Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bipartisan Politics - Redux

January 22, 2007
Yes this was written awhile ago, seemed appropriate when it showed up in a Google search hit and I took another look.

Here's a phrase that seems to be getting big play, it started shortly after the '06 election results and has gained ground ever since. It has a nice ring, bipartisan, it sort of rolls off the tongue with lovely strong syllable breaks and an element of cadence. I'll bet it would sound good if you did it with a mouth full of marbles and it looks nice in print - bipartisan - hey even in italics - bipartisan. It seems such a long time time since it had any currency.

You may be familiar with the name Frank Luntz, he of the Republican dictionary, well now he's decided to tell the Democrats how to use Words that Work over at HuffPo. The idea is to bury the hatchet...not in the Republican's heads, but actually bury it. He's on to the spirit of bipartisanship (-ship kind of spoils the cadence) and even notes, "Democracy is at its best when its practitioners use language to unite and explain rather than divide and attack." I also think it works pretty well when "Clean Air" doesn't mean pollution and estate tax means that and not "Death Tax" which means you get charged for not living anymore, um, dying. It would be pretty crass to charge for the dubious privilege of being dead. He just doesn't think being vindictive will work out for the Democrat Party (sure he knows better, he just can't help himself), that the Party should figure out how to work with the Republicans. He's actually right, the Democrats cannot afford to be perceived as vindictive. What I find odd, though, is the idea that it's the Democrats who are supposed to be bipartisan. Maybe it's the bi- piece of the word that's throwing me. All the way through Webster's 9th Collegiate (again) bi- has two involved, I think the part about "both sides" (2) may just be what's up with the word. Well, anyhow, thanks Frank.

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