When Chris Wallace asked Michele Bachmann if she's a "flake," many were outraged. Some thought it was sexist. But Jacob Weisberg said it was simply inaccurate. "Bachmann's not a flake, she's a wacko," he tweeted. "Newt's a flake." Given that Newt Gingrich's top campaign staff quit because he didn't want to put in the time shaking hands and kissing babies required to run a presidential campaign, it's hard to argue with Weisberg: Gingrich probably is more deserving of the flake tag. So as a service to any Sunday talk show anchors who might be nervous about which exact put-down to throw in a candidate's face, here's our glossary for the preferred and accepted zinger for each Republican presidential contender, per the current conventional wisdom.
- Michele Bachmann: Wacko. Alternative: Nutjob. Variant: right-wing nutjob.
- Newt Gingrich: Flake. Alternative: Whipped.
- Mitt Romney: Phony. Variant: Soulless phony. Variant II: Corporate phony. Alternative: Dork.
- Tim Pawlenty: Wimp.
- Rick Santorum: Poor Santorum--his own last name has been turned into an insult of sorts thanks to a clever Google-bombing campaign waged against the social conservative by gay rights activists. Aside from that, we nominate Culture Warrior. Not exactly an insult, but dismissive and marginalizing nonetheless.
- Sarah Palin: Tease.
Jon Huntsman: The conventional wisdom has yet to form on what, exactly, is Huntsman's most annoying attribute. We nominate Dudebro, for the billionaire candidate's insistence on riding motorcycles, touting his cheesy anthem rock playlist, and refusing to stop talking about his high school glory days playing for a band called Wizard.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.