Thank you, Sen. Chris Dodd. In his announcement this week that he's not running for reelection, he acknowledged the silliness of one of the tried and true lines in politics.
"There's nothing more pathetic in my view than a politician who announces they're only leaving public life to spend more time with their family," said Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat.
As Dodd was right to point out, that particular reason hasn't been the full truth since around the time George Washington chose to spend more time with Martha at Mount Vernon.
In that spirit, here are four more phrases we hope got retired with the end of 2009:
4. "Stop playing political games." A sure sign that whoever is saying this is, in fact, playing political games. What's more, the person saying it almost certainly wants that game to continue. And what's the fun of politics if you're not playing a little?
3. "We need more time to debate this bill." Actually, you don't need that time to debate the bill. You need that time to figure out how to sink that bill, or you just want more time on TV to talk about why that bill will be the downfall of civilization.
2. "Let me be clear." This is a bipartisan favorite, though it's notably a common formulation of President Obama's -- sometimes with the word "perfectly" wedged in there. Usually, that means clarity is a bit lacking. Being clear is often harder than saying you're being clear.
1. "Change."This one was good enough to win an election, of course. But the more things change … the triter it sounds. Plus, this mash-up from the 2008 campaign somehow always gets into our heads.