Thursday, March 10, 2011

Incomplete Political Rubrics

The following phrases will be heard in every political circle imaginable.  The translation follows each phrase.

Phrase: “Everything will be on the table.”

Translation 1:“There are many ideas which I could put my weight behind, but I am not sure which one will get me elected, as of yet.  So, I’m going to wait until the polls come in, or my opponent takes a position, then I can take the opposite one.”

Translation 2: “Please move on to the next question.  I have absolutely no idea how to answer this question.  If you ask it again, I will talk for 10 minutes, twisting in circles, until you are completely confused, and move on, shaking your head, thinking I might or might not have answered your question.”

Translation 3: “I don’t bloody know.”


Phrase: “We need more bipartisanship.”

Translation 1: “If only the other side would come over to our side, things would be better.”

Translation 2: “Screw all parties that are not Republican and Democrat.”


Phrase: “Read my lips.  No new taxes.”

Translation: “That is, unless they’re necessary or politically expedient.”


Phrase: “The rich need to pay their fair share.”

Translation: “I’m sure freakin’ glad they don’t tax wealth!”


Phrase: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

Translation: “I am a jelly-filled doughnut.


Phrase: “I apologize to those I offended.”

Translation: “&%@$$!  I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar!  I’m sorry to all who don’t agree with what I said.  For those who do - I MEANT IT!”


Phrase: “We’re apolitical.”

Translation 1: “We hope you don’t check our one-sided political contributions.”

Translation 2: “We really believe in our message and don’t really care what party, if any, takes up our cause.”


Phrase: “My opponent is against [Insert phrase like “veterans” or “babies” or “the Catholic Church” or “sex” here]”

Translation: “My opponent said something very intelligent and I have no comeback.  So, I’ll pick a word or two from his widely accepted speech and twist it around to make him look like a fool.”


Phrase: “Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb, Iran”

Translation: “I got nothin’.”


Phrase: “We don’t need to spend more, we need to spend smarter.”

Translation 1: “We need to spend more and apply more layers of bureaucracy in order to appear as if we’re doing something.”

Translation 2: “I have no real ideas.  This just sounds really cool!”

Translation 3: “There is no way in hell we will cut government spending.”


Phrase: “The other side is obstructing the process.”

Translation: “Dag-nammit!  They found the parliamentary rules that give them every right to do what they’re doing so that, even if we hold a majority of members, we cannot move forward on our current agenda.  Let’s throw a fit and hope people have short term memories so that, when we are the party out of power, we can do the exact same thing!”


Phrase: “I’m honored to be a public servant.”

Translation 1: “I will fight to the death to stay here for at least 30 years so that my public servant hood will guarantee me a sweet, unheard of, golden parachute pension, as well as current health benefits that rival cash paying billionaire’s plans.”

Translation 2: “Don’t notice that I don’t give a rip what my constituency cares about.  Just that I am in office speaks for itself.”

Translation 3: “I’m honored to be a public servant and when I’m done, I’ll go back into the private sector and be very successful due to the great policies I helped implement.”


Phrase: “…tax cuts for the rich!”

Translation: “Being rich is evil.  Unless you are a politician who is rich – but thinks being rich is evil.  And, even if we, being rich AND humble public servants, take advantage of the same loopholes and tax havens as all those other evil rich people, at least we do a head fake and make you think that we aren’t really that rich.  Oh, and those who are politicians and are not rich….well….they can’t be trusted.”


Phrase: “…tax cuts for the middle class!”

Translation: “We know we can’t say ‘tax cuts for the poor – our biggest constituency’ because they don’t pay taxes anyway. And yelling about tax cuts for the rich is getting old and harder than heck to stand behind (because we’re rich too!).”



Translation: “I’m just plain havin’ fun!”

Enjoy!  Of course, there are many more.  And many more will be created in this next political cycle.


  1. You're such a cynic!

    Unfortunately, I don't really disagree with anything you've said. Its all to common for well-minded public servants to get bogged down into 'protecting their constituency' (which in its own right isn't ignoble), by which they usually mean "protecting my powerbase". At that point, the are no longer public servants, and are instead working on their own welfare.

    Now, I don't begrudge an individual the right to provide for his own welfare, but, please, spare me the rhetoric, while you try to tell me whats best for me and mine!