"Better Umbrella" or "Big Tent"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Dec 21 17:47:27 UTC 2005

On 12/21/05, Bapopik at aol.com <Bapopik at aol.com> wrote:
> I went to a year-end party at the Metropolitan Republican Club last night.
> Bill Weld (candidate for NYS governor) was there, and he quoted someone (I
> forget who) as saying that the Republican party was a "better umbrella."
> ...
> The Republican Party used to be a "big tent" and now it's a "better
> umbrella"? Maybe someone can look up "umbrella" and "Republican Party" on
> Did Christine Whitman coin this?

Associated Press Political Service, 10 March 1988
[article about Pat Robertson winning the Washington caucus]
State GOP officials say they're welcoming the new blood and that there
is no downside to the Robertson phenomenon.
"Our party is a big umbrella - there is a lot of room for a lot of
people," says state GOP Executive Director John Meyers.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, 20 January 1990
Faced with a shift in the public mood, Republican National Chairman
Lee Atwater signaled a dramatic altering of the GOP's uncompromising
stand against abortion by declaring yesterday that Republicans can
hold other views on the issue as long as they uphold the GOP's
founding principles.
"Our party is big enough to accommodate differences on a number of
different issues," Atwater told the Republican National Committee. "We
are an umbrella party."

New York Times, 21 August 1992, p. A25/1
"How to Be Pro-Choice and Pro-Bush" by Christine Todd Whitman
A great deal has been made about the G.O.P.'s being a "big tent." I
prefer to describe it as an umbrella. Like an umbrella, it has a
central core. Indeed, the party has a basic philosophy that holds it
together, a purpose strong enough to unite its members despite the
many diverse opinions they hold.

--Ben Zimmer

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