Political Terms to Know for the 2008 Election A-K

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Bone up on your political jargon with this handy list of political phrases and expressions. While there are many of these, this list may be especially relevant to Presidential Election 2008, so keep an eye out for spotting these concepts as the race unfolds in all its drama!

  • Absurdistan – A satiric term for any country where absurdity is the norm. A funny farm on a national scale. What America may feel like when this election is over.
  • Armchair revolutionary – Related to “armchair quarterback” and “weekend warrior”. Now that the Internet has given us an easy way to do a lot of talking online without much action, it’s a term more relevant than ever!
  • Blue rinse brigade – It originated in the United Kingdom to describe the elderly middle-class ladies usually of a conservative socio-political persuasion. But it’s ready for adoption in America, where seniors are notoriously socially conservative, fiscally liberal, and retired so they have plenty of time to vote and campaign.
  • Bolters – Party members who leave the party for another one as soon as their favorite candidate doesn’t win the nomination. Possible usage: “Those Democrats stayed on until they saw Hilary didn’t get the Democratic nomination, then they left for the Republican party to go vote for Sarah Palin instead. Those bolters!”
  • Bush Derangement Syndrome – The tendency to blame George W. Bush for every single thing that goes wrong; right-wing pundits used it to describe “loony left” members who were apparently so hysterical they thought Bush caused hurricane Katrina. Now that Bush is leaving office with no incumbent to replace him, even the right-wing may catch a touch of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
  • CAVE People – C.A.V.E. stands for “Citizens Against Virtually Everything”. Specifically people who love anything as long as it’s established already, but hate change of any kind. As social questions like gay and women’s rights and whether to legalize marijuana or stop the Iraq war come into play, count on a comment or two from the CAVE People.
  • Christmas tree bill – A bill that passes through the House and Senate with a lot more unrelated amendments attached than it started with. Typically a small, minor bill, which then gets a new condition such as a favorable vendor or a tax loophole tossed in, and one Congressman after another does this until the bill resembles a tree decorated with ornaments hanging off of it. Also named because it’s usually the last bill passed in a hurry before Congress goes home for the Christmas holidays.
  • Crony capitalism – Just thought I’d remind you that this term exists. You aren’t supposed to think of any companies that happen to be named “Halliburton”, who are making a huge profit from the Iraq war while an ex-executive of their company who’s still getting money from them happens to be the out-going Vice-President under the President who declared the Iraq war.
  • Groupuscule – This is a word borrowed from the french to describe the tendency for the far extremes of a political party to break off into tiny little sub-parties over some minor quarrel or extreme view. Usage: “The Popular People’s Front is just a groupuscule from the People’s Front of Judea. Splitter!”
  • Kleptocracy – A government that increases the personal wealth and political power of the ruling class at the expense of the population. Since you hear “the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer” all of the time, now you can respond with, “What, you think we’re in a kleptocracy?”

You may not hear them all during the election process, but at least now you have some introduction to this special vocabulary and you won’t be left in the dark.

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