On Ratfucking

The Daily Caller:

Weigel seems to harbor special contempt for a type of conservative he calls a ratfucker, a favorite phrase of his.

“Ratfucking” is a well-known political term, originated by one-time Richard Nixon campaign strategist Donald Segretti. It is a colorful and foul simile for “pulling a dirty trick.” I did not come up with it. Here, for example, is a usage of it from page 129 of “All the President’s Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.


Was it “a favorite phrase” of mine? I have done searches in my email archives for the phrases “ratfuck,” “ratfucker,” and “ratfucking.” I used the word four times, and every use appeared in the Caller’s story.

– On March 4, 2009, I wrote that Rush Limbaugh encouraged “Republican voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries as a ratfucking tactic.”

– On October 27, 2009, I wrote that Sarah Palin and “half of the Republican Party” was “trying to ratfuck the Republican nominee in NY-23.”

– On January 20, 2010, I wrote of President Obama that Republicans would “spend 10 months ratfucking him on every bill.”

-  A January 26, 2010 thread on the arrest of James O’Keefe was titled (not by me) “ACORN Ratf*cker arrested.” Later, picking up the word, I wrote: “You’re all wrong. He’s either going to get a radio talk show or start a prison ministry. That’s was successful conservative ratfuckers do for their second acts.”

Those were the only times I used the word “ratfuck” in any permutation. All of them predate my hiring by the Washington Post. Two of them referred to the literal meaning of the word — using false pretenses to nail a political opponent. (In this case, Limbaugh/Obama and O’Keefe/ACORN.) One irony: Were a Republican operative to enter Journolist on false pretenses then leak information about its members, that would be a classic ratfuck.