Mossback: A derisive term for an older, old-fashioned and/or very conservative person. John McCain has become one since 2000 and seems to be their Senate representative.
NASCAR Dad: The ultimate target of campaigns, a white working-class male. A stereotype but it holds up, unfortunately.
NIMBY: Acronym for "Not In My Back Yard." Opposition to any project, building or other project perceived as detrimental to the neighborhood. Also describes a person who holds such an attitude.
October Surprise: A news release or event which occurs just before Election Day, usually by the incumbent President or his party, intended to influence the election. The original October Surprise was the alleged plot in 1980 by the Republicans to have the Iran hostages held until after the election, thus aiding their candidate Ronald Reagan. The hostages were released 20 minutes after Reagan's inauguration. Hmmm.....
On Message/Off the Reservation: When someone is on message they are sticking to the talking points and not being distracted. If they are off the reservation, they are just the opposite.
Opposition Research: Information gathered about other candidates, especially if it is negative and/or scandalous.
Panda Hugger: Someone who specializes in China-America relations, such as a diplomatic official, who is thought to be overly accommodating to the Chinese.
Pay-Go: Short for Pay-As-You-Go. Began as a requirement that any project be fully funded before it oculd be undertaken. It has grown to describe any budget-balancing provision which stipulates that tax cuts and spending must not increase the Federal deficit. Something the Republicans are going gaga over right now.
Paycheck Protection: A right of union workers that says they must approve any political donations made in the name of their Union.
Peacenik: Derogatory term for an anti-war protester or war resister. A portmanteau formed from the word "peace" and the Russion suffix "-nik", meaning someone involved with.
Peoria: As in "Will it play in...?" The "average town" where Jane and John Q. Public live. It exemplifies a place where "average Americans" decide if something is appropriate. To be catered to, according to Nixon doctrine.
Permanent Campaign: The non-stop pursuit of funding and votes while holding office. To be more concerned with re-election that in actual governing. The Bush Administration operated in this mode, according to many insiders.
Photo-Op Foreign Policy: Superficial diplomatic actions, statements, etc. which may seem coherent but are actually disconnected. Especially in response to a crisis or problem situation. The end result is a lot of media exposure but no real effect.
Play the Card: As in "play the _ card." To use, or be perceived to use, a diversionary tactic. When an opponent has no real response, this is arguably their first fall-back position. Used extensively in the 2008 election season against both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Pocket Veto: A form of veto-by-attrition. It is how a President kills a bill without actually vetoing it. The bill is left unsigned yet not returned to Congress for reconsideration before the end of the legislative session. The term has expanded to mean killing any bill, amendment, provision, etc. via inaction. We have seen quite a lot of this in the past two years.
Policy Wonk: Someone who is an expert on intricate policies. A person who enjoys learning and talking about the minutiae of policy. Rachel Maddow is a self-confessed policy wonk (or is that wonkette?).
Politainer: A person who is both a politician and an entertainer. Coined by Professor David Schultz of Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and his poli-sci students in 2002 to describe "somebody whose identity as an entertainer and a politician can't be separated." Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger are two of the best known politainers.
Political Football: An issue or problem for which the blame is passed. The Bush tax cuts are a big political football that the GOP has tried to pass onto President Obama.
Potomac Fever: If someone has a passion to be involved in Federal polictics, they are said to suffer from this disease... or compulsion.
POTUS: Acronym for "President of the United States." Also FLOTUS: First Lady and SCOTUS: Supreme Court.
Prebuttal: A prepared response by an opponent which is prepared before the actual speech they are rebutting has been given, anticipating the speech's contents. Of course, the SOTU is released beforehand, making a prebuttal easy.
Press The Flesh: get in amongst the voters, shaking hands and posing for pictures, kissing babies, etc. A must for any serious candidate.
Pseudo-Event: An event staged for publicity and photo-ops. Something created mostly for media exposure. One could say that anything She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named does is a pseudo-event.
Pundit: A learned person, expert or authority who comments and/or judges. Nowadays there are almost as many political pundits as there are politicians. Some are good (Richard Wolfe, David Corn, Melissa Harris-Perry) and some are hacks (Bernard Goldberg, Mike Huckabee, anyone on Fox Noise)... all in my opinion, of course.
Push Poll: Negative campaigning disguised as a poll. They are actually a form of tele-marketing, being a telephone call disguised as research, the aim of which is to persuade voters and affect elections.
