30-second Word Whoop: “Mulligan”
I tuned in, and there’s that word again: “mulligan.” I heard it volleyed by Mitt Romney at last Wednesday’s debate in Simi Valley, Calif. (though I think Rick Perry started it …). Romney was being defensive, saying every candidate deserved to take “a mulligan” or two on bad decisions from the past.
This time, Michele Bachmann lobbed it repeatedly at Rick Perry as one of her talking points — saying that in the case of government-mandated inoculations against a virus that causes cervical cancer, “little girls don’t get a mulligan … they don’t get a do-over.”
I’ll leave it to the pundits to keep score; I just want to know what, exactly, it means.
I’ve heard of mulligan stew — a hodgepodge. It’s Irish, right? Maybe goes well with a swig of something?
Turns out, a “mulligan” relates to scorekeeping in golf. Its etymology is debatable. Could be Scottish; I lose track of who kicked whom out of whose country. First popularized in the 1940s, mulligan refers to a second shot allowed by an opponent after a player hacks his swing.
I thought candidates aimed to be folksy and speak to the American people, not use lexicon straight from the country club.
Maybe the term will come in handy as the 2012 presidential field tries to navigate the obstacle course in the remaining SWING states. (Maybe the mulligan stew even will start thinning out.)