Talking Points, Potter Style

Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:34pm

On Capitol Hill, “Harry Potter” still lags behind “Star Wars” when it comes to rhetoric.

George Lucas’ epic space opera spawned its own Capitol Hill lingo. 

Among other things, a plan to shoot down nuclear missiles with space-based weapons was nicknamed “Star Wars,” President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “the evil empire” and Hillary Rodham Clinton once called Vice President Dick Cheney “Darth Vader.”

But except for a few “Republicans for Voldemort” bumper stickers, the “Harry Potter” films are not referenced as often.

Here are a handful of Potter references from around the Hill.

“This is kind of a Harry Potter budget. They’re projecting unemployment at unprecedented, historical levels. … They basically just wave their magic wand and said, these are the numbers that are going to restore the economy of the United States.” — Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), at an April 15 press conference.

“The student who introduced me took note of the fact that the senior class had chosen as their speakers Ben Bernanke and J. K. Rowling, or, as he put it, ‘two of the great masters of children’s fantasy fiction.’” — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, at the 2009 Boston College School of Law commencement.

“After a full day of campaigning, I got back to Chicago and read ‘Harry Potter’ to my daughter and then took my wife out to dinner,” then-Sen. Barack Obama, in an interview on “Morning Joe” in 2007.

Harry Potter Glossary

For the uninitiated, here are a few Potter references you may find handy: 

Lord Voldemort:
An evil wizard who wants to rid the world of non-magical humans. Can be used to describe one’s political opponents. Also known as “the Dark Lord” or “You-Know-Who.”

Ordinary, non-magical humans. Can be used to describe taxpayers or average Americans. Example: “This budget will hurt us Muggles.”

Invisibility Cloak:
Self-explanatory. Can be used to describe anything that one’s political opponents wish to hide. Example: “They want to throw an invisibility cloak over this issue, but the voters won’t be fooled.”

The Golden Snitch:
A magical flying ball which, when captured, ends a game of Quidditch, usually leading to victory. Example: “The economy is going to be the Golden Snitch of the upcoming elections — whoever captures that issue will win the election.”