Factual inaccuracyn., lie; Ex:  The candidate’s claim that his opponent ate children raw was a factual inaccuracy. (2/14)

third party, n., political party that runs a politician who isn’t a politician favoring policies that aren’t policies to please voters who don’t vote. (2/15)

true conservative, n., candidate who dreams of taking the economy back to 1929, social programs back to 1868 and the Constitution back to 1789. (2/17)

proven leadershipn., 1. Candidate’s experience in running a Fortune 500 company, often into the ground; 2. Candidate’s experience as a one-term senator from a small, miserable state. (2/20)

failed policies of the pastn., misguided federal programs that utterly failed to end poverty,  stop the paving of the planet,  and give poor children a head start. syn., government. (2/21)

Superdonorn., ultra-rich campaign funder whose super democracy-subverting powers come from the planet Citizens United. Ex: Superdonor’s $2 million contribution enabled the candidate to bend campaign spending laws, change the course of mighty elections, and leap small voters in a single bound. (2/22)

debate, n.,1.  long-running sitcom in which candidates, posing as real people, trade quips and insults in hopes of higher ratings; 2. free prime-time political advertising with Betsy Ross as set designer.  (2/23)

playing politics – accusation that politicians level against other politicians charging that they are acting like politicians. Ex: After criticizing House Republicans  for “playing politics” with the payroll tax cut, President Obama accused the Chicago Bulls of playing basketball. (2/24)

Bridge to Nowheren., pork barrel government-funded bridge often cited to discredit Social Security, Medicare, and other bridges that have saved millions from drowning. (2/27)

Swift Boating, v., 1. to use the media, memoirs, and rumors to spread malicious lies about a candidate’s past. 2. to not merely slander a candidate but to effectively castrate him. Ex: By the time Karl Rove and company finished  Swift Boating John Kerry, a majority of voters thought the thrice-decorated veteran was an atheistic draft-dodger born in France who had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda.  (2/28)

negative campaigningn., – campaign style based on vicious, insulting, un-American and ugly personal attacks that alienate the public and win elections. (2/29)

gas prices – n., 1. economic indicator controlled by OPEC, world tensions, and supply and demand. 2. economic indicator controlled by oil companies, according to Democrats, and the White House, according to Republicans. 3. the cause of all discontent in America.  Ex: When gas prices hit $4 a gallon, many Americans saw life as no longer worth living. (3/1)

campaign playbookn., –  football metaphor turning attack ads into blitzes, late  decisions into “Hail Marys,” and the candidate into America’s universal can-do hero, the quarterback. Ex: Going into the primary with third down and long yardage, the candidate opened  his playbook and, working out of the shotgun, threw long. But his opponent had stolen his playbook and intercepted, winning the primary by 10 points. (3/2)

The Future, 
n., – Promised Land of politics reached by opposing new ideas, stonewalling  change, and nurturing nostalgia.  Ex:  The candidate promised to restore America’s  future by rolling back health care reform, opposing alternative energy, resurrecting Ronald Reagan, and repealing the years 1985-2012. (3/5)

Free speechn., – First amendment right allowing a candidate to lie without fear of prosecution or even correction. Ex: In America, Truth in Advertising laws prevent you from claiming that Listerine cures colds, but free speech allows you to say your opponent voted to give Viagra to prostitutes, voted to raise taxes 52 times, refuses to celebrate Christmas, and is coming to get your guns.  Is this a great country or what? (3/6)

social issues, n. – controversial issues, including abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, that give candidates license to be anti-social and Christians license to be un-Christian.  (3/7)

libertariann., intelligent, well-intentioned candidate who believes people should be free of government oppression, tyranny, and exploitation so they can freely oppress, tyrannize, and exploit each other. (3/8)

prosperityn., — state of well-being, often said to be just around the corner, which the incumbent has single-handedly destroyed and the challenger will  single-handedly restore. Ex: If elected, the candidate promised to restore prosperity within 90 minutes of his inauguration. (3/9)

entitlement, n., 1. Sense of deservedness felt by citizens who want something for their tax dollars other than wars, 2. Any government program a candidate doesn’t like.  Ex: The candidate promised to cut Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, education and highway funding, Head Start, school lunch programs, the EPA, and several other wasteful entitlements paid for by taxpayers. (3/12)

outrage , n., sense of fury felt by loyal member of either party when forced to live in a two-party system. (3/13)

election integrity, n., – effort to secure fair elections by challenging the voting rights of anyone, especially minorities, likely to vote against your party.  Ex: You’ll feel better knowing that the same party lawyers who decided the 2000 presidential election are working to give the 2012 contest the same election integrity. (3/14)

