Political Terms

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See also Code Words for terms that mean something other than they say.

Beltway Heathers
The DC press corps clique, typified by an obnoxious in-crowd behavior. A reference to the film Heathers. (daria g, kaley, hamletta, pyrrho)
Big Dog
Bill Clinton (IrishAlum)
Chickenhawk
According to the Chickenhawk Database, "A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person's youth." Examples include President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Leader Tom Delay.
Circular Firing Squad
Term for the intra-party attacks that normally take place during a primary race. Partisan voters generally try to avoid circular firing squads for fear that the candidate who emerges victorious will be weakened by them in a general election. In 2004's Democratic presidential primary, a strong ABB feeling prevented the circular firing squad phenomenon from doing much damage to any candidate, including eventual nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA). (EliWho)
Clenis™
Clinton's Penis. The source of all evil. Coined by Jennifer, a regular poster at Eschaton.
Deaniac
A term used to describe enthusiastic supporters of Howard Dean. A term of endearment or indication of fellowship when used by Dean supporters. A pejorative term when used by those not enamored with Dean. (IrishAlum)
Dittohead
The nickname given to Rush Limbaugh listeners for their propensity to repeat everything he says. When Rush fans call in they often greet him by saying "mega-dittos, Rush". In other words, "the only thing I have to add to this conversation are 'ditto marks' indicating that I am repeating exactly what you just said, Rush"
Electoral College
The system used for electing the President of the United States, based on state populations. See Electoral College for more detail and discussion.
Faux News
Snarky term for the Fox News Network. Refers to the network's pathological willingness to distort the truth and general dressing up of right-wing commentary as unbiased news. (EliWho)
Freeper
A right wing activist. The name comes from the nickname given to the members of the right wing political site Free Republic (sic).
Google Bomb
An exploit of the algorithm which drives the Google search engine. Large number of people post links to a certain page with the same link text (such as Bush's White House bio and the phrase "Miserable Failure") which causes Google to artificially boost the sites rank as a result to searching for the Google bombed phrase. (daria g)
Joementum
One of Joe Lieberman's many awful puns used during his presidential run. It has been appropriated for snarky comments after Lieberman's rather poor results in Iowa and New Hampshire, and now generally refers to any candidacy experiencing negative momentum in a race. (Apparently the technical term for this isn't a pun, but a portmanteau.) (NegSpin, DemFromCT, Draco, EliWho)
Junior
Representative or Senator from a given state that has served less than any other member of that state's delegation. See also Senior.
Kool-Aid
Drinking the Kool-Aid. Originally from the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests (try the Tom Wolfe book of the same name), refering to Kool-Aid at parties being spiked with LSD, so had to drink the Kool-Aid to be "tuned in". Also connected in people's minds to Jim Jones' followers use of Flavor-Aid containing cyanide to kill themselves. Now used in political circles to refer to people who have bought into a candidacy or a cause wholeheartedly. (pyrrho, ogre)
Kool Kidz
Similar to the term defined above, media "heathers". Describes the disturbing tendency of many in the media to act like the proverbial "cool kids" in high school - you know, the ones who tortured the nerds and felt they were smugly superior and just "too cool" for everything that went on around them. This is exacerbated by the fact that many campaign reporters, who resent the grueling travel schedule, also resent the candidates for having become more successful than they are. So it manifests in the kind of coverage Gore got in 2000, as well-documented by Bob Somerby at the Howler.(DavidNYC)
Loyalty Oath
It's recently come into vogue to demand of the supporters of fallen or shaky looking candidates that they swear to support the party nominee despite what may happen to their man. (pyrrho)
Liebermetric
An inverse correlation between a candidate's standings in a poll and the amount of attention voters are paying to the race. Named for Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), whose 2004 presidential campaign initially led most polls based on high name recognition (Lieberman had been Vice President Al Gore's running mate in 2000), but then plummeted as voters got to know him better. (EliWho)
Mo, Big Mo
Momentum. (skiddie)
The Mighty Wurlitzer
Originally a CIA term for a propaganda machine, it refers to the network of right-wing publications, think-tanks, and broadcast outlets that regurgitate the day's RNC talking points. For further details, see Robert Borosage's article in the May 6, 2002 American Prospect.
Pumpkinhead
Tim Russert. (EliWho)
Push Poll
A technique for spreading lies or unpleasant truths about a rival candidate by pretending to conduct a telephone poll. Example: "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for George W. Bush if you knew he went AWOL from his unit during the Vietnam War?" (Thomas Kalinowski)
Senior
Representative or Senator from a given state that has served longer than any other member of that state's delegation. See also Junior.
Speaker Pelosi
A shorthand term for the Democratic goal of re-taking the House of Representatives in 2004. (e.g. "Donating to the DCCC is the only way we're going to get Speaker Pelosi.") If this were to happen, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would most likely become Speaker of the House. (EliWho)
Starve the Beast
A means of reducing the size and scope of government by using tax cuts to deprive it of revenue. "Reducing the size and scope of government" typically means doing away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - programs to which starve-the-beasters are ideologically opposed. In the words of Grover Norquist, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." For an explanation in the context of the Bush tax plan, see Paul Krugman's article.
Tin-Foil Hat
A disturbed person who wears tin-foil on their head to ward off the voices and signals from outer space. A label for outlandish conspiracy theorists from both left and right. A reference to stereotypical crazy conspiracy theory. Now beginning to come into use as a self-deprecating term to acknowledge that what the person is about to say sounds somewhat outlandish. Used similarly to asbestos long-johns. (DemFromCT)
Tracking Poll
Typically a one-question poll taken daily shortly before an election. Usually three (or sometimes two) days of results are then averaged together to lower the error incured by the small daily sample size. Purports to "track" the electorate on a day-by-day basis, showing momentum, movement, etc. Usually used in the last few days in the run up to an election. (DavidNYC)
Troll
People who post to message boards for the sole purpose of picking fights, creating schisms and generally making things unpleasant for everyone else. They do not necessarily believe what they post. A usenet term originally, originating from "trolling" as it originated from fishing, as in "Trolling for an argument". (kaley, pyrrho)
Tweety
Chris Matthews. (DemFromCT)
Wingnut
From right-wing nut.(Thomas Kalinowski)
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