"Refudiate" and the logotariat

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My piece on Sarah Palin’s refudiate — “Got to celebrate it!” — is on Fresh Air  today (weirdly edited and repunctuated on the NPR site but fixed now). I noodle over why Palin never cottoned to the error before she was caught called out and felt obliged to defend it: probably because repudiate is an item that you're most likely to encounter in books with semicolons in them.  (I wanted to call the piece "Never a Duh! Moment" but NPR likes titles that tip their hands.)  In the end, though, I was more interested in the keening indignation that these things evoke among the logotariat (can’t find any other hits for that one, but a claim of first coining requires more intense Zimmering than I’m capable of). It's a point that has been made before in these pages, particularly by Mark (for example here, here, and here); I defended Palin against the de-haut-en-bushwah (Ben?) condescension of her critics here and here. But it isn't as if it doesn't still need saying:

Take the way the logotariat reacted to Palin's use of "verbage" in place of "verbiage" during the 2008 campaign. It's a very common error, and in its way a logical one. The "i" in "verbiage" doesn't make any sense if you think, as most people do, that the word is related to "verb" and "verbal." (It actually comes from the same root as "warble.") But in The New Yorker, James Wood took "verbage" as Palin's own invention, calling it a perfect example of the Republicans' disdain for words: "so close to garbage, so far from language."

"Where do you begin with that? With the remarkable condescension of "garbage" (so close to "trash")? Or with the insolence of asserting that faulty usage betrays stupidity and turpitude?

One way or the other, it's a form of smugness that transcends partisan boundaries — people on the right are just as quick to ridicule Obama and Joe Biden for their mistakes.

But the well-spoken aren't necessarily wiser or better than the rest of us. Most of the horrors that the human race has had to endure in modern times were inflicted at the bidding of men who spoke in shapely grammatical sentences. Unfortunately, eloquence doesn't come next to godliness; a devotion to language will have to be its own reward. Could we just celebrate that?

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43 Comments »

  1. Jan Karel Schreuder said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    But the well-spoken aren't necessarily wiser or better than the rest of us. Most of the horrors that the human race has had to endure in modern times were inflicted at the bidding of men who spoke in shapely grammatical sentences. Unfortunately, eloquence doesn't come next to godliness; a devotion to language will have to be its own reward. Could we just celebrate that?

    No particular comment. The paragraph I quote speaks for itself. I only want to express my admiration for the eloquence with which it states the sentiment and opinion I so strongly share.

  2. Ryan Denzer-King said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

    Re: verbiage, when I learned the word I always just assumed that the was silent. Though I'm sure I've heard it with an [i] in there, if you asked me right now I would probably claim I've only ever heard "verbage".

  3. Clayton Burns said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Well;;; I do not agree with it at all;;;.

    Would you rather share an hour with a Baltimore psychiatrist in a discussion about John Marcher in "The Beast in the Jungle," or be subjected to another session of Sarah's palingenesis?

    The greatest shaper of shapely grammatical sentences: Henry James. But the very shaping was/is an index to moral manner.

    The neoconservative mindset is perhaps best revealed in the blog postings of SHRDLU QUALIA QUERULANTENWAHN–I believe in short "Shrdlu Querulant"–and sometimes trading under the name "Destrudo Mortido," when in his/her shadow phase.

    Hamlet spoke in "shapely grammatical sentences," but he was nonetheless the essence of reasonableness.

  4. Richard said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

    There should be a distinction made between intelligence and how someone sounds.

    As an example, I hated listening to Dubya speak (and it isn't just because I disagreed with most of his views). People often thought I had a problem with his twang when I said I hated listening to him, but that wasn't the problem; you can speak with a twang and still sound eloquent. My problem with him was that he sounded like he had an IQ of 50 when he was forced to expound on a subject without a script in front for him to read.

    As another example, someone in a comment somewhere else noted that his father-in-law sounded like a country bumpkin when speaking in his Shandong dialect, but he actually was a classically trained scholar, well-versed in wenyan, etc.

