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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2007-09-29 03:37:47

From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674

'ward-healer' for 'ward-heeler'

I’m not sure why small-time political operatives are called ward-heelers; presumably it’s because they spend a lot of time walking around their assigned territory. But part of their job is to fix their constituents’ problems (e.g., parking tickets), so one can see them in a therapeutic or healing role. About 1600 ghits vs. 19,000 for the original. Examples:

Former Speaker of the House, the great Boston Irish ward healer, Tip O’Neill, a Democrat no less, said, “All politics is (sic) local.”

Despite the former council member’s obvious flaws, he was one of the few people in the community capable of playing the role of ward healer.

My grandfather was a ‘ward healer’ who believed FDR was God and Lyndon Johnson was the second coming. … hp?t-3514.

The influence of the “Southern Pacific Machine” was popularly supposed to extend from the Governor of the state to the lowest ward healer in San Francisco ……



#2 2014-05-03 05:39:45

Dixon Wragg
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 715

Re: 'ward-healer' for 'ward-heeler'

Here’s a variation:

My Blue Healer is an amazing mountain biker! He needs to ride with me… where can I take him? Where do you ride legal single track or fire roads with your dog?
online bulletin board

A blue heeler is a breed of dog. The “healer” substitution seems more like a misspelling than an eggcorn, though some people do consider the presence of a dog to be healing. There are even “therapy dogs” that visit hospitals.



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