skip to nav skip to content


Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

The Return Of The Word "Moocher"

  • Print

The Boston Globe asks a pertinent question: How did an old-fashioned word like "moocher" become all the rage in 2012?

"Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, has praised a book published last winter by Charlie Sykes, a Milwaukee talk radio host, called “A Nation of Moochers: America’s Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing.” Sykes tips his hat to Rand as well as to other predecessors, such as P.J. O’Rourke, who wrote a piece called “A Nation of Moochers” for The Weekly Standard in 2009, and talk-show host Neal Boortz, who has often railed against the “moocher class.”..

."Those on the right who have embraced “moocher” seem to enjoy its old-fashioned resonances. Sykes, in his book, calls on conservatives to revel in the word’s “anachronistic glory,” noting that it “is so old, it is fresh again.”

Read the whole thing here.


After Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” fund-raiser video was leaked on Sept. 17, certain key words and phrases took on a life of their own: “Victims.” “I’ll never convince them.” But a word that has become a key part of the campaign conversation is one Romney didn’t use: “moochers.”

The increase in “moocher” talk since the video’s release has been remarkable. Before that date, the LexisNexis news database had counted 420 media mentions of “moocher” or “moochers” for 2012. In just the final two weeks of September, it appeared a whopping 477 times.

Most of the time, it’s been Obama supporters using “moochers” to paint Romney’s argument in broad strokes. But even before the video, it had already become a kind of “dog whistle” for conservatives railing against the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax (though they may pay other kinds of taxes). In sum, a relatively obscure word with an old-timey feel has been embraced both by those decrying government handouts and those who think such complaints are overblown.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Milwaukee, WI

Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
SSW at 3 mph

620 WTMJ