Friday, August 17, 2007

How to say "I quit" in Politician

I've long marveled at Deborah Tannen. She started writing 'relationship' books with a language angle when I figured pop psychology stuff was dead, and the language angle seemed pretty weak. But she has been phenomenally successful at creating a whole genre of books.

It's not terribly surprising that she weighed in on Karl Rove's hilarious declaration that he was leaving the White House "to spend more time with his family". And she's sure right about euphemisms as "cultural lubricant", although that turn of phrase sounds a little racy for this staid little blog. But of course it was not so much a euphemism as a screaming lie: Got kids at home to hang out with? OK, I might buy it. But his kid is in college. A little late there, Karl.

Even so, the whole family-values thing is ruined by Rove's lashing out at most of the nation (e.g., here). As Wonkette rightly notes with regard to Denny Hastert, this seems to be a trend:
But as each sore loser Republican announces their ignoble retreat from politics in this grim summer, they are required to give interviews consisting of bitter attacks on American citizens for voting them out of power.
Update, 5:00 pm: NPR is running a piece on the laundry list of such people — Hastert, Rove, LaHood, Pryce. A lot of full-family dinner tables from the Heartland to Texas.

Update, Saturday 5:00 am: In a bit of downright tragic irony, the one person retreating now from Washington who could without question say he's going to spend more time with his family specifically did not say that: Bush press secretary Tony Snow says he can't scrape by on a mere $168K, see here. Snow had colon cancer; it has returned and he's in chemo. Under the circumstances, he didn't need to explain anything.


Anonymous said...

Wait a minute ... Tannen says that Rove was using "cultural lubricant"? Many Dems insist that he never used any lubricant.

Mr. Verb said...