Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Safire's Political Dictionary

Here's some great summer reading for political junkies. The Thicket (the National Conference of State Legislatures' blog) alerted us to the fact that William Safire's Political Dictionary, first published in 1968, is out as a new 2008 edition.

Safire explains what's in and what's out:

As defined here, the language of politics does not include much of the language of government. If a word or short phrase has a good definition available in most dictionaries, this is not the place to look for it. "Amendment" is not here, though rider is; "assistant majority leader" is not, but whip is; "vice president" is not, though veep, Throttlebottom, and heartbeat away from the Presidency are....

There is even political poetry, such as this delight written by the New York Times columnist Arthur Krock in 1958:

I love Speaker Rayburn,

His heart is so warm,

And if I obey him

He'll do me no harm.

So I shan't sass the Speaker

One least little bitty

And then I'll wind up

On a major committee.

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