The Chemistry of Politics

pHun with politics…!

Here’s a quickie!

“Litmus test” as it pertains to the selection of Supreme Court judges in America.

A litmus test is a common chemical test that determines the alkalinity or acidity (the pH) of a solution by a resultant color, with acidic or alkalinic solutions coming out red or blue respectively.

You’ll hear this come up as a metaphor in a thousand variations, with the figurative litmus test determining the political bias of the candidate. From recent use of this metaphor, refering to the selection of Supreme Court nominees as having to pass a litmus test, the implication is that the supreme court is a chemical solution, preferably alkalinic to some, preferably acidic to others. Candidate Harriet Miers was of an uncertain pH, making Supreme Court chemists nervous about unexpected results.

The public’s reaction? Bush should go back to the lab and come up with a better solution. Maybe the next one won’t be so explosive.

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