Saturday, November 12, 2016
[Credit: Library of Law and Liberty]
Since President Obama is finishing his second term, he is known as a lame duck president. The phrase refers to any politician who has lost an election or is term-limited out and can serve only until the following January. It used to be until March because of travel difficulties in earlier times, but the 20th amendment to the Constitution cut that back to eliminate unwanted extra dead weight.
The term lame duck originated in the 18th century London stock market. It referred to a broker who couldn’t cover his losses, comparing him to an injured duck which drags itself away in shame.
In reading material to remind myself about the history of this term, I came across a very curious statement. It was written by someone named Kimberly Amadeo, and it appeared on a web site named The Balance. This is the current location.
What caught my attention was this sentence: “In politics, President Lincoln first used the phrase lame duck when referring to outgoing President Calvin Coolidge.” I think not. President Lincoln died in 1865. Calvin Coolidge wasn’t born until 1872, and his term as President ran from 1923 to 1929. Unless Lincoln was stunningly clairvoyant, this statement is very strange, indeed.
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