Monday, April 18, 2005
What is an ataboy? (updated)
Here's the context. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) issued a press release—which is pretty interesting, by the way—that contains this—
[Ralph] Reed sent an e-mail to [Jack] Abramoff stating "I think we should budget for an ataboy for [Senator] cornyn" (sic).
Is this some sort of business or political jargon?
I've considered that it could be a misspelling of "attaboy"—a letter of encouragement or congratulations—but you don't need to "budget" for a letter.
As the proper noun "Ataboy" there is a computer storage system bearing the name, but that seems unlikely.
Could it be an assistant, an amanuensis, a boy-friday, a Guckert/Gannon?
Could it be a device for pumping oneself up? (Sure to be a favorite among politicians)
So much for the power of the internet! No one has come forward to explain the term, but I think I've sussed it out.
I suggested above that "it could be a misspelling of 'attaboy'—a letter of encouragement or congratulations—but you don't need to 'budget' for a letter."
Well, of course, you might need to budget if the letter were to include a big fat check, and that appears to be the meaning here.
A few commercial concerns have posted attaboys (spelled "ataboy") that they've received from satisfied customers. One of them contained the following sentence (which is a personal favorite, by the way): "Please accept this small token of appreciation for your exceptional work." For me it was an "ah-hah moment."
Simply put, Ralph Reed was suggesting to Jack Abramoff that a substantial payoff be made to Senator Cornyn in appreciation for his fine work in screwing a certain Native American group.