Political Words of the Week: Lunch Meat and Space Travel

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The American political lexicon is always evolving, and during campaign season, new phrases are as common as retirees in Boca Raton. Here are some of the words that have worked their way into the conversations this week.

Self-deportation (n.): the act of voluntarily leaving a country that one has entered illegally, esp. in order to return home and re-enter through legal channels. During a recent debate, Mitt Romney suggested this was an answer to illegal immigration problems in the U.S. Newt Gingrich later responded by calling the oft-ridiculed notion an “Obama-level fantasy,” though his own spokesman once said Gingrich’s immigration plan would inspire people to “self-deport.”

All-of-the-above (adj.): used to describe a policy that includes every available option, esp. when referring to the nation’s energy supply. “This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy,” President Obama said during his State of the Union address this week. Pundits quickly pointed out that this is a well-worn GOP slogan, touted by the likes of Gingrich and Sen. John McCain.

Influence-peddling (v.): the use of one’s political status and access to profit from lobbyist-like activities that do not technically qualify as lobbying. Romney, and others, have accused Gingrich of doing this during his engagement as a consultant with Freddie Mac and when supporting Medicare Part D.

Desperate baloney (n.): the latest metaphorical meat product Gingrich has accused Romney of peddling (see also: baloney, pious). This week, Gingrich characterized Romney’s attacks as nonsense inspired by his loss in South Carolina. (Meanwhile, a New Hampshire congressman who Gingrich had once visited to discuss prescription drug benefits said the Speaker was espousing his own “pious baloney” by saying he wasn’t a lobbyist.)

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week)

Prebuttal (n.): a speech given before an opponent’s rather than after, esp. in an attempt to weaken the opponent and his anticipated talking points. Romney delivered such a speech in Florida this week, “responding” to the President’s State of the Union address almost 11 hours before Obama stepped up to the lectern in Washington, D.C.

Post up (v.): in basketball, establishing a position near the basket, often so one can maneuver a defender into a disadvantageous position and create a scoring opportunity. Romney has said he will “post up well” when describing his chances of defeating Obama (who was on the state championship team during his high school days in Hawaii and was nicknamed “Obomber” for his jump shot).

Moneyball approach (n.): a plan that involves reinventing an old strategy by analyzing data in new ways to predict success, named for a method developed by the Oakland Athletics baseball team. This term is being used to describe Ron Paul’s current strategy: focusing on lower-profile races in which delegates are awarded proportionally (and the theoretical cost per delegate is lower), rather than high-profile races like Florida, where campaigning is expensive and all the delegates will likely go to the winner.

Food-stamp President (n.): a derisive description of Obama popularized by Newt Gingrich. Gingrich has used the epithet to suggest that the President’s “fair share” tax policies will kill jobs (and therefore put everyone on food stamps); to associate Obama with big government; and to suggest that Obama has failed in fixing the economy. Critics have called it racist.

The Space Coast (place): the region of eastern Florida associated with space launches; home to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The area is frequented by candidates in the run up to the Sunshine State primary and is often the site of NASA-related pandering (see also: Newt’s moon colony), given how important space programs have been to central Florida’s economy.

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