at the end of the day

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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.

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One Response to “at the end of the day”

  1. Sarah Says:

    It looks like at the end of the day, David Gregory rips his eyeballs out. Which is, not surprisingly, what I feel like doing whenever I hear that phrase. Nice work.

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