Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Buzzwords of 2008

WASHINGTON — Politics without buzzwords is like sports without clichés, math without numbers or Blago without bleeps. Tough to imagine, in other words, especially in such a game-changer of a campaign year in which buzzwords were flying like shoes.

Buzzwords are what political wiseguys use to sound all important and knowing in a profession whose prime currency is the illusion of being both. They are like secret passwords for the chattering class, the verbal equivalent of a terrorist fist jab.

Picking out political buzzwords from 2008 is like shooting moose in a pigpen. The fundamentals were so dizzyingly strong, it could be tough to keep them all straight. Before you knew it “The One” had become “That One” and the “team of mavericks” were going rogue on each other. You mixed up Client 9 and Candidate 5 at the holiday party and tried to change the subject.



Tw-, tweet-, twitt-. Combining forms all inspired by Twitter, what might be called a free nano-blogging service. It helps small groups share what they’re thinking or doing in just 140 characters per message, or tweet, as such a message is called. The service has generated new words and related Web sites. Tweet-up, for example, is either a meeting of people organized through Twitter, or the Web site that helps bring about the meetings.

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