    It's unfortunate that people tend to confuse the mode of communication with the meat of the message.

    In Palin's case, though, I may not want to listen to her homilies, but not because she mangles words and grammar, but because she seems to be a dumb person who just parrots talking points thought up by others.

  5. ?! said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    Clayton, I'm sure the psychiatrist would be interesting. But I'd rather spend time with George Bush than with Goebbels, say, despite what the latter might do for my German skills.
    And now that I think about it I was probably find an hour with George more interesting than an hour with a psychiatrist.

  6. kip said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    Am I wrong (or backwards?) in thinking "caught out" here is an eggcorn for "called out"?

    GN: Yeah, "caught out" suggests a more serious dereliction — I had "called on it" in the piece. But I don't know that I'd call it an eggcorn, which implies a misconception about a form or meaning; it's more like a thinko.

  7. Richard said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    Also, the comparison with Eisenhower is a bad one.

    Here are some Eisenhower quotes:

    "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."

    "The sergeant is the Army."

    "From behind the Iron Curtain, there are signs that tyranny is in trouble and reminders that its structure is as brittle as its surface is hard."

    "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."

    "I deplore the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of constituted courts."

    "If men can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war include almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man's intelligence and his comprehension… would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution."
    ————–

    This doesn't sound like an inarticulate man. In fact, Eisenhower sounds very eloquent, reasoned, and wise; someone who's lived through a lot and knows how to react to calamities; the type of man that you'd want to lead our nation.

    Here'a Palin:
    "We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. … We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation"

    "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border."

    "I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink."

    ———————

    Yeah. An unapt comparison, to say the least.

    GN: It's true that Eisenhower wrote with more fluency than his contemporaries gave him credit for, and what's preserved at the "famous quotations" sites are the most lapidary of his utterances. But at the time, he was widely and almost conventionally regarded as inarticulate — with some reason. (Do a search on "Eisenhower inarticulate" and you'll find lots of references to that perception.) His spoken style was an inexhaustible topic of humor for comics like Mort Sahl; Oliver Jensen, the editor of American Heritage magazine, wrote a famous parody called "The Gettysburg Address in Eisenhowerese," which began:

    I haven't checked these figures but 87 years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental set-up here in this country, I believe it covered certain Eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, civil disturbance you might say, although I don't like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental set-up with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity and find out whether that dedication by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values and things of that kind.

  8. Robert Coren said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    de-haut-en-bushwah

    nothing useful to add; I just wanted to say that I love this coinage.

  9. Tamara said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    @Richard

    Were those Eisenhower quotes from scripted speeches or when he was speaking extemporaneously? Certainly the third and fourth do not sound like something anyone would say off the cuff.

    I know all the Palin quotes were unscripted. Perhaps your comparison is equally unapt?

  10. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    There's a famous parody called 'The Gettysburg Addres in Eisenhowese' by Oliver Jensen (beginning 'I haven't checked these figures but 87 years ago I think it was'). Dwight Macdonald in his book of parodies prints this along with a genuine (extemporaneous, it seems)speech by Eisenhower, which is indeed very inarticulate, and shows the appositeness of the parody. There is one line which seems to put the president on record as being against freedom and democracy, though Macdonald points out, in bipartisan spirit, that this is almost certainly not what he intended. He also prints an extract from a speech by Warren Harding, which shows that presidential inarticulacy was not invented by Eisenhower.

  11. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

    Aargh – I see my comment has been forestalled by Geoff Nunberg while I was writing it. One might add, though, that the Jensen parody may not bring out the full extent of Eisenhower's inarticulacy, since the structure of the speech is of course Lincoln's, and does not permit him to wander too much.

  12. Mark P said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

    I suspect the biggest source of inarticulateness in in the extemporaneous speech of public figures is recording devices.

  13. Sharl said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

    Wood's article does not assert, as Nunberg claims, that "faulty usage betrays stupidity and turpitude." Wood is talking about a campaign that "claims to loathe 'just words,'" while at the same time it proves "expert at their manipulation."

    GN: He does for the first part of the piece, before he gets going on Palin:

    "Hearing her being interviewed by Sean Hannity, on Fox News, almost made one wish for a Republican victory in November, so that her bizarre locutions might be available a bit longer to delve into. At times, even Hannity looked taken aback; his eyes, slightly too close to each other, like the headlamps on an Army jeep, went blank, as if registering the abyss we are teetering above….It would be hard to find a better example of the Republican disdain for words than that remarkable term [verbage], so close to garbage, so far from language."

    "Abyss," "garbage" — we're not just talking about cynicism or manipulation anymore.

    @Tamara

    Then look at only the scripted speeches of Palin and Eisenhower. Apt-ified?

  14. Kylopod said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

    One way or the other, it's a form of smugness that transcends partisan boundaries — people on the right are just as quick to ridicule Obama and Joe Biden for their mistakes.

    It may transcend partisan boundaries, but it isn't identical on either side of the political aisle. In modern times, the GOP has mired itself in folksy anti-intellectualism, epitomized first by Reagan, who was attacked by critics as a few bricks shy of a load. Of course Reagan could also be highly eloquent, but he began a trend where conservatives embrace disfluency as a badge of pride, as a way of sticking it to the "elitists" who ridicule them but are out of touch with "real" Americans.

    Dubya, who lacked Reagan's eloquence but had a knack for malapropisms, took this strategy to a new level. Bush's critics took the bait by mocking his language and even his intelligence–it became almost a liberal tenet that Bush was an idiot. Bush gleefully helped this along by cultivating a country-bumpkin image that wasn't especially accurate. (My favorite anecdote was when Vicente Fox called Bush a "windshield cowboy" after discovering he was afraid of horses.)

    Palin, incredibly, has taken Bush's disfluency to even greater heights, to the point that she often isn't very coherent. Her explanation on O'Reilly for why she's qualified to be president ("I have the values that are reflective of so many other American values") is a case in point.

    Likewise, one thing I've observed about conservative attacks on Obama is that many of them seem like versions of things that Democrats once leveled against Bush, such as the criticisms of Obama's use of a teleprompter. While Bush's critics may not have focused specifically on the teleprompter, it was common for them to say he couldn't speak competently off the cuff. The Obama-teleprompter meme is basically the same accusation.

    So when they make fun of Obama's pronunciation of "corpsman" or his reference to "57 states", or any of Biden's notorious gaffes, there's an element of retribution at work. I don't think they'd be this strident about the matter if not for the treatment Bush had received for his many slips of the tongue and the attacks on his intelligence.

  15. Robert T McQuaid said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    People don't use [repudiate] a lot in everyday conversation, as in "I used to think Peter Frampton was cool but I totally repudiate that now." You have to frequent the places the word hangs out in, the kinds of books and periodicals that have semicolons in them.

    - I was so amused by this comment I'm not sure I even heard the rest of the talk.

  16. Garrett Wollman said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

    Re: NPR copyediting — I suspect a good chunk of what ends up on the NPR site was originally written as a broadcast script and then massaged^Wcopyedited into reasonably readable prose. Is it possible that Geoff's text was mistakenly sent though the "script -> Web" filter? (One of the major differences between radio script and essay forms is the use of phonetic respelling: "AM" is an innocent verb, whereas the initialism is written "AYEM", for example; likewise, difficult-to-pronounce foreign names are respelled so that the reader does not make a fool of herself in front of an audience of millions. Compare the origin of "misspelled" words like "hed" and "lede" as newspaper copyeditors' jargon.)

  17. Fred Wickham said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:59 am

    I like the coinage "refudiate" — born of ignorance though it may be. Had any public figure less foolish than Palin made it we'd celebrate it.

  18. Witbrock said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:06 am

    "But the well-spoken aren't necessarily wiser or better than the rest of us."
    This is a straw-man argument. No reasonable person, however smug or condescending, would claim that the well-spoken are necessarily wiser. And certainly not that they are necessarily better. But it is not unreasonable to claim that the well-spoken are often wiser, or at the very least, more intelligent.