Massachusettsn., – 1. state with the strongest social programs, lowest divorce rate, highest education levels, fourth highest per capita income, and 37th highest taxes; 2 .a socialist gulag with crippling taxes, death panel health care, strangling bureaucracy and millions of liberals. Syn: Taxachusetts, hell, France.  (3/15)

moderate, n., dangerous middle-of-the-road candidate whose reasoned, temperate views are leading this country to ruin. syn: wimp, sellout, waffler. Ex: Ancient Greek moderates believed in “moderation in all things” and look at Greece today. (3/16)

bureaucracy, n., government agencies that restrict and enrage ordinary citizens who would rather be restricted and enraged by corporate boards. (3/19)

brokered convention, n., – what occurs when primary voters can’t make up their minds which of two evils is the lesser.  (3/20)

fossil fuels, n., energy sources formed by decaying fossils which now power the dinosaurs that roam freeways and decay in Congress. (3/25)

birthern., – person who believes a man would forge his birth certificate, the Democratic Party would fail to investigate, and the media would go along, all in order to run a black Muslim for president of the United States; 2. the living embodiment of fear’s triumph over reason. (3/26)

 “Which Candidate Would You Rather Have a Beer With?” – 1. poll question that promotes likable candidates rather than thoughtful candidates; 2. proof that a presidential campaign is a high school election writ large. Ex: Voters who elected the candidate they wanted to have a beer were disappointed when, as president, he behaved like a frat boy. (3/27)

death taxn., – tax on inherited wealth that, after credits and exemptions, is assessed on estates above $5 million; 2. Another blood-sucking government drain on all working class Americans worth more than $5 million. Ex: Nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes and politicians ranting about the death tax. (3/28)

Main Street/Wall Streetn., – The contrast between Real Americans who toil for obscenely low wages, and workaholics who toil for obscenely high wages, with bonuses and bailouts. Ex: The candidate asked how the policy would play on Main Street and his SuperDonors wondered how it would play on Wall Street, but the public knew the only street that mattered is K Street. (3/29)

Our fiscal house, 
n., metaphor comparing America’s $13 trillion economy to a foreclosed, 2-bedroom fixer-upper with bad plumbing and a leaky roof. Ex:  Speaking to homeowners, half of whose homes were underwater and the other half in need of serious siding improvements, the candidate promised to get “our fiscal house in order.” (3/30)

privatizationn., candidate’s promise to shrink government by using the private sector to solve problems the private sector has caused or ignored.  (4/2)

Francen., – 1. long time ally whose friendship extends from the American Revolution through World War II and beyond; 2. during a campaign, a wine-besotted, un-American  nation with socialist health care, smelly cheeses, and effeminate intellectuals in funny hats. Syn: Massachusetts. Ex: The liberal candidate did his best to seem American but his loss was sealed when his opponent proved he had once studied in France.  (4/3)

talking pointsn., daily series of co-ordinated and rehearsed idiocies, insults, and lies  repeated by party pundits until America loses what’s left of its mind.  Syn: Hitler’s Big Lie. Ex: From the lowliest campaign worker to the heights of media punditry, the party stuck to its talking points and stifled all dissent, discussion, and democracy. (4/4)

conservativen., an old liberal with a new mortgage. (4/5)

liberal, n., well-meaning person whose tragic attraction to lattes, Volvos, sushi, and going to college renders all his political opinions invalid and unpatriotic. See: France, Massachusetts. (4/6)

bleeding heartn., a heart condition, increasingly rare, characterized by genuine compassion and empathy, that proves fatal to politicians. See: “compassionate conservative” but don’t fall for it. (4/9)

capital gainsn., 1. earnings on investments taxed in the lowest IRS bracket (15%); 2. for the 99 percent, a dream, for the 1 percent, payday. Ex: “Best investment I ever made?” said the billionaire as he paid the IRS 14 percent thanks to capital gains.  ”Why, buying Congress, of course.” (4/10)

Take our country back – n., 1. for Democrats, back to 1960, for Republicans, back to 1860; 2. proof that nostalgia has kidnapped truth, hidden it in a dark cabin somewhere deep in the woods and is demanding the future as ransom. (4/11)

womenn., 160 million member special interest group whose babies must be kissed, whose freedom to choose life must be protected, whose votes and husbands must be courted.  Beyond that, though…   Ex: The candidate did his best to appeal to women but he wasn’t very appealing because most women had met someone like him.(4/12)

activist judgen., any judge whose most recent decision, empowered by the Constitution, a candidate in his judicial wisdom considers unconstitutional.  (4/13)

