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Confused by political speech? David Mark returns to help decipher the Washington lexicon

"Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech " by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark.

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Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes is the new dictionary for a political vocabulary that was created to leave you bewildered. Authors Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark want readers to understand that a simple phrase or choice of words has a very calculated meaning. Expressions such as "I want to spend more time with my family," "regular order," "job creators," "my good friend," "elections have consequences," and "common sense" seemingly lose their common sense meanings in the hands of seasoned politicians and pundits.

For example, "snowflake" is not your conventional miniature crystalline ice structure but rather a news story that fades away quickly without delving into the pros and cons of policy. Then there is the expression, "distraction from the real issues," which politicians use when they really wish you asked a different question that didn't hit so close to home. Without McCutcheon and Mark, even the heavy peruser of politics would have a difficult time with expressions like "hardship porn" - verbal descriptions by political candidates of grueling tasks, activities, or adversities they have had to overcome that qualifies them for office, often done in the context of one-upmanship.

The action-phrase "vote your conscience" is a call for politicians to vote for the public interest instead of their political self-interest; what do you think about the phrase "speak your conscience?"


David Mark, Author, Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes (ForeEdge - University Press of New England); previously authored Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning.