Re: The origin of the term "lame duck"
- But Nixon at least had the decency to resign...
Bush is a rare case in modern times.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
> Our current resident may be the lamest of ducks in my
> 54 year lifetime, with the exception of Richard Nixon.
> Can anyone think of a president in recent times who
> has entered his seventh year as bloodied as Bush?
> --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
> > The Lame Duck's Waddle to Oblivion
> > By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
> > As Washington prepares for a new balance of power,
> > there has been so
> > much talk of "lame ducks" that you would be forgiven
> > if you thought
> > Vice President Cheney had gone hunting again. But
> > the political phrase
> > of the moment is actually derived not from the hunt
> > for waterfowl, but
> > for riches.
> > The Oxford English Dictionary which defines the
> > term as "a disabled
> > person or thing: spec. (Stock Exchange slang): one
> > who cannot meet his
> > financial engagements; a defaulter" traces its
> > origins to the London
> > stock market in the 18th century, where broke
> > investors were said to
> > waddle out the doors onto Exchange Alley. Horace
> > Walpole, the Gothic
> > author and the fourth Earl of Orford, was so tickled
> > by the expression
> > that in 1761 he made the first known written
> > reference to it, in a
> > letter to Sir Horace Mann that asked, "Do you know
> > what a Bull, and a
> > Bear and Lame Duck are?"
> > In the early 1800's, the phrase was being used to
> > describe anyone who
> > was bankrupt or behind on their debt payments; and
> > by then it had made
> > its way to the United States. Given its evocative
> > reference to broken
> > promises and ruinous financial speculation, language
> > experts say it
> > was nearly inevitable that the term would be adopted
> > into political
> > parlance.
> > "Money men and politicians swap language the way
> > lovers swap spit,"
> > said Grant Barrett, editor of the Oxford Dictionary
> > of Political Slang
> > and The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English.
> > In 1863, The Congressional Globe mocked the United
> > States Court of
> > Claims for functioning as "a receptacle of `lame
> > ducks' or broken down
> > politicians." By 1910, newspapers began using the
> > phrase in its
> > current incarnation: a reference to an elected
> > official whose term is
> > nearing an end and, freed from the accountability of
> > voters, could be
> > prone to ineffectiveness or acts of self-interest.
> > As this election cycle's crop of newly unelected
> > members of Congress
> > prepare to waddle off Capitol Hill, they can take
> > comfort in knowing
> > that they could have been called worse. Imagine if
> > Walpole had written
> > his letter from Paris, where the 18th-century custom
> > called for
> > debtors to mount an ass backward and be paraded
> > through town facing
> > the animal's tail.