The Real American., – any region with a diner where people listen, a high school auditorium without hecklers, and an electorate that doesn’t believe what the polls say. Ex: “It’s great to be here in the Real America,” the candidate said to the small crowd lined up to collect their unemployment checks. (4/16)

just don’t get itn., phrase designed to isolate opponents by branding them as clueless  outsiders who do not understand the joke of being an American in 2012.  Syn: out-of-touch, loser, pathetic loser, Congressman.  (4/17)

opposition research, n., 1. coordinated investigation digging up innuendoes, gossip, and outright lies to destroy an opponent, his wife, dog, and little children; 2. slander for hire.  Ex: The new candidate seemed presidential until opposition research made him look like the reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler.  See: Swift-boating, factual inaccuracy, yo’ mama. (4/18)

The American Dreamn., 1. “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” (archaic); 2. being left alone in your garage with your chicken, your car, and your pot. Ex: The candidate spoke about restoring the American Dream and then made our dreams come true when he finally shut up and left. (4/19)

wedge issue, n., emotionally charged issue such as abortion, flag burning, or gay marriage, calculated to drive a wedge between a voter and his self-interest.  Syn: hot button issue, game changer, whatever drives up cable ratings.  (4/20)

slipping through the cracksv., candidate catchphrase blaming poverty on America’s social safety net, the world’s only net with cracks. Ex: The 46.2 million Americans now living below the poverty line had slipped through the cracks, the candidate said with a straight face. (4/23)

Ronald Reagan, n., 1. symbol of all that is holy and good; 2. the only Republican president of the last 50 years that the party can point to with pride.  Ex: Ronald Reagan’s average approval rating in office, 52.8 percent, puts him about in the middle of post-WWII presidents. (4/24)

inequalityn., 1. social process by which the rich get richer and the poor go to Wal-mart;  2. the monster that ate the middle class.  Ex: The poor man shouted about inequality, the merchant spoke clearly, but the rich man heard just two words — “class warfare.” (4/25)

political clout, n., money. Ex: Within days after the SuperDonor wielded his political clout, all Congressional bills regulating his industry were bludgeoned to death in committee. (4/26)

balancing the budgetv., promise to voters who prefer a government of me, by me, for me, but without taxes on me.  Syn: popular fiction. (4/27)

framing a questionv., 1. rephrasing a question to your own liking; 2. using gilded language to make a complex issue seem as simple as the “Mona Lisa” and as alarming as “The Scream.”  Ex:  The candidate framed the immigration question by calling it “Freedom’s Last Stand.”  See: death tax.  (4/30)

fat catsn., rich elites backing a candidate’s opponent who, with the help of his “generous donors,” he will defeat in November. (5/1)

immigrationn., people coming to America to take jobs that people whose ancestors came to America won’t take. 2. highly sensitive economic barometer. Ex: When unemployment tops 5 percent, immigration tops the talking points. (5/2)

left wing media, n., the entire media except the National Review, half the Internet, FOXNews and everything else owned by Rupert Murdoch, all of talk radio, CNBC, several corporate media conglomerates, the Wall Street Journal, two-thirds of the blogosphere, the Washington Times, local news everywhere except Boston, Berkeley, and Boulder, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes and Fortune…(5/3)

tacking to the center, v., renouncing promises made during primaries in order to appear practical, presidential, and sane.  Ex: Tacking to the center once he had the nomination, the candidate said ending Social Security and dynamiting the Department of Education would “not be my first priorities.” (5/4)

truth in politics, n., a popular myth that surfaces every four years. Syn: truth in lending, truth in fairy tales, truth on Wall Street. (5/7)

swing votersn.,1.  critical part of the electorate which, disregarding issues, votes for the candidate with the best attack ads; 2. The people who bring you the political pendulum.  Ex: The swing voter was proud to have voted for Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and all the student body presidents in his high school! (5/8)

insidern., politico well-known by other politicos for wooing the same lobbyists, stonewalling the same changes, kissing the same asses. Antonym: voter. (5/9)

debt ceilingn., limit to government borrowing that keeps the house from falling in on bickering Congressman. (5/10)

hot buttonn., small issue that, when pushed, releases a cloud of controversy, unleashes teams of robotic talking heads, and turns informed voters into single-issue constituencies eager to vote against their own interest.  (5/11)

