Assault Weapon: Any weapon that can be used in an assault, including water balloons and cartoons fashioned by Charlie Hebdo and Bob Englehart.
Board of Education: When he was a reporter (see below) in California, Ambrose Bierce discovered that a man running for election to the Board of Education had been accused of consorting with a prostitute. Bierce urged his election, arguing it would lead him to reform since, “No respectable harlot who cares for her reputation would continue her acquaintance with a man who had been elected to the Board of Education.”
State Budget: A work in progress designed to leave everyone but politicians and political hangers-on poorer, less self-reliant and more dependent upon budget-makers.
Capital Punishment: Mint Julep time awaiting Godot, who never arrives.
Controversial: An adjective that precedes the name of that politician whose funeral you’d most like to attend.
Difficult choice: An inducement to raise taxes.
Embattled: See “Controversial” above.
Independent Politician: A politician who depends only upon his political instinct, usually wrong, his always noxious Interest Group (see below) and the considered opinion of his third wife and her lawyer.
Interest Group: A gang of pirates attempting to capture the USS Liberty on the high seas, plunder its cargo and fly the Jolly Roger from its main mast.
Legislative consensus: The last refuge of scoundrels.
Lockbox: An unsafe safe, ostensibly used to preserve tax money for special purposes, that can be opened with a bent hairpin.
Moving forward: The antonym of “moving backward.” In a topsy-turvy world like ours, any step backwards is regarded by forward-thinking people as progress.
Newspaper Paywall: See “Lockbox” above.
Omnibus Bill: A casket of marauding skeletons crowded into an end of session bill that could not have passed scrutiny during the legislative year -- i.e. Mike Lawlor’s Get-Out-Of-Jail-Early Bill, the Orwellian name of which is “Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program.”
Pragmatist: See Robert Bolt’s play “A Man For All Seasons,” Thomas More On Cromwell: “What, Cromwell? Pooh, he's a pragmatist -- and that's the only resemblance he has to the Devil, son Roper; a pragmatist, the merest plumber.”
Progressive: A person who believes it is never possible to run out of other people’s money.
Race-monger: Al Sharpton, for example.
Religion: There are two variants: organized and disorganized. Most political writers subscribe avidly to the disorganized sect.
Reporter: See Alexander Pope:
Am I proud?
Yes, why should I not be?
When even men who do not fear God
Safety net: A fiction designed to convince the credulous that sieves hold water.
Tragedy: Any event involving the deaths of more than three people, however avoidable, murderous and non-tragic.
TV New Anchor: A lightheaded news reader parading as a reporter (See “Reporter” above).