Duck! The political clichAcs are swirling and unfortunately, some of them are joining our everyday conversation. It's a good bet that the election will give us some tiresome but long-lasting words and phrases.
Anyone who listened to the vice-presidential debate Oct. 2 is probably already tired of around the kitchen table. Apparently, the candidates picture us always sitting there for any family discussion. Actually, wherever we lived, our kitchen was too small for that, and it is almost impossible to imagine Sarah Palin's large family sitting around any kitchen table.
But never mind. The Richmond Times-Dispatch used the term on the front page to describe the “kitchen table candidates” and reported that “Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joseph R. Biden sought to cast themselves as the kitchen table candidates.”
John Nichols in The Nation told us: “But Joe Biden reminded the voters sitting at those kitchen tables, in those small houses with big mortgages, that the man who heads that ticket, a Republican named John McCain, is not on their side.”
In reality, it's difficult to understand what a “kitchen cabinet candidate” is. If any readers can define it I would love to hear from them.
If kitchen table doesn't tire you, how about maverick? Among the meanings of this noun listed in the Oxford English Dictionary is: “An unorthodox or independent-minded person; a person who refuses to conform to the views of a particular group or party; an individualist.” But be careful: The verb to maverick means to “seize or brand an unbranded calf as one's own” (OED). That's not an action we want from a president, or indeed anyone.
Finally, there's Joe Six-pack. OED's first reference to it comes from 1972, and it's defined as “a hypothetical average working or blue-collar person, esp. a man.” This fellow is doomed to join us at least until the election, but maybe — just maybe — the 2008 words of this year will come from something other than politics. Keep tuned.
Let Rosie hear from you by e-mail (email@example.com), phone (200-1285) or by mail (1313 E. Main St., Suite 103, Richmond, Va. 23219).