Political language and Frank R. Kent

Barry A. Popik Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon May 17 05:11:31 UTC 1999

"When the water reaches the upper decks, follow the rats."
--William Safire column, 1998.

    Frank R. Kent was a columnist for the Baltimore Sun; I also recall seeing
his byline in The Wall Street Journal.  "Rats" and "fat cats" are his.
    His books have many phrases/maxims I'll have to work on.

Pg. 59  "Fat Cats."
Pg. 153  "When the water reaches the upper decks, follow the rats."
Pg. 164  "Never handle a hot poker on the front porch."
Pg. 196  "You can't win on a shoe string."
Pg. 217  "Live up to the law and be licked."
Pg. 228  "You must play the game with the gang."
Pg. 249  "When they stop writing about you you're dead."
Pg. 252  It is an old but a true saying in politics that "it is better to be
roasted than ignored."
Pg. 258  "You can't," runs one of the best known of all political proverbs,
"beat somebody with nobody."
Pg. 273  "Never put your opponent on the first page.  If you have him licked
don't advertise him."
Pg. 275  "Don't be too damned inquisitive."
Pg. 278  "glad handers"; "poison squad."
Pg. 294  "Take what you want if you can get it and keep it as long as you
Pg. 299  "When in doubt do right."
Pg. 307  "...talked turkey."
Pg. 332  "I wouldn't accept the nomination if it were handed me on a silver

Pg.  58  "Muldoons."  (The RHHDAS has "Muldoon," but misses this "straight
organization man" political usage.)
Pg. 106  "perfuming the ticket"; putting a "clean collar on the dirty shirt."
Pg. 205  It is, as the politicians say, "sub-cellar" stuff.  (Secretive--ed.)
Pg. 246  Delegates to a national convention are, as the politicians say,
"twenty-minute eggs."
Pg. 264  "Prosperity absorbs all criticism."

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