    Palin, it seems to me, being neither well-spoken, nor evidently wise or intelligent, illustrates this correlation rather well.

  19. Mark F. said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:41 am

    In a world with greater respect for rational argument, more people would be responding to what she was trying to say than making fun of her failure to say it correctly. I suppose, for many, ad hominem arguments are entirely appropriate since the question at hand for them is the competence of Sarah Palin, and not whether America should remain a land of religious tolerance. But I think the latter question deserves some attention (in less linguistically focused forums, to be sure).

  20. Nicholas Lawrence said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 5:20 am

    Even if the OED is wrong about the etymology of verbiage, I love their quote for the variant verbage (1787) : 'the flippant Phrase Glides from his hollow Tongue, tho' oft debas'd By low commercial Verbage.'

  21. Kylopod said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 5:39 am

    @Mark F.

    I disagree–slightly. From what I've seen, the subject of her remarks–the building of the Cordoba House–has received a great deal of attention on non-linguistic forums over the past few weeks. But her specific arguments on the matter are so thin they don't leave critics with much to respond to. The arguments offered by the likes of Newt Gingrich or the ADL, despicable as they were, have relatively more substance (if that's the right word).

    I do think the focus on her use of "refudiate" has distracted attention from more important things, and she's milked it for what it's worth. Indeed, I don't even think her mistake is a sign of inarticulateness per se, much less ignorance or stupidity. It's a minor slip of the tongue that anyone could make. Her actual disfluency is profound, not superficial. At her best, she speaks in pure boilerplate; at her worst, she strings together sentences that are scarcely coherent, as in my example from before ("I have the values that are reflective of so many other American values").

    Unfortunately, critics have a tendency to lump together all forms of verbal dysfunction, and so Palin gets placed in the same category as Yogi Berra and Rev. Spooner and other lovable figures with a knack for malaprop, when in fact her disfluency runs a lot deeper. When you look at her interviews, she seems seriously out of her depth on most public policy issues, and it translates to the feeling that she's just barely keeping up. You don't have to be a great communicator to be a strong thinker, but her gap is not just linguistic. After all, she has a communications degree and worked as a sportscaster. She actually doesn't sound that bad when she's talking about subjects close to her heart (parenting, sports, moose hunting). It's those other matters–most notably, national and international politics–that make her sound like (to borrow Chris Matthews' analogy) a flunking student who crammed on exam night.

  22. George said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 8:07 am

    As others have suggested, we cannot remove a particular malaprop from its context. It comes in a package of anti-intellectualism, often incoherent speech, ignorance about the wider world, a Beverly-hillbilly persona and a soap-opera family.

    Had this come from such as Maureen Dowd or William Buckley, Jr. (with his eyes twinkling), the reaction would be entirely different.

  23. Tamara said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    @Sharl,

    Well, not entirely, because politicians have speechwriters, so the words are not their own. I don't think politicians should take much credit or blame for the actual wording in their speeches; only for the overall message. That said, I agree with the many commenters who argued that her overall message is no more coherent than her off-the-cuff remarks.

  24. John said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 10:56 am

    Both sources I checked say that verbiage is indeed related to verb (i.e., Lat. verbum) via old French.

    GN: I discussed this here (there's a link to this in the post at "warble").

  25. John O'Toole said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    "Most of the horrors that the human race has had to endure in modern times were inflicted at the bidding of men who spoke in shapely grammatical sentences."

    Examples, Mr. Nunberg, examples, please! Besides Hitler, who, unfortunately for the world, could certainly move masses of German citizens with his speeches. Did Joe Stalin use Russian with remarkable fluency? Did Mao speak an impeccable Mandarin even off the cuff? How about Pol Pot? I have no idea and "mesmerizing speaker" or something to that effect is not one of the characteristics we in the English-speaking world generally attach to those names. It's a nice point you want to make, if you can back it up with some facts! Thanks.

