For starters…how appropriate that today’s http://www.dictionary.com ‘s Word of the Day is psephology and the four previous days words go perfectly for today’s writing. I. AM. EXCITED!
psephology – noun
mondegreen – noun
atrabilious – adjective
ballyhoo – noun, verb
[n. bal-ee-hoo; v. bal-ee-hoo, bal-ee-hoo]
chiliad – noun
polysemy – noun
That year has finally come and with it a barrage of fun and not so fun political antics. (This post will remain G-rated). The year I am talking about is the year that the first of political party debates starts for next year’s presidential election; thus the psephology begins, but less importantly (though more entertaining) are the follies that go with it.
For most, psephology is an atrabilious study and who really cares? Well, we all would care if no one actually studied elections and their outcomes because much can be learned from such studies. In fact, psephologists could become quite rich in political betting arenas. Their job is to study every aspect of the election from the before until the after. It is a tedious and long drawn out chore but,studying the antics of the politicians themselves can be quite entertaining and make the job a bit more fun.
Here is a great example: Mitt Romney during his campaign speech in Detroit at Ford Field, “my wife drives a couple of Cadillacs” and “college students should just borrow money from their parents” are both ballyhoos that caused chiliads of people to render him a poor choice for President.
Then you have the money that goes into the elections which in my opinion, should be paid for by each candidate, not outside influences of any kind as those tend to swing the votes which psephologists also study. John Kerry is a great one for this. He refused to spend $15 million of his own money to campaign in swing states and therefore lost the votes in those states.
”Facts are stupid things.”
—Ronald Reagan, at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, ”Facts are stubborn things”
”There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
—President George W. Bush, Sept. 17, 2002
”You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”
—President George W. Bush, to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
Last, there are the quotes that give polysemy a whole new meaning:
”The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.”
”I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
—California Gov. Arnold Scharzengger
”I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
—Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
You see politicians are really under the media fire when they speak. I strongly believe they need intelligent speech writers because speaking from the cuff is not that easy. So let’s give them all a break and enjoy the wonderful quotes they create whether the quotes are poignant, strong, stupid or crazy. The psephologists have their work cut out for them.
Here’s the last one to ponder:
”I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.”
—President George W. Bush, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
Note: All quotes are from About.com.