As political observers gleefully parse the anonymous New York Times editorial for clues about its author, one particular theory has been gaining steam based on an unusual word: lodestar.
The word lodestar, meaning a star that leads or guides, is apparently a favorite in the parlance of Vice President Mike Pence.
The Vice President’s office has denied the charge.
Pence has reportedly been using the word into his political speeches since at least 2001.
Some have rallied around the idea, speculating that Pence penned the article, containing the line: “We may no longer have Senator McCain, but we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.”
However, as the Washington Post points out, the rationale the Times gave for keeping the author’s name a secret is the likelihood that identification would lose the person his or her job. Pence cannot be fired, only impeached.
Further, an unnamed White House official who frequently leaks to media outlets told Axios in May that he or she is very attentive to the verbal mannerisms of White House coworkers, the better to leave red herrings in leaked quotes.
“To cover my tracks, I usually pay attention to other staffers’ idioms and use that in my background quotes,” the official told Axios. “That throws the scent off me.”