  26. Boris said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    Surely being articulate is necessary, but not sufficient to be a good leader. You can always bring out the Goebbels, Hitler, Putin, or whatever as examples of intelligent people whom one would not want to be his leader, but that only proves that being articulate is insufficient, not that it is not necessary. Do you not want the public to understand the policies the president will put into effect, how he (or she) thinks, what his (or her) values are? Heck, the president tells a lot of people what to do. Do you really want a leader whose subordinates can't understand his orders?

  27. Ralph Hickok said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    @Fred Wickham
    But what does it mean? "Refute" and "repudiate" have very different meanings. A blend of those meanings is, to my mind, impossible. So does it mean "refute" or "repudiate"? And, since those words already exist, do we need a new synonym with exactly the same definition?

  28. Michael said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    I think people are forgetting the point of the post, which is that her coinage–or whatever you want to call it–brought out a mean and high-minded set of responses that are frequently aimed at just about anybody who is thought to misspeak. It's irrelevant how you feel about Palin (or Bush, who never did anything to promote her).

  29. Bloix said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

    Look, if I go to a restaurant and the waitress wipes the table with a dirty rag, I'm entitled to assume that the kitchen is a pigsty. You may tell me that the dirty rag isn't proof of anything, that the kitchen might nonetheless be spotless. But I can't see inside the kitchen. I can only see what's outside and I have to make a decision based on what I can see.

    Palin may be the second coming of Kant. But she talks like she's an idiot. And I'm not only talking about word usage. "In what respect, Charlie?" "Department of Law." "All of them, any of them." "Putin rears his head." "Obama's death panel." "Drill, baby, drill." "You betcha." She's a clown.

    Of course, a non-idiot might make a mistake like "refudiate." But when an idiot does it, please don't argue that it's proof that she's a genius.

  30. JimG said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    The honorable Nunberg concluded:
    > But the well-spoken aren't necessarily wiser or better than the rest of us.
    > Most of the horrors that the human race has had to endure in modern
    > times were inflicted at the bidding of men who spoke in shapely
    > grammatical sentences. Unfortunately, eloquence doesn't come
    > next to godliness; a devotion to language will have to be its own
    > reward. Could we just celebrate that?

    I plead guilty to equating logical thinking and control of language. However, I wonder about the generalization, given the (formerly customary) journalistic tradition of giving speakers credit for what they were assumed to mean. Admittedly, Hitler and Mussolini were skilled speakers, but was Stalin or Beria or Pol Pot et al?

    GN: I'm told that Stalin's style was serviceable but inelegant, and hardly the equal of Lenin's or Trotsky's (though he was widely admired as a poet well before he had assumed the name Stalin). Mussolini's style was forceful, simple and laced with classical references; it secured his reputation as a journalist before his rise to power.

  31. Rubrick said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    Curious coincidence that this segment ran after an interview with Queen's Brian May, during which the "bismillah" segment of Bohemian Rhapsody was played.

  32. Janice Byer said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Word-sniping would seem to be driven by a desire to discredit a speaker. This I intuit from how easily we ignore others' language errors, so long as we value points made. It's telling that within threads under political blogs, comments targeting language errors appear only to do so in conjunction with further attempts to discredit people's points.

    It goes without saying, the above doesn't apply to us on Language Log, where the point is language errors and such :)

  33. PaulB said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

    Some readers may be unfamiliar with Linton Kwesi Johnson's song "Di Black Petty Booshwah", recorded in 1980.

    Be that as it may, the problem with Sarah Palin's political utterances is not her occasional misuse or invention of words. And it's a tactical mistake by her opponents to attack her for it, since no one's extemporaneous use of language is perfect.

  34. John Cowan said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    Whether you think refudiate makes sense partly depends on whether you accept refute 'deny', a semantic shift of the last hundred years or so.

    But what is this, people? Malaprop for malapropism? The first word refers only to Mrs. Malaprop (and presumably her deceased husband).

