Politics of Personal Destruction.

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 24 01:05:58 UTC 2001

At 2:37 AM -0600 1/24/01, Mark Odegard wrote:
>I don't know where this might fit in the word of the year/decade category,
>but here goes:
>Ron Kampeas, an Associated Press writer, has a bylined AP newsfeed story
>(dated 24 Jan 2001, apparently) that should echo here and there around the
>net. He notes how Republicans have picked up the term 'politics of personal
>destruction', even though it was coined by Clinton in 1994. Quoting Clinton,
>he writes:
>--start quote--
>"I do not believe that the politics of personal destruction is what
>the American people are interested in," he said at a news
>conference on March 8 of that year. Evidently, he liked it: Within
>days, he was using the phrase at Democratic fund-raisers.
>--end quote--
The odd aspect of the current usage is that the meaning has changed
180 or so degrees from Clinton's intended usage.  The current
"culprits" are Democrats who laud Ashcroft for his personal integrity
and oppose his nomination as Attorney General because they don't
agree with his statements and record on issues ranging from abortion
to the judiciary to civil rights to the relations of church and state
to the death penalty.  So "politics of personal destruction" has come
to mean 'politics of ideological opposition'.


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