[Ads-l] beltway

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 13 16:43:39 EST 2017

Barry Popik has a page on "inside the beltway" (of course):


He notes a political column in the Washington (DC) Afro-American from Nov.
14, 1970 titled "Inside the Beltway":


...and there's this 1975 cite from the NYT (also given on the Wikipedia
page for the phrase):

New York Times, Oct. 12, 1975, Week in Review, p. 4
In the White House of Richard M. Nixon, it was said that Watergate would
become serious only if it “got outside the Washington Beltway.” (...) It
can be said that the myriad of doubts about the Warren Commission’s
findings in the death of President Kennedy represent the reverse situation.
The doubts would never be taken seriously until they were inside the

On Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 4:13 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> A bit earlier for "inside the beltway":
> Dallas Morning News, Jan. 28, 1979, p. 6A (Genealogybank)
> "Carter Comes Out to Begin 2nd Half" [AP wire story]
> When the week was nearly over, one aide involved in much of the planning
> observed that "inside the beltway" -- the concrete ribbon of interstate
> highway that circles that nation's capital and many of its suburbs -- the
> budget and the State of the Union address are seen differently than they
> are in the rest of the nation.
> Also published the same day in other papers, e.g.:
> Santa Fe New Mexican: https://www.newspapers.com/image/210930101/
> Port Huron (Mich.) Times Herald: https://www.newspapers.com/image/
> 210212635/
> On Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 1:27 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Bill Mullins found "Inside the Beltway" from November 1980.
>> It can be found as early as September 1979, and perhaps by the person who
>> may have coined it or popularized the concept.
>> Richard Pettigrew served as "Assistant to the President" for streamlining
>> beauracracy under Jimmy Carter.  When he resigned, he lamented the
>> difficulty of what Trump would call "draining the swamp," or Hannity might
>> term the "deep state," but what Pettigrew referred to as "the turkey farm"
>> or the "'iron triangle,' that unholy alliance of special-interest groups,
>> members of Congress and middle-level bureaucrats whose careers depend on
>> the continued existence of a federal program, no matter how poorly run."
>> He also explained "inside the beltway."  The editor included the full
>> description, as though it was not then a current idiom:
>> One of the first things he learned was that the nation was divided into
>> two parts: "inside the beltway" (the beltway is the interstate highway
>> circling Washington and its suburbs) and "outside the beltway."  Inside the
>> beltway are Congress and the federal agencies.  Outsie the beltway is the
>> rest of the United States.
>> Tallahassee Democrat, September 23, 1979, page B8<
>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/15094969/tallahassee_democrat/>.

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