The Beltwayn., geographical area surrounding Washington D.C. defined by strip malls, 2-hour commutes, and its vast ideological detachment from the strip malls, and 2-hour commutes of the Real America. Ex: The candidate said his opponent’s ideas would never play “outside the Beltway,” then he went there. (5/15)

transparencyn., campaign disclosure goal of letting voters see every dirty dollar that is corrupting democracy.  (5/16)

battleground staten., state whose political indecision causes it to suffer a blitz of attack ads, a scorched earth invasion of advance men, and repeated visits by candidates of both parties.  (5/17)

swing staten., state that gave its electoral votes to the winning candidate in the last election but still has problems. (5/18)

 “It’s the ____ stupid!” n., catchphrase designed to dumb down a campaign, calm bewildered  voters, and earn soundbytes on FOXNews and CNN.  Ex: The candidate spoke at length about deficits, tax loopholes, and capital gains, but when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” we all felt much better. (5/21)

grassrootsadj., 1. idea or candidate supported by average citizens (archaic); 2. the mask worn by billionaires bankrolling the latest attack ads. Ex: “Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a conservative nonprofit group that is one of the most prominent critics of President Obama, raised nearly $77 million in its first 19 months from a small cadre of secret donors, including two dozen who wrote checks of $1 million and more.” (Los Angeles Times) (5/22)

million dollars – n., 1. a fortune (archaic); 2. sum spent daily by each candidate and hourly by the Pentagon. See: clout, Super Donor, million billion jillion dollars. (5/23)

voter, n., concerned citizen whose free speech once determined elections but is now, unless he can buy free speech, only allowed to vote. Ex: After surviving 18 months of attack ads, slanders, and other free speech, the voter cast his vote, then went home and took a shower. (5/24)

incumbentn., evil officeholder with close personal ties to every opposition party member and responsibility for every last one of the nation’s problems. Ex: The candidate blamed the incumbent for gas prices, high taxes, low self-esteem, and the crucifixion of Christ. (5/25)

agendan., sinister list of policies that an opponent will, if not stopped, inflict upon the unsuspecting American people. Ex: The candidate had plans but his opponent had… an agenda!  (5/29)

War on Povertyn., 1960s social programs that cut the overall poverty rate from 22 to 12 percent and seniors’ poverty rate  from 35 to 15 percent, and were therefore a failure. Ex: “In the Sixties we waged a war on poverty and poverty won.” – Ronald Reagan (5/30)

this mess, n., the current mess, as distinguished from previous messes under previous administrations. Ex: The candidate vowed, if elected, “to clean up this mess” but after he left, our cleaning crew still had to do it.  (5/31)

flip-flop, n. 1. casual, open-toe footwear enabling the wearer to walk comfortably in hot sand; 2. casual, open-brain campaign style enabling the candidate to walk comfortably through hot button issues. Ex: Before he started flip-flopping, the candidate was against everything we stood for but now we like him because we can’t remember anything that occurred before last Thursday. (6/1)

Solyndra, n., failed solar energy company whose government backing proves that solar energy is futile and the sun refuses to shine on Democrats; 2. buzzword for converting complex industries and policies into tweets and sound bites. See: Bain Capital. (6/4)

Bain Capitaln., 1. venture capital firm whose buying and selling of other companies bears as much relationship to the Oval Office job as a laptop does to a horse; 2. buzzword for converting complex industries and policies into tweets and sound bites. See: Solyndra. (6/5)

government takeover of…  n., modest government reform of a ruined or dysfunctional part of the private sector.  Ex: PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. (Tampa Bay Times) (6/6)

Laborn., the people who built America but were too busy doing so to tell their children and grandchildren about it. (6/7)

modernizing our militaryv., purchase and deployment of state-of-the-art killing machines to hunt people in caves. (6/8)

Founding Fathersn., flawless men whose vision still guides an America that resembles theirs as much as horse-drawn carriages resemble SUVs and muskets resemble .9 mm Glocks. Ex: The candidate swooned when he mentioned the Founding Fathers, but no one in the audience could name more than two of them. (6/11)

school choicen., candidate’s promise to save our schools by letting students choose the school where they’ll refuse to do their homework. (6/12)

fund-raisern., 1. dinner where Americans pay $40,000 each to discuss helping or ignoring the Americans digging in the dumpster out back; 2. the morphing of politics into prostitution. (6/13)

broccoli, n., vegetable high in fiber but which, when used as a metaphor for health care reform, causes garden-variety ignorance. Ex: During Supreme Court hearings on Obamacare, when Justice Scalia wondered whether the government could require citizens to buy broccoli, third graders across America howled with laughter. (6/15)

setting priorities, v., deciding which education, health, or infrastructure funds to cut in order to sustain the defense budget. (6/18)

