Used to characterize a supposedly offensive tough, “take-no-prisoners” approach to politics.
Jacob Weisberg: “Chicago-style politics, in common parlance, refers to the 1950s-1970s era of the Richard J. Daley machine… The strength and durability of the Daley machine was its ethnically based patronage network, a complex system of obligations, benefits, and loyalties that didn’t depend on televised communication with a broader public. It was a noncompetitive system that in its heyday had a lock on urban power and the spoils that went with it.”
Don Rose: “Time was the term ‘Chicago politics’ or ‘Chicago-style politics’ had a special meaning based on our history from the Al Capone years through the regime (1955-76) of one Richard J. Daley, aka Da Mare. Nowadays, like our unique political lexicon, it seems to have become a generic insult for just about any politics one disagrees with.”
A wall where people flaunt their political connections by displaying photos of themselves with more famous people.
The phenomenon is also sometimes called the “glory wall” or “me wall.”
Mike Nichols: “The ego wall is where the politician hangs pictures of himself or herself beside other, more famous politicians. It is why, when a president flies into town, there are usually about 495 lesser politicians waiting on the tarmac. They want a picture for the ego wall.”
Slate: “Lobbyists have glory walls in the office to impress clients. Staffers have them to impress other staffers. Socialites have their glory walls on the piano… For aspiring Washingtonians, the glory wall allows you to brag about conversations you never really had with the chief justice and intimacies you never really shared with the president.”
To attack a person’s reputation and views.
The term was popularized by the Wall Street Journal editorial page after the Senate rejected the nomination of Robert Bork the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987.
Bork himself later discussed the origination of the term in a 2005 interview with Frank Sesno on CNN:
BORK: Well, I knew what was happening. The core of the issue was, they were afraid I would vote to overrule Roe against Wade. And they were quite right.
SESNO: And your name became a verb.
BORK: My name became a verb. And I regard that as one form of immortality.
SESNO: To Bork means what?
BORK: I think to attack with — to attack a person’s reputation and views unfairly.
The point when you have tried everything but failed.
While the term originally refers to the effort required to remove a rusted or stripped nut, it has come to be used in a legislative context as the time to exert maximum effort to round up votes to get a bill passed due to an approaching deadline.
While the term did not originally refer to castration, many have used that as its double-meaning in a political context.
The junior members in the British House of Commons who occupy the back benches of Parliament, sitting behind party leaders and top government officials.
BBC: “Backbenchers are also sometimes known as private members and thus a backbencher can introduce an original idea for legislation in the form of a Private Member’s Bill. Backbenchers have more freedom to speak as they are not as constrained by loyalty to the government. This can also pose problems for the party whips who try to impose party discipline.”
The term has also come to refer to the rank-and-file members of the U.S. Congress who are not part of their party’s leadership.
Someone who expresses doubt or excessive worry about a political outcome.
ABC News reports that David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager and top political adviser, first coined the term in 2008 when Democrats began openly fretting about their political challenges.
Plouffe used the term again before the 2010 midterm elections in a Washington Post op-ed when he urged “no bed-wetting” among Democrats: “This will be a tough election for our party and for many Republican incumbents as well. Instead of fearing what may happen, let’s prove that we have more than just the brains to govern — that we have the guts to govern.”
A term coined for a Saturday Night Live sketch mocking George W. Bush and his reputation for mispronouncing words during the first presidential debate in 2000.
Comedian Will Ferrell played Bush in the sketch and was asked by the debate moderator to summarize “the best argument for his campaign.” His answer was “strategery.”
After the 2000 presidential election, the Washington Post reported that Bush staffers reportedly began using the term as a joke and even referred to the president’s political team as “The Department of Strategery.”
Bush himself used the term in a 2001 interview with CNN, presumably as a self-deprecating nod to the comedy sketch.
A primary to select candidates what is run by a political party and not the state.
Similar to a party canvas, a firehouse primary allows the party to keep control of the nominating process while allowing more participation than a party caucus. Participants generally arrive at multiple polling places anytime during announced polling hours, cast a secret ballot, and then leave.
William Safire noted the earliest in print reference to a firehouse primary was a 1990 Washington Times article about the selection of Democratic Party candidates for the county board in Arlington, Va.
The practice of setting music to awkward, B-roll footage of a politician.
The term was coined after Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) re-election campaign in 2014 posted a two-and-a-half minute video of the senator campaigning set simply to music. As Time points out, the footage “was most likely placed there for outside PACs supportive of McConnell to use, a practice circumventing campaign finance rules barring coordination used by both Republicans and Democrats.”
The Daily Show coined the term “McConnelling” and provided a few hilarious examples, putting the footage of McConnell to Salt-n-Pepa’s “Whatta Man,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
Said host Jon Stewart: “Here’s the secret. It works with every song that has the word ‘eyes’ in it.”
To travel around the country or state making political appearances during a political campaign. The phrase was first used when pilots would travel around the country to entertain with their flying skills.
All-Things-Aviation: “A typical barnstormer (or a group of barnstormers) would travel across to a village, borrow a field from a farmer for the day and advertise their presence in the town by flying several low passes over it – roaring over the main street at full throttle. The appearance of the barnstormers was akin to a national holiday. Entire towns were shut down and people would flock to the fields purchasing tickets for the show and plane rides. Locals, most of them never having seen planes before, would be thrilled by the experience. In several towns parties would be organized on such occasions in the honor of the barnstormers.” Now the word has come to mean a political speech given on the road.”