February 03, 2004

Fight fiercely, Democrats

The right-column headline of the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday bore the headline

Fierce battle to stop Kerry

I suppose only someone as politically naive as, say, a grammarian (one such as I) would even imagine that the Democratic presidential hopefuls might find ways of behaving that would get the headline writers clutching for phrases like "Constructive discussion homes in on choice of Kerry". But it is not to be.

The Republicans' plan for November: put up an anointed leader, unchallenged in any primary, and win. The Democrats' plan: now that Dean has been humiliated (guilty of a linguistic crime: hoarse inspirational shouting and hollering while not being an African American), divide time between two key tasks: (1) working out how to discredit Kerry, and (2) planning the destruction of nice-guy Edwards should he manage to surge ahead after South Carolina ("Bitter struggle to tear Edwards to pieces before Michigan", the headline will read). A wonderful bon mot sprang to mind as I looked at the headline, one that I have seen attributed to Will Rogers. "I belong to no organized political party", he is reputed to have said. "I'm a Democrat."

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at February 3, 2004 03:27 PM