March 14, 2012
William Safire’s 1994 anthology of columns about language, In Love with Norma Loquendi, reprints a column from during the George W.H. Bush years about then Secretary of Defense Cheney’s over-use of the word “bogie.” The column begins with a reference to the devil being in the details, and it concludes (as was typical for Safire) with a call-back to the devil trope. Here’s how the column ends:
Extracted from a budget meeting to take my call, Secretary Cheney says, “It just means ‘mark’ or ‘target.’ It’s standard lingo around here. I hear it all the time. You’re right. I’m using it too much — Lynne, my wife, warned me about that a week ago.” He stifled a sigh, and added, “After a year or so around here, you become one of them.”
And Old Nick, the ancient Tempter and scratch golfer, takes out his wallet and — chuckling evilly — inserts another linguistic soul.”
Worse explanation of how Cheney lost his soul to the Devil ever.
(Since Cheney became Secretary of Defense in March, 1989, this column was probably published in 1990 or 1991.)