BUZZ WORDS ABOUND in Washington because it is a place where many worlds converge; political, military, business, and academic. Each of these worlds has its own terms of art, its euphemisms, and its cant. And like all specialized vocabularies, Washington buzz words serve to distinguish the cognoscenti from the greEnhorns. What follows is a greenhorn's revenge on capital colloquial.
Neo-liberal: A boll weevil in penny loafers.
Boll weevil: A neo-liberal in cowboy boots.
New federalism: The ship deserting the sinking rats.
Infrastructure: It differs from public works in that it substitutes the flagman for the bagman.
High technology: A California innovation composed of equal parts of silicon and marijuana.
"Safe habor leasing": The unprofitable selling the unconscionable to the unscrupulous.
Industrial policy: A proposal to save the American lumber industry by encouraging them to manufacture wooden microprocessors.
The "flat tax": A proposal to impose the death penalty on Certified Public Accountants.
Sunset industries: Firms specializing in products not made in Japan.
Sunrise industries: Firms specializing in products with no moving parts.
The balanced-budget amendment: Throwing a drowning man an anvil.
The first budget resolution: Macroeconomic foreplay.
Entitlements: Tenure for the underclass.
Secretary of State: A job for which that is insufficient credible evidence.
The new right: A javelin team that elects to receive.
Republican National Committee: State-of-the-art notalgia.
"Prevailing" (the Reagan strategic doctrine): Holocaust-effectiveness.
Ronald Reagan: The first WASP standup comedian.
Displaced workers: Those who once built cars being trained to rent them.
NCPAC: The rabid deployment force.
Deregulation: The corporate counterpart of the right-to die movement.
Conference committee: Imans and rabbis saying grace over pork.
"Staying the course": Allowing Captain Queeg to retain command of the Caine.
Reindustrialization: Downsizing the American Dream.