Least Favorite Political Clichés

Below is a partially annotated list of my least favorite political clichés, in alphabetical order by the first word, which is, alas, often arbitrary. You and Wild Bill no doubt have your own least favorites. There are so many from which to choose. Maybe we ought also to explore the topic of most favorite clichés–those for which one still has some affection.

Least Favorite Political Clichés

America is the greatest nation in the world [please specify the categories and criteria of the competition]

American people, The [think, believe, reject, want, etc.] . . .

At the end of the day . . .

Comparing apples to oranges . . .[this practice seems useful chiefly in the produce-department]

Dark-horse candidate [prefer horse-derriere candidate]

Family values [Whose family? What values, exactly?]

Flip-flop [should be replaced in all cases by splish-splash]

From the bottom of my heart . . .

Give 110 per cent [I should think 100 per cent will suffice]

Grassroots [and now “Astro-turf”]

Gridlock [just get a gridkey!]

Grow the economy [the economy can, in theory, enlarge, but it isn’t like a crop]

It’s a new day. [Indeed. All days are.]

Just so we’re on the same page.

Middle class, the [please define]

New beginning [old beginnings might work better, and new endings may be the more pertinent goals]

…Of great moral fiber [this or that politician is; prefer great soluble fiber]

Partisan politics [a redundant expression]

Put children first, leave no child behind [prefer . . . make sure parents can get good jobs and schools are equitably funded—otherwise, it’s just yadda-yadda]

Put people first [the system dictates that politicians must put themselves first and (other) people second, at best; also, candidates who put dogs, cats, or bacteria first might be refreshing]

To be perfectly honest . . . [probably not possible, even for the most honest persons, and the implication is that this is a new phase of the conversation, preceded by imperfect honesty]

Value of hard work [is this a value or a mode of behavior or a necessity or . . .?]

Very fabric of . . . [what is unvery fabric? and are we talking Rayon, or what?]

Washington outsider [this term denotes precisely the opposite in almost all cases; in other cases, it denotes a highly temporary identity, especially if the politician running for or under consideration for federal office gets elected or appointed]

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One Response to “Least Favorite Political Clichés”

  1. Wild Bill Says:

    A colleague once argued that a practice “undermined the very fabric of society.” How does one undermine fabric?

    Please add the canard that the United States has the best health care in the world. Yes, and I am the fastest sprinter in the world, all faster sprinters in the world excepted.


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