I think it’s funny how quickly there are words introduced into the political lexicon via sheer repetition during an election. Words that have an otherwise innocuous meaning gain very sinister implications. Here are my two favorites:


Actual definition:

1 : a subtle distinction or variation
2 : a subtle quality : NICETY
3 : sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)

Sounds like a good thing, right? Not during an election year. “nuanced” is now a synonym for “unprincipled”, or “irresolute”. Any nuanced position is either wishy-washy flip-flopping or is obviously cover for a darker desire to corrupt your children, burn down your house, and eat your babies.

Example: “Kerry’s positions on his voting record are so nuanced he doesn’t know where he stands!” or “Kerry voted for the war but now he’s against it. I think we all know what he’s really for!” (eating babies)


Actual definition:

1 : relating to or concerned with ideas
2 : of, relating to, or based on ideology

and ideology:

1 : visionary theorizing
2 a : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture b : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture c : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program

I’d certainly hope that a candidate for office would engage in some visionary theorizing, or was concerned with ideas.

But, no, evidently this is also a bad thing. Apparently the only thing worse than refusing to take a stand by being nuanced or flip-flopping is, you guessed it: taking a stand. Taking any sort of stand is evidence that you lack the ability to compromise that any politician needs to be president.

Example: “That Kucinich is too ideological. What a nutbag! Public healthcare for every citizen? What a loon!”

The great thing about these attacks is they avoid having to actually discuss any issues at all. You don’t even have to go to the effort of thinking up a complicated ad hominem: it’s already boiled down to one word. Effortless. Has the candidate ever expressed evidence of any thought or change of opinion whatsoever? Flip-flop. Is the candidate resolute about anything? Ideologue. It’s genius! How can you lose?