I’d Never Win a Presidential Election 4: I Don’t Speak in a Washington Dialect

I’ve already batted this back and forth with my friends and fellow-bloggers Farmer and with El Ick with regards to abortion policy, but I repeat that I refuse to call myself pro-life or pro-choice.  As far as I can tell, just about everybody wants people to have choices, and relatively few want everybody dead. So as far as I can tell, most people are pro-life and pro-choice insofar as those words mean anything. But people sharply disagree about abortion, so I’m inclined to call one position pro-abortion and one anti-abortion. That just seems more honest. I realize that some people, in addition to being anti-abortion, are also anti-death penalty. That’s fine; that means those people have thought about two policy questions. And I realize that people who want to keep abortion as readily available as possible don’t want to mandate abortions but to render the choice available to the individual, and that’s fine: people who are pro-marijuana don’t want to make everybody smoke it, and people who are pro-state-execution don’t want to execute everybody, just to give courts the choice of whom to execute. So I’d like to keep the talk about the policy at hand and dispose with the obscure slogans.

I’m not inclined to claim some sort of Orwellian purity of language for myself, but I do think that political talk should be more honest than it is, and I realize that such honesty would not paint as rosy a picture of my policies as a campaign manager would want. If something is going to cost money, I’d just as soon say it’ll cost money, and if I want to make it part of the national debt rather than pay for it on the spot (that’s not always a bad idea, but certain elephantine politicians do seem to get addicted to it), I’d say that the people would be paying it off later rather than congratulating myself for “cutting taxes” in any absolute sense. And by no means would I be able to label an opponent (or an opponent’s supporters) “politically correct,” one of the most vicious cuss-words of television politics. Having read up on the phrase’s origins in Communist China and the deadly weight of the phrase in its earliest uses, I just couldn’t take it that lightly.  That’s just the tip of the Washington-speak iceberg, but you get the point.


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