I spent the better part of the fall and spring interviewing political consultants for a “behind-the-scenes” look at the election. I didn’t learn so much — dudes were triiiickyyyy — but through talking to them and spending an endless number of hours transcribing the wonkiest of wonky tapes, I did, indeed, get an inside track on the more linguistic wonders of their catchphrase-riddled political world.
These campaign staffers all had a few things in common. Save for sweeping generalizations, they wouldn’t talk strategy, so as not to “show” their collective hands. Many of them thrived on describing the run-up to an election as a great big sporting match. Baseball, football, competitive pole dancing … it didn’t matter. And above all, the whole lot of them tried to describe their campaign work in neat, pithy epithets. The key to their success?
“At the end of the day,” a favorite for those who specialize in attempts to turn complexity into meaninglessness. In reality, nothing really happens at the end of the day. If you’re a political consultant, you might set your Blackberry to “hands-free mode” for the drive home.
Or, if you’re leader-of-the-political-consultant-pack Mr. Rove, you do this at the end of the day:
Highly unproductive — like most campaigns — and potentially dangerous. Especially after sunset.