Our Journalese Dictionary definition of operative is: “Anyone getting paid to promote someone or something. Political operatives are not identified as shady but often are.” The American Dictionary of the English Language has it: “1. A skilled worker, especially in industry. 2.a. A secret or trusted agent. 2.b. A private detective.”
What brings this up is a lede in a Boston Globe story, Aug. 21, 2017, about the latest candidate to try to beat Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in next year’s election: “Longtime Republican operative Beth Lindstrom will launch her US Senate campaign on Monday, promising not to hew to the party line…”
Well, as far as I know, Lindstrom is not a skilled industrial worker, a secret agent, a private eye or shady. But she sure is a trusted agent, according to the story, having been head of the Mass. state lottery, Governor Mitt Romney’s consumer and business regulations chief, first female executive director of the state Republican Party, and campaign manager of Scott Brown’s surprising victory in the special election for the seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy. (Warren beat Brown in the regular election In 2012.) Lindstrom headed Commonwealth Future, a super PAC that spent $7.6 on TV ads to help Charlie Baker win the 2014 governor’s election.
File under: A hack in the guise of operative.