One of the big losers in this cycle is the English language. Not all of this is new to this election cycle of course, but it does seem to be getting worse. In fact, not only have many words lost their meaning, some have actually become the exact opposite. Here are some examples:
Employee Free Choice Act: Of course, this is anything but a "free choice" on the part of employees. This is the proposed legislation which will take away the secret ballot part of union votes. Whether or not to unionize are some of the most heated and dangerous elections ever held in our country, and to remove the sacred secret ballot from these elections would be disasterous. This should be called the union thug free intimidation act - or the "End of Many Businesses" act.
Earned Income Tax Credit: Now this is not a new term, but it certainly has been propelled back to prominence with Barack Obama's unscripted chat with an Ohio plumber related to spreading the wealth. The problem with this term is that it has nothing to do with earning, income, paid taxes or credit. Ok, I know the real term is an accounting phrase related to two ideas: Earned Income - Tax credit. It is simply a fancy name for taking one person's earned income and giving what should be his or her tax credit to someone else in the form of a welfare check. But it sounds much nicer to the recipient than a "welfare check." This is related to the new definition of "compassion."
Tax Cuts: this used to mean a reduction of taxes for those who actually pay taxes. Of course, this outdated notion has now been replaced by a more enlightened approach. (see earned income tax credit).
On George Bush's watch: This would normally mean events - generally bad events - whose cause had their roots in something George Bush did or did not do. Today, it means anything caused by Jamie Gorelick, Bill Clinton, Barney Frank or Chris Dodd that we can complain about "on George Bush's watch" thereby harming the electoral chances of all Republicans.
Selfish: historically this would refer to someone who hoarded his wealth and did not share with others plainly in need. In years past, this might include, say, a wealthy Presidential candidate with numerous family members living in abject poverty. Or it could refer to a rich Vice-Presidential candidate who routinely gives far less than 1% of his income to charity. Now, however, this refers to middle class plumbers in the midwest who have the "audacity" to want to keep their earnings and Presidential candidates who have given merely 27% of their income to charity.
Patriotic: This is apparently now related to the concepts of taxes and selfishness. In less intelligent times, this might mean someone who withstood torture on behalf of his country in war time. Today's enlightened definition means the willingness to pay higher taxes to allow the government to "spread their wealth" which will be administered by politicians who give none of their own money away. (call me a traitor please!).
Independent Voters: this of course is a term that means someone who either A: has no idea what he or she should believe in or B: has an idea but thinks it is more enlightened to appear neutral and above the fray. These are people held in god like reverence by people like Mort Kondracke.
Reaching Across the Aisle / New Tone: Now you won't hear this many places, but these two concepts of governing are actually exactly the same thing. John McCain, who of course "reaches across the aisle" at a moments notice -- is doing all he can to escape the shadow of President George Bush - who has governed by the concept of bringing a "new tone" to Washington. All of these concepts, by the way, are abject failures and the huge irony of this cycle is that almost all of these bipartisan laws have unintended consequences now being blamed on right wing partisan politics.
Hope: An ancient concept normally refering to the ability to achieve certain favorable conditions in the future. It was related to self determination and possibilities. It now means hoping you can sit on your rear end and have money sent to you by Democrats in power. Hope is impossible to be against, however dashed hope tends to cause resentment. For example, if the person promising you a great life cannot even take care of his own family, then perhaps that "hope" is misplaced and you might be resentful in the near future.
Change: This used to mean conditions different from current conditions. It now means simply a repackaging of a Chicago machine politician pushing old time liberal and socialist policies. The only change is the pacakge. In the box is the same ole stuff. This is related to "hope" and "resentment."
Reagan Democrats: These are folks who are registered Democrat in large part due to longtime family ties. Many were Democrat families with roots to the time the Republicans pushed Civil Rights legislation. (This is very similar to the now famed racist rednecks made famouns by Ed Rendell and Jack Murtha). It was shown in the 80's and the 90's that these were voters Republicans could get by appealing to traditional conservative values and showing them how far left the Democrat Party had drifted. Now, for some reason, many moderates in the GOP think they must be appealed to by candidates pretending to be moderate.
Pollsters: This is a profession that formerly would try and use small statistically sound samples of a given population from which they would extrapilate opinons and behaviors for the entire population. Now these are media driven companies with agendas, and their job is to push certain opinions and to back these opinions mathematically.
Undecided Voters: This formerly meant folks who intended to vote but who simply had not made up their minds. It now means McCain voters who are tired of being preached to by media pundits for not voting for "the black guy."