Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

Turns out America likes Edwards less than I do

If y’all will recall, I experienced an unexpected, and not entirely pleasant, moment in the national spotlight back in 2007 when I wrote a column headlined, “Why I see John Edwards as a big phony.”

I caught a lot of heat about it at the time. I later had the gratification of having many people tell me I’d been right all along, even though what was learned about him later was somewhat different from what I was accusing him of. Nevertheless, all of it spoke to his general failure to be what he represented himself to be.

But even I, who first started raising questions about the guy in 2003, was slightly started to read this this morning, as Edwards’ trial started:

(CBS News) With opening arguments in the trial of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards set to begin on on Monday, a CBS News/New York Times poll shows that public opinion of him has plummeted since he was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007. Now, he is now most known for cheating on his wife.

The CBS/NYT poll reveals that only 3 percent of those polled hold a favorable view of Edwards, who has been charged with misusing campaign funds. That is down from 30 percent in 2007 when he was running for the Democratic nomination, which is also the last time the question was asked among registered voters.

Since 2007, Edwards’ unfavorable ratings have risen eleven points, from 30 percent to 41 percent today. However, half of those polled are undecided or don’t have an opinion of Edwards.

Women, however, especially dislike Edwards, with just 2 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably…

And who can blame them?

But 2 percent? It almost makes me feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

Forgive me for intrusinating on your day with a word about Twinspeak

My three youngest granddaughters, in an intrusination-free moment.

Saturday night, we kept all three of our youngest granddaughters. Sunday morning, I was recuperating on the couch, just barely dozing, while the Twins played a few feet away from me.

I was awakened by a sudden loud dispute, as Twin B got frustrated with her sister for grabbing at some toys she was playing with.

“Stop intrusinating me!” she cried.

I lifted my head to look in that direction in wonder: “What did you say?”

Twin A, speaking as one would to a hard-of-hearing elder, explained, “She said to stop intrusinating her.” Like, what did you think she said?

OK, I said. Thank you.

I suppose the word — which I’m guessing is kin to both “intrude” and “insinuate,” and perhaps “excruciating” — if fine, as long as the one to whom it is spoken understands. Which she did.

The twins are 4 now.

Rawl defends Georgia dredging decision

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President Otis Rawl — who two years ago led his organization to make the unprecedented move of endorsing Vincent Sheheen for governor — today stuck up for Nikki Haley for something virtually no one at the State House will defend her on.

Speaking to the Columbia Rotary Club, he said the DHEC decision allowing Georgia to deepen the way to the port of Savannah was not a game-changer, and not a problem, for South Carolina in the long term.

In saying this, he was partly reflecting the wishes of multistate members who like the idea of competition between ports to keep costs down. But he also said it was a competition that Charleston, and South Carolina, would win.

To start with, he said, the proposed work would only deepen the Georgia port to 48 feet, compared to Charleston’s 52 — and that those four feet made a big difference. Further, he said that if South Carolina makes the right moves (always a huge caveat, but he seemed optimistic) we are well-positioned to become the entry point for the world to the Southeast, and an ever-greater distribution hub. One of the things SC has to get right — opening up the “parking lot” that I-26 has become at key times between Charleston and Columbia.

Otis agreed with me that this stance makes him a lonely guy over at the State House, where both houses almost unanimously rebuked the governor for, as many members would have it, selling out South Carolina to Georgia. Aside from Otis, only Cindi Scoppe has raised questions that challenge that conventional wisdom.

Now, lest you think ol’ Otie has gone soft on the Sanford/Haley wing of the GOP, he went on to say that one of the things business and political leaders must do to help build the SC economy is to refute, challenge and combat the Big Lie that our public schools are among the worst in the country. Because who in the world would want to invest in a state like that?

Not that we’re where we want to be, but as Otie pointed out, on realistic measures of quality, SC is more likely to rank in the low 30s. Which may not be fantastic, but is a far cry from “Thank God for Mississippi.”

On the whole, a fine set of assumption-challenging points from today’s Rotary speaker…

Jon Huntsman marvels at inadequacy of 2012 presidential field, compares GOP to Chicoms

In this file photo from last summer, Henry McMaster points to the one GOP presidential candidate who might have impressed Jon Huntsman.

Just ran across this over at HuffPost:

Jon Huntsman leveled harsh criticism at his party on Sunday evening, BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller reported, comparing the Republican Party to communist China and questioning the strength of this year’s presidential field.

During an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Huntsman spoke candidly about his party’s flaws, lamenting the Republican National Committee’s decision to rescind an invitation to a major fundraising event after Huntsman called for a third-party candidate to enter the race.

“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman, a former Utah governor who dropped out of the GOP primary in January, served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.

He also criticized the Republican candidates’ foreign policy stances, particularly in regard to China.

“I don’t know what world these people are living in,” Huntsman said…

Huntsman also spoke on Sunday about his presidential candidacy, revealing that he was less than impressed by his fellow candidates when he attended his first debate in August.

“Is this the best we could do?” Huntsman said he asked himself.

Turns out that Huntsman, whose SC followers largely did not follow his lead in endorsing Mitt Romney when he dropped out, is also rather lukewarm on his fellow Mormon.

Hopefully, they’ll let us use the word this way

Stan Dubinsky brings to my attention this attempt by a grammarian to defend ordinary folks’ most common use of “hopefully” as something less than a mortal sin. It’s a dense piece, for something so short, but here are some relevant bits:

Many adverbs are used as manner adjunctsHe saw her clearly uses clearly as a modifier specifying the manner of the seeing. Some are used as what The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls modal adjunctsnecessarily and possiblybeing the most basic and familiar ones. Clearly happens to have both a manner use and a modal use: Clearly he saw her is an example of the latter (modal adjuncts are often placed at the beginning of the clause; notice that this sentence doesn’t comment on the clarity of the glimpse, it says that given the evidence it’s indubitable that he saw her)…

With truly extreme caution, the AP Style Guide nonetheless waited a decent further interval: Its editors let more than a quarter of a century go by before they finally risked accepting what had now been normal Standard English usage for a lifetime. On April 17, 2012, they announced correctly that the modal-adjunct use of hopefully is not a grammatical error.

And people acted as if the sky was falling. “The barbarians have done it, finally infiltrated a remaining bastion of order in a linguistic wasteland,” wrote an overheated (and since then, overquoted) Monica Hesse in The Washington Post on April 18. (Perhaps she wrote ironically, but it doesn’t look like it.)

Barbarians? A single additional use of a single adverb undergoes a tiny expansion in its uses, fully in line with normal developments in the history of English syntax. No threat of ambiguity arises (I have never seen a case in which it was in doubt whether hopefullywas intended as a manner adjunct or a modal adjunct). And when AP makes a small move, decades late, toward acceptance of an easily accessible fact about how English speakers employ a word, it means our language is being reduced to a “wasteland”?

The author, Geoffrey Pullum, blames the late usage specialist Wilson Follett for inspiring “Five Decades of Foolishness” over the common usage.

I’ve always been able to see that the use of “hopefully” was structurally problematic, but I’ve also known that it communicates clearly and concisely. Which is generally seen as a virtue.