private sector, n., sanctified realm of the economy where a sophisticated understanding of political science is acquired by meeting payrolls and balancing budgets. (6/19)

apologizing for America, v., 1. refusing to shout that America is the greatest nation on earth; 2. admitting that a nation with the world’s largest economy and history’s largest military might, every now and then, make a mistake. Ex: The candidate assured his audience that he will never “apologize for America,” not even if 37 guests at an Afghan wedding are killed by drones. (6/20)

focus group, n., panel of ordinary citizens hired to tell a candidate what makes ordinary citizens frightened enough to vote for him. (6/21)

campaign ethics, n., the notion that candidates should behave according to certain rules (archaic) Ex: Some in the audience had a vague recognition of the term ‘campaign ethics’ but memories of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove ended the conversation. (6/22)

small business, n., 1. corporate America’s fallback defense against government regulation; 2. nostalgia for the days when Mom and Pop owned more than a mortgage.  Ex: The CEOs of Wal-Mart, GE, and ExxonMobil bitterly complained of what the proposed regulations would to do small business.  (6/25)

job killer, n., 1. proposed regulations on a lucrative industry; 2 proposed tax hike on a candidate’s base.  Ex: By November, the candidate had shouted “job killer” about  everything from minimum wages to health care to paid sick leave, but the press had not done a single autopsy. (6/26)

old school, adj., charge that an opponent is tradition-bound but bound by the wrong traditions. Ex: The candidate called his opponent “old school” but failed to note that his own school (Harvard) was much older than his opponent’s (Columbia). (6/27)

federal mandate, n., tyrannical requirement forcing Americans to occasionally behave with a  social conscience. Ex: When the government mandated that all Americans breathe, millions held their breath till they turned blue. See: broccoli. (6/28)

the first thing I will do in the Oval Office…, n., 1. the illusion that a president can single-handedly change things; 2. pandering to American’s latent wish for a king. Ex: The candidate predicted the first thing he would do in the Oval Office but the first thing he did was start his re-election campaign. (6/29)

our economic freedom, n., the freedom of a few to get vastly rich, most to just get along, and the rest to get a gun. (7/2)

cradle to grave, n., mocking a government for concern about its citizens.  Ex: The candidate denounced “cradle to grave” Socialism but didn’t tell us where the cradle is the grave for fewer infants and the grave is farther in the future. (7/3)

the fact of the matter is… n., routine introduction to a statement that has few facts and doesn’t matter. Syn: “it’s a well-known fact that…”; “according to reliable sources…”; “the facts clearly show that…”; Antonym: “Facts are stupid things.” — Ronald Reagan (7/4)

The Promised Land, n., fabled land where candidates make promises and everyone else makes diddly squat. See: The Future, but get a clue. (7/5)

undecided voter, n., upright, under-informed citizen with a coin in one hand and the fate of the election in the other. Ex: Despite 18 months of incoming attack ads, spin, and wholesale slander, the undecided voter just could not make up his mind — so he went shopping. (7/6)

anonymous donor, n., campaign contributor who doesn’t want the corruption of democracy traced to his doorstep or to his corporate boards. Ex: The anonymous donor’s name graces buildings at his alma mater but dare not speak its name at the Restore our Fortunes SuperPAC. (7/9)

Dead on Arrival, adj, Congressional response to any proposal that requires compromise. Ex: Several  Congressmen pronouncing the president’s plan “dead on arrival” looked to have had died days before the press conference and their last new ideas passed away in 1959. (7/10)

voter ID laws, n., protection against the likelihood that up to 15 million Americans will attempt to vote while black. (7/11)

“Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?n., challenger’s question designed to turn a multi-issue political campaign into a self-help seminar. (7/12)

climate change, n., tepid term for global warming that turns down the heat on gas guzzling Americans and cools all talk of solutions. Ex: Relax, Tommy —  those melting  icecaps, scorching summers, ramped up hurricanes, and rising oceans are just climate change, and change is good! (7/13)

think tankn., collection of Ph.D.-level policy makers doing unbiased metrics-based research proving their precise political point of view.  Ex: The candidate cited the prestigious (pick one: conservative/liberal) think tank whose most recent research supported (pick one: slashing/raising) taxes in order to grow the economy. (7/17)

politics as usual, n.,  1. the relentless system of big money, big egos, and big deficits that candidates, to be elected, promise to end; 2; the relentless system of big money, big egos, and big deficits that incumbents, to be re-elected, perpetuate. (8/6)

