Cognitive Dissonance

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DC Decoder Glossary: Under the Bus

dcdecoder:

By Meg Lanker-Simons
-Meg follows @DC_Decoder and is the writer of the popular political blog, Cognitive Dissonance. Find her on Twitter at @meglanker or email her at meglanker@gmail.com

USAGE: “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba.” -Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, August 30, 2012

DC DECODER DEFINITION: The first use of the phrase “under the bus” can be traced to a 1984 article in the Washington Post headlined, “Pensive, With Orange Hair; Cyndi Lauper & Her Tunes on Tour.” Reporter David Remnick wrote: “In the rock ‘n’ roll business, you are either on the bus or under it.”

Originally, the phrase was used to describe someone in show business or athletics who was past their prime and was sacrificed, essentially thrown under the tour bus. 

In a political context, the definition has shifted to describe a trusted ally or supporter who is undeservingly cut loose from a campaign or scapegoated out of spite, embarrassment, or personal gain.

The phrase certainly qualifies as a cliché. On an April 2008 edition of NPR’s Fresh Air, linguist Geoff Nunberg reported “under the bus” was used over, “400 times in the past six months” in news stories describing the primary and candidates.

That same election cycle, Washington Post writer David Segal pleaded for fellow correspondents to stop using the phrase, writing:

“Waiting on a sidewalk or already onboard — either way, ‘thrown under the bus’ fails to capture a key dimension of all this road rage. For the candidates, the point is not to inflict pain. It’s to ditch a problem that is a drag on momentum, to regain speed.”

Unfortunately for Nunberg, Segal, and the rest of us, the use of “under the bus” shows no sign of abating, but accelerated in the 2012 campaign season – much like a metaphorical campaign bus speeding away from its latest émigré.

See other terms in DC Decoder’s glossary of political vocabulary, jargon, and clichés.

Want something decoded? Leave a comment or Tweet @DC_Decoder!

Check out my entry for The Christian Science Monitor's DC Decoder project! “Under the bus” is one of the most irritating political clichés in existence. Hence, me choosing to define it. Thanks to DC Decoder for the opportunity!

Filed under campaign politics politics and government Romney obama congress

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How could any politician with any modicum of sagacity—let alone someone who’s one election away from the Oval Office—venture abroad and question whether his host country was “ready” for the Olympics? Romney came across as simultaneously a know-nothing and a smug know-it-all—at least about the Olympic Games, which he seems to think he owns and which he has regularly treated like one of those enterprises taken over by Bain ever since he took over the 2002 Winter Games. 



He also seemed not to know the name of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who could be prime minister relatively soon into the next presidential term. At the press conference when the two men met, Romney referred to Miliband as “Mr. Leader”—a title that doesn’t exist in Britain but a convenient refuge if you can’t remember who it is you’re standing next to. The GOP hopeful also didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to volunteer—no one is—that he had just been briefed by the chief of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service. Such a thing, as they say in London, just isn’t done. 



For his Olympic-level faux pas, his fellow conservatives across the pond peeped rebuke and ridicule on Romney. The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, archly observed that there was a difference between holding the Games in one of the world’s “busiest, most active, bustling cities and the easier” job of holding them out “in the middle of nowhere”—a pointed put-down of Mitt’s role in Salt Lake City a decade of winters ago. London Mayor Boris Johnson poked fun at a “guy named Mitt who wants to know whether we’re ready” and ignited a crowd of 60,00 in Hyde Park to chant: “Yes, we are”—for Romney, a discomforting echo of the 2008 Obama mantra. 



While Rupert Murdoch’s Sun memorably labeled Romney “Mitt the Twit,” it wasn’t just the British press and politicians who scorned his bumbling performance. Karl Rove, who’s assembling hundreds of millions of dollars to elect him president—and who perhaps should go from being “Bush’s brain” to being Romney’s—ruefully said “you have to shake your head” about the way the candidate just stepped into it. The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer was blunter: The episode was “unbelievable…beyond human understanding…It’s like a guy in the hundred meter dash. All he has to do is finish, he doesn’t have to win. And instead he tackles the guy in the next lane and gets disqualified.”


Disqualified is the right word because Romney went overseas precisely to show he was qualified to be president. Seldom if ever has any such an effort made someone look so foolish so fast, with so much blowback coming from across the political spectrum. 



ROBERT SHRUM, in The Daily Beast, “The Ugly American: Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Overseas Excursion” (via inothernews)

Filed under romney mitt romney republicans gop politics news 2012

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Spotted on Third Street in Laramie, Wyo.

The bottom photo has two signs on the car. The first reads, “If Obama is a Christian, then I’m a flying pig.” The second one says, “18 to 30 year olds. Help us save America. Vote REPUBLICAN.”

Love the “I miss Reagan” sticker on the back. Not sure he understands St. Ronnie would never pass muster in today’s GOP.

Hey, at least it’s a Prius…

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Laramie Wyoming Republican Romney Mitt Romney politics Prius Seriously? Conservative Barack Obama Obama Wingnut