The “It’s Just Politics” Lexicon of Political Euphemism, Evasion, and Parenthetical Honesty

Nov 23, 2012

Welcome to the post-Thanksgiving tryptophan edition of “It’s Just Politics,” and we are humbled by your support. Yes, “humbled,” we say. The word “humble,” it’s become a standard part of the election night victory speech. And it does appear to be a sincere acknowledgement that a candidate didn’t get elected on their own; there was campaign staff, volunteers, donors and, of course, voters.

But, it’s election night. The candidate has vanquished their opponent, people are screaming and cheering for the winner, and what that candidate decides to announce at that moment, what their feeling is “humbled?”

With that in mind, we’ve decided it’s back-to-school time with the “It’s Just Politics” Lexicon of Political Euphemism, Evasion, and Parenthetical Honesty. Our translator, Rick Pluta, has been covering Michigan politics for twenty-five years and has come to recognize the nuances of the political dialect. Like, when Governor Rick Snyder says “not on my agenda,” that actually means “ain’t sayin’ no.” Now, we’ve all done this, right? When you say this, you really mean that. Your teenager says, “I’ll be home by 10.” That really means tomorrow by sunrise.

Politico-speak: "You can get a lot done if you do not care who gets the credit." Translation: "I want the credit."

To launch our lexicon, you will find a commonly used political phrase in Italics followed by its common meaning – outside of the environs populated by political types – in Bold. Feel free to play along and see how many translations you can come up with!

This is above politics = This is all about politics

I’m willing to listen = I’ve made up my mind

We need to set aside politics = They need to set aside their politics

I respect the process = We’re still looking for a way out of this

You can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit = I get the credit

I will not negotiate in the media = I’m not ready to negotiate in the media

I respect my worth opponent** (**Editor’s note: Unfortunately we can’t really translate this in any type of proper language for the radio.)

We are expanding the electoral map = We’re losing

This is a non-traditional campaign = We’re losing

The only poll that counts is on Election Day = We’re losing

We need to do a better job of getting our message out = Somebody find us a new message
And, for our grand finale…

I am truly humbled by your support = Guess who’s a rock star tonight?