From Maureen Dowd’s NYT op-ed column (“Can We Get Hillary Without the Foolery?”) today:

She was supposed to go off to a spa, rest and get back in shape after her grueling laps around the world. But instead she’s a tornado of activity, speaking at global women’s conferences in D.C. and New York; starting to buck-rake on the speaking circuit; putting out a video flipping her position to support gay marriage; and signing a lucrative deal for a memoir on world affairs — all as PACs spring up around her, Bill Clinton and Carville begin to foment, and Chelsea lands on the cover of this week’s Parade, talking about how “unapologetically and unabashedly” biased she is about her mother’s future.

I was stopped short for a while by buck-rake, but then I figured it out: buck-raking is attested, so buck-rake could be a back-formation from it; and muckrake / muckraking is probably involved, so there’s likely to be a portmanteau with buck ‘dollar’ in there.

From AHD4 (2000):

The practice of accepting large sums of money for speaking to business or special interest groups, especially when viewed as compromising the objectivity of journalists. [Blend of buck and muckraking, gerund of muckrake.]

And from BuzzWhack: The Buzzword Compliant Dictionary, a less judgmental definition that seems to correspond better to current usage:

buck-rake: To hold a political fund-raiser. “He skipped the debate in order to buck-rake for his campaign.” (Nominated by Max Matthews)

Three more recent examples (showing separated and solid spellings as well as hyphenated):

The ex-Massachusetts governor [Mitt Romney], after raising money in the Hamptons on Friday, was set to buck rake on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod. (link)

Jerry Brown in town to buck-rake at his old N. St. apt. Cocktails at 6. $10,000-a-plate dinner to follow. (link)

Mitt Romney plans to attend a fund-raising breakfast at the New York Hilton on Friday and may look to buckrake further when he returns to the city next week. (link)


One Response to “buck-rake”

  1. Synthetic compounds and back-formed verbs: rape | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] blog — there are 38 postings tagged for Back formation, the most recent one on buck-rake, here – when there’s a synthetic compound, there’s likely to be a back-formed verb […]

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