Weekend Word Wrap: Picking a candidate based on grammar?

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I'll tell you what: if I were President, I'd make sure the subjunctive doesn't get left behind. Just look what's going on these days in the news.

now.ferraro.jpgA lot has been said about Geraldine Ferarro's recent gaffe. And while the pundits continue to volley this one back and forth—"She's a racist," "She meant nothing by it," "She blah, blah, blah"—I'd like to take issue with her statement on another front. I mean, honestly people, what is the deal with major politicians, heads of state and world leaders dissing the subjunctive? It's one thing for a bubble-gum pop singer to question What if God Was One of Us? but how Geraldine Ferarro doesn't know the difference between was/were is beyond me.

And here's the thing that really gets me: she missed the subjunctive not once, but TWICE. First she said, "If Obama was a white man," and then moments later she said, "And if he was a woman"¦"

obama_sc_04_01_2007-731285.jpgOf course, if you're looking to Obama himself for some grammatical correctness, freak on this little gaffe I heard on the news the other day when Hillary's campaign was suggesting he'd make a good Vice Pres: "I don't know how somebody who is second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who is in first place"¦If I was in second place I could understand it. But I'm in first place right now"¦"
Honestly. Maybe he deserves to be in second place with such a statement?

And, hey, while we're on the subject, turns out McCain has a was/were problem, too. Remember all that hullabaloo a few weeks ago about Obama's campaign financing if he wound up getting the nomination? Look what McCain said:

mccain1.jpg"I made the commitment to the American people that if I was the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well."

My ears bleed every time I hear it. And while I'm not the biggest Hilary supporter on the planet (didn't vote for her), perhaps I should rethink my position because at least she knows when to employ the subjunctive:

hillary1.jpg"Once one of us has the nomination there will be a great effort to unify the Democratic party and we will do so, because, remember I have a lot of supporters who have voted for me in very large numbers and I would expect them to support Senator Obama if he were the nominee"¦"

Ahhhh, now that's a candidate with command of the language. If she doesn't get the commander-in-chief nod, at least there's that.

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March 20, 2008 - 11:31pm
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