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Changing the game for good

The Monitor's language columnist looks at a term that almost everyone wants to pin on Sarah Palin.

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It would be a stretch to say that there's one thing that both delighted conservatives and horrified liberals agree on with respect to Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president. But one phrase does keep popping up across the political spectrum: "game changer."

It's appeared in reference to the Alaska governor in publications from the Weekly Standard to National Journal to the Huffington Post. Even The Age of Melbourne, Australia, taking the long view, has chimed in. Sen. John McCain's decision to choose her as his running mate has certainly changed the dynamics of the race.

"Game changer" may be a cliché, but it strikes this observer as the right cliché.

New York Times columnist William Safire and his research team tracked the term back to 1982, in a baseball story in The Washington Post: "Singleton hit his game-changer ... fair by eight yards."


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