A nickname for Louisiana Gov. Huey Long because of his larger-than-life status in Louisiana. He was assassinated in 1935.
The Social Security website states that: “A farm boy from the piney woods of North Louisiana, he was colorful, charismatic, controversial, and always just skating on the edge. He gave himself the nickname “Kingfish” because, he said, “I’m a small fish here in Washington. But I’m the Kingfish to the folks down in Louisiana.”
Short for “good government guys,” referring to people who would fight for government reform.
This was used during the 1970s as a derisive term for those who were fighting to clean up city municipalities. James Merriner writes that the phrase was “attributed to Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun in the late nineteenth century. Goo goo might have originally been applied to members of the Good Government Association of Boston, energized by Harvard reformers in suburban Cambridge.”
A ticket for an election in which the lower position is occupied by a more attractive candidate than the higher position.
The Chicago Tribune defines it “a combination of nominees in which the running mate is more appealing than the presidential candidate (possibly coined to refer to a kangaroo’s propulsion from its hind legs, or to the weight it carries in its bottom half).”
The phrase originated during the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Democratic party leaders wanted a more experienced nomination. As Salon notes, “The choice of John Nance Garner, Speaker of the House, for the second spot on the ticket exacerbated the problem. The popular Texan was much better known and more experienced than Roosevelt. One disappointed Texas colleague complained, ‘It’s a kangaroo ticket. Stronger in the hindquarters than in the front.’”
The phenomenon whereby certain people are “mentioned” to journalists as possible candidates for higher office.
Scott Simon of National Public Radio explained: “The late Art Buchwald used to talk about the Great Mentioner — some unnamed person who told pundits and reporters a lot of people say this, a lot of people say that. Art said that if you trace back exactly who said this and that, it was usually just the reporters and analysts themselves that tried to splash a coat of credibility over sheer speculation by putting it in the mouth of the Great Mentioner.”
Ryan Lizza attributes the term to New York Times columnist Russell Baker who used it “to describe the mysterious source who plucks politicians from obscurity and mentions them to political journalists as contenders for higher office.”
Attempting to diminish a political foe by likening his or her words to remarks on “legitimate rape” made by former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) while seeking a U.S. Senate seat in 2012.
Bill Lambrecht: “Akinize has been used often to describe political attacks since those remarks about rape and pregnancy effectively scuttled Akin’s political ambition. Google finds Akinize 15,000 times.”
When the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate disregards a rule or precedent.
This most commonly refers to an effort by the Senate to end a filibuster by a simple majority, even though rules specify that ending a filibuster requires the consent of at least 60 senators.
An opinion written by Vice President Richard Nixon in 1957 concluded that the U.S. Constitution grants the presiding officer the authority to override Senate rules in this way. If a majority vote to uphold the presiding officer, his interpretation of the rules becomes a precedent.
Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) first called the option “nuclear” in March 2003, using the metaphor of a nuclear strike to suggest it might provoke retaliation by the minority party.
The ability to deny blame because evidence does not exist to confirm responsibility for an action. The lack of evidence makes the denial credible, or plausible. The use of the tactic implies forethought, such as intentionally setting up the conditions to plausibly avoid responsibility for one’s future actions.
The term was coined by the CIA in the 1960s to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that certain activities by the CIA became public.
A philosophy that requires the “majority of the majority” to bring up a bill for a vote in the House of Representatives.
Republicans have used this rule consistently since Speaker Dennis Hastert wielded it in the mid-1990s to effectively limit the power of the minority party. Democrats were prevented from passing bills with the assistance of a small number of members of the majority party.
The election held in the 6th year of a president’s tenure in which the party holding the White House historically loses a substantial number of House and Senate seats.
The Atlantic: “For decades political analysts have been intrigued by an ironclad pattern in American politics: the President’s party loses seats in the off-year election that follows his White House triumph–a phenomenon that has occurred in every off-year election save one since the Civil War. Since the Second World War, off-year losses for the President’s party in the House have averaged fifteen seats in the second year and forty-eight in the sixth; in the Senate the average losses are zero in the second year and seven in the sixth.”
Charlie Cook: “There are a variety of reasons, but at that midway point in a party’s second four years in the White House, the ‘in’ party tends to lose energy and focus. Party leaders run out of ideas, and the ‘first team’ in terms of personnel—the people who were there when the president took office—have often bailed out, and the second or third team is sometimes not as good. Voters tend to grow weary and to look for something different.”
A state whose voting outcome in a presidential election is relatively sensitive or responsive to changes in political conditions, such as a change in the national economic mood.
Nate Silver: “Elastic states are those which have a lot of swing voters — that is, voters who could plausibly vote for either party’s candidate. A swing voter is very likely to be an independent voter, since registered Republicans and registered Democrats vote with their party at least 90 percent of the time in most presidential elections. The swing voter is also likely to be devoid of other characteristics that are very strong predictors of voting behavior.”
An inelastic state, by contrast, is one which is relatively insensitive to these changes.