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It’s that week-brightening time again, when a new word pops up to add a little zing. This week’s Weird – and timely- Word is snollygoster.

Our  next presidential election is mere weeks away, and snollygoster refers to a dishonest politician, one especially calculating. Hmmmm….not taking sides here, but that could certainly refer to any number of semi-distinguished public servants who roam Washington, D.C.

The challenge arises in using snollygoster in a sentence, as in:

“Even though he professed to not be a crook, our 37th president was still a bit of a snollygoster, wasn’t he?”

Certainly, Nixon leads the pack of United States snollygosters, but history is rife with their shenanigans. Consider former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his infamous “bunga bunga” parties – that’s snollygosterism at its finest. Fraud, bribery, and harems of women weren’t enough for this Lothario.

Or take Boss Tweed, who controlled the Democratic Party in New York in the mid-1800s. He was gifted in political corruption, surrounding himself with lackies who helped him bilk New York of millions of dollars.

Let’s close with a word from Abe, who might have had his own snollygoster in mind when he wrote to Allen N. Ford, editor of an Illinois newspaper, in 1846:

“I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him.”

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