Slow-rolling (gerund, participle): Delaying a response, postponing an action, or obstructing a process. Also slow rolling, slowrolling.
“Slow-rolling” originated in poker jargon, where it refers to “having the winning hand (often a massive hand) and taking a long time to show the hand when asked to declare. Considered bad etiquette.” (Source: PokerTips.org.)
It’s also used to describe political processes.
Bob Garfield, host of the weekly public-radio show “On the Media,” used “slow-rolling” in an October 13 segment about the Obama administration and the press:
And then there’s the kind of soft obstructionism, and we’ve had this experience with the Department of Homeland Security just in the past few weeks. We call, with some fairly innocuous questions, and they say, “Well, we have to get back to you on that.” They never get back to you. It’s sometimes called slow-rolling.
“Slow-rolling” leaped to national prominence in August of this year, when Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., accused the Internal Revenue Service of obstructing a Congressional investigation:
“You are slow-rolling us,” Issa told acting IRS head Danny Werfel in a heated exchange during a committee hearing Friday. “There are important facts to get out, and you are obstructing.”
The term has been circulating in political and media circles for most of the last decade. In September 2004, during the Bush-Kerry presidential campaign, the New York Times reported that “federal agencies across the vast Washington bureaucracy have delayed completion of a range of proposed regulations from food safety and the environment to corporate governance and telecommunications policy until after Election Day, when regulatory action may be more politically palatable”:
While the delay of completing rules, known to lobbyists and policy makers as “slow rolling,”' is common in a campaign season, some environmental groups and consumer advocates say this year is different.
And in December 2004, after George W. Bush was re-elected, ConsortiumNews.com led a post-election story with this paragraph:
George W. Bush’s political allies appear to be slow-rolling a requested recount in Ohio, leaving so little time that even if widespread voting fraud is discovered, the finding will come too late to derail Bush’s second term.