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Re: The origin of the term "lame duck"

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  • Gregory
    But Nixon at least had the decency to resign... Bush is a rare case in modern times. Gregory
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 20, 2006
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      But Nixon at least had the decency to resign...
      Bush is a rare case in modern times.

      Gregory

      --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > 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?
      >
      > Tom
      >
      >
      >
      > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
      >
      > > The Lame Duck's Waddle to Oblivion
      > >
      > http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/19/weekinreview/19basics.html
      > > 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.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
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