"Better Umbrella" or "Big Tent"

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Dec 21 20:05:46 UTC 2005

It goes back further as a metaphor:

"Klan Chief Drops GOP for Democrats" Los Angeles Times; Dec 20, 1978;
sec II p. 6 col 6.

" "I know everybody thinks of the Democratic Party as one big umbrella,
but that big it ain't," she said."  ["she" was Paula Siegel of the
California state Democratic Party, referring to racist Tom Metzger's
joining the California Democrats.]

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Benjamin Zimmer
> Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 11:47 AM
> Subject: Re: "Better Umbrella" or "Big Tent"
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Better Umbrella" or "Big Tent"
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
> 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 FACTIVA.
> > 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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list