    GN: The OED's first cite for this use of malaprop is from Byron — it's also found in DeQuincey, Pater, H. W. Fowler, and Wilson Follett.

  35. Michael said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

    Say what you like about Palin (whom I dislike). What about Obama and the corpse-mun? Janice Bryer is spot on.

  36. Rodger C said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 8:50 am

    Obama's "corpse-mun" blunder isn't significant as an example of linguistic incompetence; it's significant as reflecting that he didn't grow up as a member of the actual population that does things.

  37. Richard said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    Rodger:
    Huh?

    Unless you're trying to say that "the actual population that does things" only consists of those folks who are in some way associated with the military, I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Plenty of people "do things" while not knowing how to pronounce "corpsman". To give one example, most of the folks who built and are building up Silicon Valley probably wouldn't know the correct pronunciation (never coming close to the military & all).

    Now, you could say that you'd expect the Commander-in-Chief to know more about the military (just as I'd expect a presidential-candidate-wannabe like Palin to know more about foreign affairs), but that wasn't what you said. Rather, your argument sounds like the "he's not a Hard-working Real American like us Hard-working Real Americans" demagoguery that's now standard fare for the GOP.

  38. DRK said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    The thing about "refudiate" that is particularly annoying is that Palin clearly just meant "repudiate", and got it wrong. She does not want Muslims to refute the claims of the anti-Cordoba community center people, she just wants Muslims to agree with her or shut up. She is not inviting dialogue on this topic, which is what a usage of "refute" in this context would imply.

  39. Rodger C said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    @Richard: Let me assure you that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Republican. In fact I'm decidedly to the left of the administration on most issues. I anticipated this sort of reaction when I realized I hadn't put "the actual population that does things" in ironic quotes or Portentous Christopher Robin Capitals. (By the way, is there an actual name for that practice?) But as the son of a welder–the kind of person the Democratic Party has been hemorrhaging ever since the disastrous "reforms" of post-1968 put it into the hands of the richest members of the victim tribes, coordinated by the technocratic new class, of which Obama is so blatantly a paid-up member–it's precisely that I'd like to see the hemorrhaging reversed. For similar thoughts on the makeup of the current administration, you might want to look at Frank Rich's article in the latest issue of that notorious right-wing rag, the New York Review of Books. At any rate, when the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces can't say "corpsman," meaning he's never known one or talked about them, this is a Bush-Senior-and-the-bar-code-reader moment.

    May we return to the topic now? I'm out of breath.

  40. Richard said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    "(By the way, is there an actual name for that practice?)"

    German.

    In any case, we agree that it shows his familiarity with the military (or lack of).

  41. Joyce Melton said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

    Palin's vapidity is not just in her lexical errors; subtract the jingoistic tub-thumping in her public appearances and all that is left is the concealed contempt for true morality that rots her soul.

    She is a gooney bird around the neck of the Republican party; a jester to fools; a dingleberry on the ass of politics and I don't have the time or room here to tell you what I really think of her.

    Apologia for her clumsy speechifying by comparing her mistakes to those of her betters ignores many things, not least of which is that quote from someone who could deliver a speech, "Quantity has a quality all its own."

    Since someone up above mentioned not being a Republican, I will say here that I am, and I consider myself a moderate on the conservative side. Properly valued, that's what makes Palin so truly horrifying to me.

  42. Richard said,

    August 6, 2010 @ 11:23 am

    Nice little summary of Palin:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2262822/

    I still don't get why so many people like Palin, or rather, I understand the anti-elitisim, but why can't they find a standard-bearer who's not so ignorant & stupid?

  43. hanmeng said,

    August 8, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    Yes, just because someone is glib is not necessarily a reason to support them. I get frustrated with discussions of debates between politicians, because so often the person crowned the winner is really just a better rhetorician. Similarly, I was once on a committee evaluating two candidates for a professional position, and one of sounded very good during her interview. She wasn't so good at her job, though.

    On the other hand, it's not so good when your preferred candidate can't present a decent oral argument and suffers from verbal ticks that make you wince.

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