policy wonk

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policy wonk (plural policy wonks)

  1. (politics, government) A person who studies or develops strategies and policies, especially one who has a keen interest in and aptitude for technical details.
    • 1984 Oct. 29, New Republic, p. 16:
      Mondale's passionate attachment to the issue reflects his thralldom to the policy wonks and wise men of the Washington establishment.
    • 1988 July 25, Joe Klein, “'President Dukakis': what the First Hundred Days Could be Like”, in New York Magazine, volume 21, number 29, page 27:
      Kirk O'Donnell, 42, who recently joined the campaign staff, is a unique combination of Boston pol and "policy wonk" who is best known in Washington as Tip O'Neill's former right-hand man, the guy who sold the speaker's program to the congressional troops.
    • 1992 July 20, Walter Shapiro, “Gore A Hard-Won Sense of Ease”, in Time:
      Clinton and Gore . . . . both are new-ideas moderates with a policy wonk's love of the intricacies of complex issues.
    • 2010, The Economist, Jul-Aug, p. 25:
      But access to ministers is not the only reason right-of-centre policy wonks are excited.