Cover

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Title Page

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pp. iii-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Jeff Greenfield

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pp. ix-x

...Congress—was asked by a young girl in New Hampshire what he would do about acid rain. Without a second’s pause, Dole replied: “That bill’s in markup.” It’s really not that puzzling why a United States senator would assume that a New England schoolgirl would understand the reference to the intricacies...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xviii

...D.C., has become spectacularly, even proudly, indecipherable to most outsiders. It has its own political culture, including a specific language. It is a lexicon, a jargon—a code, if you will—that can be alien to those...

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1 | Bed-Wetters, Sherpas, Squishes, and Other Personality Types

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pp. 1-36

...Among our favorites was the late former New Mexico Democratic governor Bruce King, a homespun, handshake-driven guy (Bill Clinton, campaigning in the state in 1992, called him a modern-day Will Rogers) with a penchant for malapropisms. One of his most famous...

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2 | With All Due Respect, I Deeply Regret Holding You in Minimum High Regard

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pp. 37-68

...much to exclude as include,” Wayne Fields, an English professor at St. Louis’s Washington University who studies political argument, told one of us. “It goes across the board. It’s hard to say which comes first—whether...

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3 | Going Downtown through the Overton Window to Play in the Endgame

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pp. 69-99

...and pompous pundit who, at the outset, listens to former President George H. W. Bush heap praise on him—“Not that you weren’t tough, but you always put your country first”— and then implore him to chronicle his life’s exploits for history’s sake. “Don’t hold back,” Bush...

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4 | On a Glide Path with an Odd Couple to Nut-Cutting Time

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pp. 100-128

...and “unanimous consent.” That’s better left to other books. We would like to point out, though, that even politicians bemoan how the widespread use of such terms insulates them from their constituents. Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill told us that the...

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5 | Dead Money, Dog Whistles,and Droppin’ the G’s

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pp. 129-172

...differentiate between a funder and a finance event, you’re plugged into the bewildering lingo of American elections. Political campaigns have a jargon all their own. In a sense, it’s not surprising or unique. Health-care- supply salespeople have their own specialized terms to discuss...

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6 | Having to Explain Blowback on the Tick-Tock

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pp. 173-202

...craft language that’s easy to repeat,” said David Rosen, founder of the consulting firm First Person Politics, in Washington, D.C. “Everything from ‘don’t cut and run’ to ‘tax relief ’ rather than ‘tax cut.’” Rosen recalls coining the phrase “Don’t double down on trickle down”...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 203-204

...and Byron Dorgan, former representatives Martin Frost and Michael Arcuri, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, and state senator Tim Mathern. Also Jeff Greenfield, Brian...

Notes

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pp. 205-246

List of Terms

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pp. 247-251