fiscal cliffn., disaster set to occur when the lemmings in Congress, after years of obeying their instincts to slash taxes and increase spending, will plunge en masse over the edge of deficits, taking the country with them. (8/7)

bi-partisan commissionn., 1. panel of moderates from both parties that produces a report neither party will endorse; 2. panel of extremists from both parties that breaks down before producing a report. Ex: The bi-partisan commission filed its report.  (8/8)

full disclosure, n., candidate’s tactic of revealing small amounts of personal and financial information, thus diverting media attention until his opponent’s next scandal. (8/9)

extending the Bush tax cuts, v., keeping the 99 percent in their place or else in the streets. Ex: The candidate promised to extend the Bush tax cuts but we just wanted him to swear he would never mention Bush again. (8/10)

running mate, n., vice presidential candidate chosen to win states the challenger has small chance of winning, attract voters the candidate has small chance of attracting, and  create small blunders to distract from the candidate’s big blunders.  See: Dick Cheney, but duck.  (8/13)

Medicare, n., the socialized medicine that dare not speak its name. Ex: When a South Carolina man told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” awkward moments passed until someone in the audience finally took the man aside. (8/14)

Ayn Rand, n., 1. author whose political tracts disguised as novels pass as evidence of erudition in certain circles; 2. author whose political tracts disguised as novels are the only novels certain circles have read since high school. (8/15)

energizing the basev., 1. reminding core supporters why they should vote for you despite what they’ve recently heard; 2. reminding donors why you still need more and more money.  Ex: On a recent swing through swing states, the candidate energized his base by speaking to whole rooms of people who looked exactly like him. (8/16)

marriage, n., sacred matrimony,  holy bond, and untouchable foundation of society whose component parts must be pre-approved by the federal government. (8/17)

a real debate, n., 1. what politicians call for when they want to seem above the fray; 2. what voters hope for during each campaign; 3. what surrenders to another season of scandals and Swift Boating. Ex: We all looked forward to a real debate but what we got was two guys stumping the swing states while spewing sound bytes. (8/20)

outside groups, n., roving PACs of feral millionaires from other states bankrolling vicious attack ads that leave a Congressional candidate with no blood on his hands. Ex: Huge contributions from SuperPACs and other outside groups have turned slander into a spectator sport. (8/21)

God, n., 1. a Democratic candidate’s good friend; 2. a Republican candidate’s good friend, spiritual counselor, SuperPAC contributor, and top level campaign adviser. (8/22)

intellectual, n., 1. in the opposition party, a politician with a pointy head, East Coast college degree, and out-of-touch values; 2. in the candidate’s own party, a politician who reads. See :Ayn Rand, but. . . . on second thought. . . don’t. (8/23)

throwing money at a problem, n., 1. funding a program a candidate does not like; 2. government in action.  Antonym:  throwing denial at a problem. Ex: Democrats keep throwing money at problems but Republicans prefer to just throw problems away. (8/24)

 convention, n., raucous election-year gathering that confirms the obvious, restates the given, specializes special interests, nominates the nominee, and waves the flag, all before a dwindling prime-time audience and a clownlike convention hall. (8/27)

faction, n., 1. the byproduct of distilling the full spectrum of political thought into two parties; 2. party members even crazier than their party. (8/28)

hard truths, n., what a candidate, reminding you of your father, promises to tell you about jobs, life, the family’s multi-trillion dollar debt and why your mother is in the next room sobbing and packing.  Ex: The candidate told us hard truths but the fact that he was the candidate was the hardest of all to swallow. (8/29)

Mitt Romneyn., 1. Republican presidential candidate; 2.                                                                 Ex:                                   (8/31)

war chestn., coffers filled with billions in SuperPAC contributions just waiting for the right time to detonate democracy. Ex: The incumbent had the backing of a majority of voters in key states but his opponent had his war chest, making the race a dead heat. (9/4)

crony capitalism, n., 1. one rich candidate’s charge that the other rich candidate favors the rich. 2. charge leveled by capitalists whose cronies aren’t doing their jobs. Ex: Speaking to his capitalist cronies at the $50,000 a plate dinner, the candidate accused his opponent of “crony capitalism.” (9/5)

trickle down economics, n., widely discredited economic theory positing that money follows the laws of gravity rather than the laws of greed. (9/6)