Quadriad: The President's top four economic advisers. President Obama's quadriad includes Austin Goolsbee and Gene Sperling.
Rainmaker: An influential person, often a former official, who is adept at fund-raising. It can also refer to an influential lobbyist. Anyone who makes large amounts of money appear for political causes and candidacies.
Raptavist: A politically active hip-hop artist. Chuck D. and Sister Souljah are two prominent raptavists.
Rat-Fucking: Disrupting the opposition; sabotage. In the Nixon administration the term referred to the infiltration of the Democratic party by operatives in order to disrupt its operations. Also known, more politely, as rat kissing.
Rope Lines: A term for the crowds at an event, due to the ropes that divide the people from the official. Working the rope lines is part of pressing the flesh.
Rose Garden Rubbish: Minor statements given by the POTUS, usually at an informal event like a Rose Garden ceremony. Dismissed as unimportant by the WH Press Corps.
Rump Session: Originally referred to the Rump Parliament of 1648, when 60 members stayed in session in defiance of Oliver Cromwell's army. Now used as a term for any ad hoc meeting, policy discussion, etc. especially by a splinter group.
Security Mom: Another sought-after voter demographic, the security Mom is a mother whose voting reflects concern for the safety of her children. Easily frightened and swayed by certain wedge issues.
Sheeple: Submissive people. Those who meekly obey and give up rights in exchange for protection. Also those who follow an ideology without question. People who cannot or will not think for themselves.
Shift and Shaft: The phenomenon of lowering or cutting taxes at the Federal level while shifting the tax burden to the local level. This process can rightly be added to the list of Things that helped get us where we are today.
Shuttle Diplomacy: Phrase coined during Henry Kissinger's negotiations during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War to describe Mr. Kissinger's shuttling back and forth between the parties involved. Hence, diplomacy that involves going back-and-forth between the two parties involved.
Situation Room: Before it was Wolf Blitzer's show title, it referred to a central planning center. A place where activities, especially during a crisis, are co-ordinated.
Slacktivism: Activism that requires very little effort. A common derisive term among some Internet groups. From slacker + activism.
SLAPP: Acronym for "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." A lawsuit intended to intimidate activists and/or opponents. Coined in 1989 by Penelope Canan and George Pring of the U. of Denver: "Every year... hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lawsuits are filed that are aimed at preventing citizens from exercising their political rights or punishing those who have done so."
Slash and Burn: Excessive, aggressive, merciless cuts to a budget. Exactly what the GOP-controlled House is trying to do right now.
Soft Power: Influence gained from culture and media rather than politics or military. Oprah has a huge amount of soft power. Mocked by the Right... unless of course, it's one of their people. Limbaugh, anyone?
Spin: The interpretation of events to fit a certain paradigm, ideology and/or scenario. Possibly related to spinning a yarn. It is now so common that one can hardly find basic facts through all the spin doctors, part of a spin patrol, who sit in their spin alleys and manipulate spinnable information so as to be the ultimate spinmeister. Are you dizzy yet?
Split Ticket: A ballot, usually a Governor/Lt. Governor ticket, with candidates from 2 different parties. Expanded to refer to the citizens of a state splitting their officials between Democrat and Republican, as Arkansas voters did in 2002 when they elected a Republican Governor and a Democratic Senator (who is now gone #cough# Blanche Lincoln #cough#).
Stealth Campaign: A campaign that appears to have no effect but that is being run via non-traditional or quiet ways. Under-the-radar fund raising, speeches, etc. Barack Obama's Internet fund raising was a form of stealth campaign for awhile until the media finally figured it out.
Stemwinder: Someone who gives great, impassioned speeches. Originally a person or event of exceptional character.
Sunset Provision: An expiration date built into an amendment, provision, etc. Often a way of kicking an issue down the road. The Bush tax cuts had a sunset provision... until, well.
Sunshine Law: A law designed to open Congressional records to the public. Ostensibly a way to induce scrutiny but the jury is out as to whether the "average citizen" cares to avail themselves of the opportunity.
Swing Voter: An undecided voter; someone who can possibly be swayed to "your side" with the proper incentive. Arguably the most sought after voters, it is often difficult to grasp exactly what will move them.
Talk Show Campaign: Campaigning on television (and radio) talk shows and other forms of pop cultural entertainments. Arnold Schwarzenegger epitomized this when he announced his Gubernatorial run on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. A form of stealth campaigning.
