The “JetBlue Election”?

There’s a phrase likely to inspire fear in anyone who’s been to an airport lately. It also might inspire a few headlines. And it might be the first contender for zeitgeist-capturing phrase of the summer.

It was coined in today’s Wall Street Journal story parsing out the latest WSJ/NBC poll on voter satisfaction/dissatisfaction/confusion/anger/preferences/yadda/yadda/yadda. The coiner? Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the “JetBlue election,” Mr. Hart said: “Everyone’s hurling invective and they’re all taking the emergency exit.”

The gist of the Journal’s Peter Wallsten’s stat-summary is that it’s doom and gloom for both political parties, but that Republicans will likely benefit because they’re the “other guys.” Interesting, unsurprising analysis.

What will be more interesting will be to see if this “JetBlue election” thing takes off. The Washington Independent is already running with it, in today’s piece, “Will a ‘JetBlue’ Election Make Wacky Republicans Electable?”, and Newser cribbed the phrase for its headline on a story summarizing the Journal’s summary. Times media writer David Stelter tweeted that he wasn’t so sure it will stick. From @brianstelter:

But, um, the “JetBlue election?” That might be taking it a bit too far. (via @jmartpolitico)

It might be going too far, true. And it hasn’t quite taken off—it’s only noon! But it does have that “summer of rage” ring to it. We’ll be keeping an eye out for mentions.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.