Thursday, August 28, 2008

Defining McCain

You've read about McCain's new 'prickly' Time magazine interview, right? A big point was McCain's refusal to define 'honor', here:
Time: There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
McCain: Read it in my books.
T: I've read your books.
M: No, I'm not going to define it.
T: But honor in politics?
M: I defined it in five books.* Read my books.
As TPM reacts to it:
This is pretty interesting, because in many ways the word "honor" is central to McCain's political persona and his campaign's efforts to draw a contrast with Obama.
McCain has repeatedly said that our goal in Iraq is for the troops to return with "honor." The McCain campaign's main premise has been to suggest that his motives are honorable while his opponent's are suspect. He's repeatedly promised an honorable campaign, too -- even as his campaign regularly accuses Obama of treason.

So asking McCain to define "honor" seems like a fair question.
But my question is about the horse race aspect of things, not the substance: Will this cost McCain votes among the logophiles we know are out there? Face it, he hates words and meanings.

Of course, here's the guts of the Merriam-Webster definition and it IS pretty complicated:

*I'm waiting for somebody to report on what those books say about 'honor'.

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