September 27th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note; political language; the first debate...

I watched the first presidential debate last night -- and [except from an occasional linguist] have never heard any endless arrogant spew that offended me as much as John McCain's language did. I couldn't believe that he was standing there saying over and over and over again that Senator Obama "just doesn't understand X" and "just doesn't get Y," with that ghastly condescending smirk on his face. I couldn't believe that he thought it was appropriate to drag in chunk after chunk of his standard stump speech, which the public already knows by heart. I couldn't believe he thought it was appropriate for him to throw in a line about how proud he was of his VP choice. I have never heard so much over-the-top bragging in all my life [except from an occasional linguist]. The one thing that McCain made absolutely clear was how blessed he felt we peasants in the audience were that he had deigned to appear and share his perceptions with us. And when Patrick Buchanan announced after the debate that those stump-speech chunks had gone straight to everybody's gut and that McCain had won the debate "ten rounds to five," I turned off the television. Just in time to have to try to listen politely to my husband's announcement that Buchanan was right because Obama hadn't responded to every one of those "Senator Obama just doesn't understand" lines by counterattacking at the top of his lungs with something equally offensive.

I know that not all of you were watching -- and I understand that. But I'd be very interested in the reactions of those of you who did watch.