The buzzwords of Dennis Kucinich.

Politics and policy.
July 1 2003 3:54 PM

The Buzzwords of Dennis Kucinich

How he spins the issues.

Dennis Kucinich

Slate is running several series of short features explaining who the 2004 presidential candidates are, what they're saying, and where they propose to take the country. The first series summarized their personal and professional backgrounds. This series analyzes their pet phrases, candidate by candidate. Today's subject is Dennis Kucinich.

Weapon of mass destruction
Example: "Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Lack of adequate education is a weapon of mass destruction. Our children not having good neighborhoods is a weapon of mass destruction" (Children's Defense Fund forum, April 9, 2003).
What it means: Big problem.
What it hides: If you had to choose between getting nuked and getting a bad education, would it be a tough call?
Subtext: Please applaud while I change the subject.

Department of Peace
Example: "Come home, America … and make nonviolence an organizing principle within our society through the creation of a Department of Peace" (speech to the National Newspaper Association, March 20, 2003).
What it means: We can end violence by creating another bureaucracy.
What it hides: We have federal departments for education and housing. Yet, according to me, education and housing still suck.
Subtext: Nobody's going to outbid me for the anti-war vote.

Industrial policy
Example: "That's what I believe an industrial policy which calls for us to rebuild steel, automotive, and aerospace industries will do" (Iowa Public Television interview, May 16, 2003).
What it means: We can prop up traditional Midwestern blue-collar industries with subsidies and tariffs.
What it hides: Traditional Midwestern blue-collar industries are obsolete.
Subtext: This isn't counterproductive special-interest bribery and extortion. It's a policy.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Free
Examples: "Democrats can move this county forward … to making education our top funding priority and providing free college education for all" (speech to Democratic National Committee, Feb. 22, 2003). "We need to make it possible for fully paid college in this country, so everyone who wants to go to college, and that includes higher education, and law school, and medical school." (Children's Defense Fund forum, April 9, 2003).
What it means: You pay nothing …
What it hides: … until April 15.
Subtext: Nobody's going to outbid me for the campus vote.

Previous buzzword reviews: Carol Moseley Braun, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, John Kerry.
Next: Joe Lieberman.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 23 2014 3:55 PM Panda Sluggers Democrats are in trouble. Time to bash China.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 4:03 PM You’re Doing It Wrong: Puttanesca Sauce
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 4:36 PM Vampire Porn Mindgeek is a cautionary tale of consolidating production and distribution in a single, monopolistic owner.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.