EVER tried to dissect a political speech to uncover the...

Salmagundi

October 04, 1993

EVER tried to dissect a political speech to uncover the real meaning?

It's not easy.

Politicos of all stripes and persuasions are adept at burying their true thoughts behind a barrage of gobbledygook. They are masters at the use of fudge words and terms that intentionally leave citizens with ambiguous impressions.

Here are a few commonly used phrases and terms tossed around on the political stump and in legislative chambers.

Norman Solomon, author of "The Power Babble," fills in the true doublespeak definitions for us:

XTC "Assurance" -- a promise that might not be kept.

"Broad-minded" -- similar outlook.

"Bureaucracy" -- slow-moving, oafish, self-aggrandizing governmental agencies; an often amorphous whipping post always available for a righteous tongue-lashing.

"Cheap shot" -- an unappreciated salvo of verbiage; likely to be more resented the closer it is to the mark."

"Family values" -- the positive values instilled by families, but not the negative ones.

"Fiscally irresponsible" -- a budget you don't support.

"Fiscally responsible" -- a budget you support.

"Special interest groups" -- organizations or constituencies supporting another candidate.

"Vocal minority" -- people too loud for their numbers, and presumably wrong to boot.

"Voluntary guidelines" -- toothless platitudes made to sound like substantial measures."

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