January 25th, 2006

“No argument can succeed in American politics if it contains a subjunctive.”

This is not a probabilistic but an infallibly true proposition. It’s the greatest advance in social science since Gresham’s Law, and probably an easy corollary thereof.

You heard it here first: please spell my name right.

P.S.: I thought of this when reflecting on the wiretap debate. The Administration never says the people it’s spying on might be terrorists, or that it would be a good idea to tap their phones if they were terrorists. They ARE terrorists, the whole policy is a program for keeping track of terrorists, and anyone who opposes it is easy on terrorists. Conversely, imagine Democrats trying to say that the power “might” be abused: “You’re accusing the President of dirty tricks! Where’s the proof, you paranoid Deaniac?”

UPDATE: reader Ed Whitney of Denver writes:

Shouldn’t that be “No argument can succeed in American politics if it contain a subjunctive”?

An we go down that road, well, …

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