Techno --: A prefix relating to the use of technology. A technocrat is someone who avails themselves of the latest technology in a campaign. A technocracy is rule by technical experts (a GOP nightmare). Technopolitics saw much use in the 2008 election season. Many believe that it is the future of campaigning.
Theoconservative: A Conservative who is overly influenced by his/her religious beliefs. Someone who believes that religious ideology should be part of government.
Third Way: A usually mythical alternative to bi-partisan negotiations, it is that elusive perfect answer to a particular issue or problem. Related to unicorns, Golden Fleece and other mythical things.
Timber: The character required by a candidate to hold political office. As far back as 1854, the term timber trees was used to refer to candidates but no reason is given. Perhaps relates to the quality of a tree required for use as building timber.
Town Hall: An informal meeting of a Representative's constituents in their home district. These took on an entirely new dimension during the health Care debate when they were taken over by paid shills for the insurance companies and those they duped onto their side.
Trickle Down: The economic theory that if the richest people are made even richer, they will send more money down to the peons. Rightly dismissed by George Bush the Elder as voodoo economics. For some reason, it is seeing a resurgence as Republicans realize, to their delight, that people either don't remember that it doesn't work or were too young the first time it screwed up the US economy.
Truth Squad: A group formed to dispute hatchet jobs during a campaign. We now have websites that fill this role.
Turkey Farm: A government department staffed by legacy and/or patronage hirees, expanded to refer to any office that under-performs.
Ugly Season: The early days of the election season. So called because the primary candidates can get quite competitive at each other's expense.
Unconcede: To take back a concession speech. In 1996, Bob Dole had to unconcede when he made the mistake of conceding before West Coast polls had closed. This was considered to have an adverse effect on down-ballot races.
Veepstakes: The race for the Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket. It has grown into a media frenzy, with news crews camping out in front of the homes of possible choices.
Velcro President: A POTUS who is perpetually caught up in scandal and controversy. Bush the Elder was considered to be one, as is Bill Clinton... both by the opposing parties, of course.
Victim Politics: The use of one's (real or perceived) victimhood to gain an advantage. It can refer to an election or a spotlight issue.
VRWC: Acronym for "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy." It has become a joke but was, in the 90s, considered to be a very real threat. Perhaps it really IS but it suits the VRWC to have it seem to be a joke. Ah... now it all fits, eh?
Warblog: A personal website that concerns itself primarily with world affairs after September 11, 2001. The writer, or warblogger, is especially concerned with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and with the war on terrorism.
War Chest: The campaign funds of any given candidate or group. The usage dates back to the late 19th century.
Washington Read: To scan a political memoir's index for mention of one's name and reading the relevant material (usually while in the book store). There is never any intention of reading the entire book or, indeed, of buying it.
WMD: Acronym for "Weapons of Mass Destruction." A term for weapons such as nuclear bombs, biological weapons, etc. The infamous lie that George W. Bush and his cronies used to get us into a war in Iraq. There is still no definitive proof that said weapons existed. It is now used as an acronym for "Weapons of Mass Distraction," or a shiny object used to take the public's attention off of important issues or scandals.
Wedge Issue: A hot-button issue, such as abortion, that sharply divides the public and can cause voters to deviate from their party loyalties. Especially effective when used with 2 candidates of the same party who hold divergent views, thus splitting that party's vote and making it easier for the opposition candidate to win.
Wholesale/Retail campaign: A wholesale campaign strives to target large voting blocks while a retail one pinpoints smaller groups.
Willie Hortonize: Referring to the 1988 Bush-Dukakis elections, it means to stain a candidate and invoke racial prejudice. Willie Horton was a convicted murderer who, in Dukais' home state, committed a rape while on a weekend pass. Though Gov. Dukakis had no direct involvement with the affair, it served to pretty much sink his candidacy.
Wonk: An expert in intricacies and details; a studious, learned person. A good many of us here on DK would consider ourselves to be wonks, I daresay.
Young Turks: Younger or new members of any group who are impatient for change. Refers to a group of 20th century Ottomans who attempted to modernize Turkey. Used by Cenk Uygur for his group of progressives.
Zoo Plane: Nickname for any plane carrying journalists that accompanies a politician. I can't imagine why.....
Now, with this group I just KNOW that you have lots more to say. So let's have your favorite bits of political slang.