Barack Obaman., 1. centrist politician whose compromise and commitment have made him a decent president; 2. ultra-radical Socialist/Maoist bent on destroying America in revenge for his Muslim faith and African father; See: Barack Hussein Obama; 3. charismatic politician whose refusal to totally change America smacks of ineptitude and betrayal. (9/7)

foreign aid, n., huge sinkhole into which the U.S. has poured trillions, only to be paid back with resentment and attack. Ex: The candidate promised to “zero out” foreign aid, saving the nation a whopping $12 billion a year, or .19 percent of GDP. (9/10)

leaning Republican/Democratv., condition of a state or voter who, against all better judgment, has been watching the latest attack ads. Ex: After a $35.2 million attack ad blitz throughout the state, Ohio is now leaning Republican and may soon fall over. (9/11)

economically disadvantagedadj., broke. Syn: busted, bankrupt, insolvent, penniless, ruined, out of business,  spent, likely to vote Republican and thus remain broke, busted, bankrupt, insolvent, penniless, ruined…  (9/12)

The Senaten., democratic legislative body where a single vote can hold up an appointment and the threat of a filibuster ends all discussion; 2. where democracy goes to die. Ex: With 65 percent of Americans supporting the bill, it went to the Senate where a  senator from Wyoming cleared his throat, a senator from Kentucky chuckled, and the bill  was never heard from again. See: Dead on Arrival. (9/13)

have issues withv., to disagree so violently that you don’t know where to begin. Ex: All the incumbent could say about his challenger’s plan to give every American a gun and a Bible was, “I have issues with that.” (9/14)

tax loophole
n., chasm in the tax code that allows a rich taxpayer with a clever accountant to become a non-taxpayer with a Lamborghini (business expense), a McMansion (home office) and a trophy wife (exemption). (9/17)

kick the can down the roadv., 1. metaphor comparing a child’s purposeful game to the Congressional art of shirking responsibility; 2. proof that Congress is composed of children. Ex: “We’re not going to kick the can down the road,” the Congressman said, “so there, nyaah.” (9/18)

The 47 Percentn.,  freeloaders who depend on the government because the private sector has left them too poor to pay federal income tax.  Ex:  ” There are 47 percent…who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” See: you name it, but don’t name it. (9/19)

spinv., 1.  to turn rapidly; 2. the art of reframing or lying about an issue to turn public opinion rapidly. Ex: Months after the incumbent spun the unemployment rate into proof of recovery, millions were still dizzy. (9/20)

redistributionn., 1. reducing financial inequity through taxation (archaic); 2. increasing financial inequality by slashing taxes, exporting jobs, cutting education, then blaming your  opponent for mentioning redistribution. Ex: Terrified by talk of redistribution, the citizen calculated his net worth and saw who was doing the redistributing.   (9/21)

political footballn., hotly-debated issue that Congress tries to run into the end zone but fumbles, recovers, fumbles again, and eventually punts. (9/24)

redistrictingv., redrawing Congressional districts into snakelike shapes guaranteed to elect politicians shaped like cowards and cheaters. Ex: By the time Texas finished its redistricting, many districts were as slimy and ugly as the snakes they sent to Congress. (9/25)

The Housen., larger of the two Congressional bodies that contains the full range of American political opinion from zealot to fanatic. Ex: “You better stop that fussin’, Billy,” his mother said, “or your father and I will make you watch The House on C-SPAN.”  (9/26)

classn., wealth-based distinction that divides every country in the world except the United States.  Ex: “There are no classes in America. . . We don’t put people in classes.”   — Rick Santorum  (9/27)

deficit hawkn., politician or pundit who, when his party is not in power, cares passionately about the federal deficit. Ex: The day after he lost his committee chairmanship in the Senate, the deficit hawk began to squawk. (9/28)

biased polln., 1. poll which has your candidate losing; 2. poll conducted according to statistically sound measures but reported in the media. See: left-wing media. (10/1)

501(c)4n., 1. tax exempt “social welfare” agency perverting free speech into unlimited anonymous campaign spending; 2.  agency that turns  “the conversation of democracy” into table talk at a $50,000 a plate fund raiser. Ex: Asked what 501(c)4 stood for, the candidate said, “prostitution” and all the Johns laughed as they reached for their checkbooks. (10/2)

debate, n., free prime-time political advertising with Betsy Ross as set designer. (10/3)

post-debate bouncen., rise in polling numbers by candidate whose testosterone seemed most rabid and whose lies seemed the most plausible. Ex: Pundits attributed the candidate’s post-debate bounce to his assertion, again and again, that his opponent is a weenie. (10/4)

factsn., 1. annoying guests no longer invited to debates or political parties; 2. precise data carefully selected, altered, or twisted to support a candidate’s worldview. Ex: “Facts are stupid things.” – Ronald Reagan (10/5)

