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I found the word, ‘political gold’ in the following sentence of the article of Boston News (August 13) titled “Romney sees gain in ‘Corporations are people’ remark.”

“Romney's response that "corporations are people" to a liberal heckler during an exchange over fiscal policy at the Iowa State Fair immediately lit up the argument The Democratic National Committee jumped on the comment and saw its own political gold in trying to score points against a leading contender for the GOP nomination.”

As I was unfamiliar with the word, ‘Political gold,’ I checked Google and found a couple of examples of the word in use, e.g.

  • Kathy Hochul found political gold in Paul Ryan plan. – Buffalo News May 25, 2011
  • Belgian stalemate spun into political gold. - Financial Times – April 25, 2011

From the word “Romney sees gain in ‘Corporations are people’ " remark, I can easily guess ‘political gold’ means political gain, advantage or opportunity.

However I wonder whether political gold is a intertwined cliché (or idiom) or just a compound word of ‘political and gold’ that allows application to any other compounds like ‘business gold,’ ‘scientific gold,’ ‘cultural gold,’ or ‘technology gold.’

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Comedy gold is a relative common, modern phrase that is similar in concept. I believe the phrase was popularized by Seinfeld. –  KitFox Aug 15 '11 at 3:03
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3 Answers

It's both - you can certainly have ‘business gold,’ ‘scientific gold’ ‘cultural gold,’ or ‘technology gold'.

But if you use them too much they are a cliche

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Is this a cliche? Let's define cliche:

a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse,

Note, the phrase or term becomes a cliche only if it has been overused. Now, I doubt if "political gold" is overused, as I haven't heard it being used as much as some other cliches ("Cup of tea", etc.)

Thus, I would say it wasn't a cliche (yet), but it is definitely a compound noun.

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I think it's still a cliché.

I think you are referring to the following process:

  1. A clever writer comes up with a fresh new expression or metaphor. (e.g. When she goes on a date she isn't looking for love; she is digging for gold.)
  2. Other writers copy the metaphor.
  3. The metaphor is used so widely it becomes a cliché. (Those gold diggers....)
  4. The cliché becomes so well-worn speakers use it without necessarily referring to the original metaphor. It becomes an idiom.
  5. The idiom becomes a compound word. ("gold-digger")

In my opinion, political gold is still at stage 3; it still has some way to go before it reaches stage 5. However, I suspect that political gold probably derives from the idiom struck [political / comedy / technological / ...] gold, so it is a cliché derived from an idiom.

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