I did some searchers on “dithering” in the New York Times and Washington Post archives. In the Times, there were eleven uses of the word post-Cheney out of a total of 47 in the past year. In the Post, there were 36 post-Cheney out of a total of 46 in the past 12 months.
Michael Gerson, Jackson Diehl, and David Broder have all accused the president of “dithereing” post-Cheney. Gerson also used the phrase about a week before Cheney’s speech. Ronald Krebs and Dana Milbank also wrote pieces accusing Obama of dithering before Cheney’s speech (Jim Hoagland also wrote a piece, praising the dithering). The phrase seems to have originated with Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” on October 4.
It’s interesting how these words take off and I think it’s likely that neocons settled on it and that Krebs, Gerson, and Cheney all using it within a week of each other was no accident (Diehl and Broder fall more in the category of useful idiots).
The word “dithering” appeared only once on the NYT’s editorial page, in a Maureen Dowd piece satirizing Cheney.
Update. This is apropos of John’s last post, for those to whom that isn’t obvious.
Update. Halperin fronts Broder channeling Cheney. The circle is complete. Tinkers to Evers to Chance.