second amendmentn., sacred scripture granting each American the right to own enough semi-automatics, Glocks, and ammo to make sure “no one messes with me again.” Ex: After the last random shooting, the second amendment was re-written as: “A loosely regulated lunatic fringe being the by-product of a free State, the right of all paranoids to keep and bear semi-automatics shall not be infringed.” (10/8)

home stretchn., final grueling weeks of the campaign when TV’s relentless commentary, talk shows, debates, and attack ads  makes it a real stretch to stay home on a given night. (10/9)

dead heatn., election whose results are too close to call because the electorate is split,
the undecideds are watching “American Idol,” and the 50 percent who could make a difference can’t be bothered to vote. (10/10)

bipartisanadj., candidate’s promise to work with both parties as they try to destroy each other and as one party, if he’s a Democrat, tries to destroy him. Ex: “I will be a bi-partisan president,” the candidate said as he donned his flak jacket. (10/11)

scare tactics, n., 1. candidate’s charge that the other side is using fear better than his side; 2. campaigning as usual. Ex:  When Paul Ryan accused the Democrats of using “scare tactics,” TV audiences laughed louder than they did during “The Office.” (10/12)

freedom from speech, n., forgotten right of all Americans to turn off their TVs, Internet, radio, and other media, stop the blather and just think for a minute. (10/15)

no tax pledgen., 1. GOP Congressional pledge to keep taxes at historic lows and red ink at historic highs; 2. government run by people who don’t believe in government. Ex: After we elected politicians who had taken the no tax pledge, we hired teachers who pledged to cut their classes, doctors who told us to “just buck up,” and lawyers who pledged to never set foot in a courtroom. (10/17)

the next four yearsn., 1.

Ex: The candidate considered discussing what he would do in the next four years but then he remembered Congress. (10/18)

October surprisen., 1. late campaign revelation about an opponent designed to rescue the candidate’s sinking ship; 2. last chance for slander. Ex: The candidate’s October surprise accused his opponent of adultery, treason, and drowning his kittens in his kids’ wading pool. (10/19)

foreign policy debaten., spirited, even arrogant argument between candidates or Congressmen over how to impose American spirit and arrogance on a global scale. See: the world from somewhere other than a cruise ship. (10/22)

gender gapn.,  1. in the job market, the 23% gap in pay for equal work; 2. in politics, the tendency of women to vote for their interests and men to vote for their fantasies. (10/23)

reaching across the aisle, v., working with the opposition party to produce a bill that will not be filibustered, will not please anyone, will pass and be signed into law, and will not change anything. (10/24)

waitress mom, n., daughter of a soccer mom, granddaughter of a stay-at-home mom, currently torn between job, kids, and which pandering candidate will get her vote, if she has time to vote. Ex: The waitress mom couldn’t decide between the candidate who promised jobs but had outsourced them and the candidate who promised jobs but didn’t get her a better one, so she muted all the attack ads during “Teen Mom.” (10/25)

Electoral College, n., 1. college that meets once every four years to dilute democracy; 2. 18th century innovation turned 20th century relic turned 21st century embarrassment. Ex: Across America this week, sheepish parents will be stumped by the same questions: what does the Electoral College do and were our Founding Fathers drunk when they devised it? (10/26)

optimism, n., last refuge of a losing candidate; 2. popular sentiment among embattled, brow-beaten Americans when counting the days till Election Day.  (10/29)

Global Warmingn., ongoing eco-catastrophe which, though never mentioned in the campaign, proved to be the only power that could shut down its hot air.  See: Climate Change but it’s way worse than that. (10/30)

campaign slogann., brief statement of campaign goals simplified to reach the growing number of Americans puzzled by full sentences. Ex: Romney’s campaign slogan “Believe in America” sets his supporters apart from Obama’s, who believe in China or Al-Qaeda, while Obama’s ‘Forward’ contrasts with Romney who wants to drive America in neutral or reverse. (10/31)

conservative credentialsn., hard-line positions on key issues – abortion, immigration, gun control – that a GOP candidate polishes during the primaries but buries when the election approaches. See: tacking to the center and ask yourself how long people are going to fall for this. (11/1)

misleadingadj., media euphemism for a deceitful, lying, mendacious, slanderous, election-stealing, Swift Boating statement. See: factual inaccuracy. Ex: Although the ad’s claim that the incumbent once killed thirty people with a blunt instrument was an outright lie, the press called it misleading. (11/2)

getting out the votev., knocking on doors and making phone call to convince millions that the endless hours of attack ads, debates, punditry, and polemics were all real and that democracy is not a spectator sport. (11/5)


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