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Up To Date

Decoding Political Speech, Jargon And Slang

Words matter . . . especially in politics, but perhaps no one makes themselves harder to understand than our elected representatives.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske takes a look at the inside jargon and slang of American political speech with the co-authors of Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang and Bluster of American Political Speech.  From “whale” to “wing nut” and “small bore” to “smelling jet fumes”, we’ll get the real meaning of the lingo heard in Washington, D.C. and statehouses across the country.


  • Chuck McCutcheon is co-author of The Bible of American Politics, National Journal's Almanac of American Politics.
  • David Mark is editor-in-chief of Politix and author of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning.
Up To Date politicsspeech
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.