This political season means full employment for pundits, opinion givers, strategists and soothsayers, on cable television and via social media. It’s interesting to watch the catch phrases, verbal crutches and tics speakers and writers use, which often, when examined, make little or no sense. We all do it.
Donald Trump is fond of saying, “That I can tell you.” Does that mean he’s sitting on the real bombshells?
Hillary Clinton, in her broadside against “half” of Trump supporters whom she said were a “basket of deplorables,” actually invented what appears to be a new word — “generalistic.”
Clinton said, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” Hey, “deplorables” we get. Water’s wet, the sky is blue. Republican politicians — and their supporters — are racist, sexist and homophobic, and they smell really, really bad. Clinton added: “And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
Well, before Trump arrived on the political scene, then-Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, now interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, said the GOP has “a white-boy attitude.” Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., accused then-President George W. Bush of an intentionally sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina because he wanted blacks to leave Louisiana to ensure it remained a red state. Frank called it “ethnic cleansing by inaction.” Again, Democratic Politics 101.
But, “generalistic”? Inventing new words? Good, Lord! That just takes the normal political vitriolic combat to a new low. Now, we’ve come to expect verbal sloppiness from Trump. But Clinton is an Ivy-League-educated lawyer, and she’s set the bar higher while consistently accusing Trump of lacking the temperament, judgment and knowledge to be president. Now Trump, in the opinion of his detractors, has demeaned Mexicans, a captured veteran, women, Muslims, the handicapped and others. But he has scrupulously avoided the use of the word “generalistic.” For that alone he might carry a few swing states.
Now, while we’re at it, do we need a presidential executive order from our next president to address following:
Why do people say “In other words”? How about getting it right the first time?
Why do people say “Not to change the subject” and then proceed to change the subject?
Why do people say they “could care less” when they really mean the exact opposite?
Why do people say, “Let me be perfectly honest”? Did I stop you?
Why do people say, “If you will”? Does it mean they’d shut up if you replied, “Now that you mention it, no, I believe I won’t”?
Why do people say, “Here’s what I think”? I certainly hope it’s what you think. After all, I am talking to … you.
Why do people say, “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news”? Doesn’t everybody?
Why do people say, “Well, that’s what you think!” Of course it is. Does it look like Karl Rove is standing here feeding me lines? If I were giving you your opinion — one of us wouldn’t need to be here.
Why do people say they “don’t mean to interrupt” and then proceed to interrupt?
Why do people start a sentence with the words “I mean”? Can we stipulate that you do, in fact, mean it — because the person who’s speaking is … you?
Why do people say “At the end of the day” — as opposed to at the end of the month, year or decade? Is it a matter of short attention spans?
Why do people say, “Let me be candid”? What, did a judge place you under a restraining order? Permission granted!
Why do people call television the “boob tube” and then gripe, moan and whine that they can’t find anything good to watch?
Why do people say, “Let me be as clear as I can”? Permission granted, but I want 10 pushups if you fall short.
Why do people say, “He’s getting on my last nerve”? And just where exactly is that? On second thought, never mind, we’d rather not know.
Why do people say, “He was lying through his teeth”? As opposed to what? Lying through his butt cheeks?
Why do people say, “Silly me. I’m a complete idiot”? And you have to restrain yourself to keep from saying, “I was just thinking the same thing.”
Is it November yet?
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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.
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