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January 20, 2012


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Interesting survey and analysis--thanks.

In the spring of 2009, when the first version of Obama's health insurance legislation was introduced, a group I belong to (rank-and-file railroaders, which is what I was before retiring) started getting emails from a member who hadn't previously been heard from. She was very distressed about "death panels" and "government health care" and didn't seem to grasp the difference between care and insurance, which turns out to be a widespread confusion; she also kept using the phrase "take our country back." Along with the ambiguous "our," the "take… back" construction got my attention, because it seemed to ignore the fact that we had just had an election and the people who won had barely had a chance to hang up their coats and find the washroom. But the odd timing may just mean that this was a return of a fairly old theme on the American Right: "they" have captured control while "we" were distracted or in disarray, so the most urgent task must be to restore [NB] the right order of things. I was amazed to learn recently that the John Birch Society is still doing business at the old stand; you'd think they would have been forcibly suppressed during the two terms of Eisenhower the Communist agent, or alternatively that with the collapse of the Soviet Union they would congratulate themselves and take up golf, but apparently the Republic can exist on the knife edge between survival and destruction for nearly sixty years without tipping either way.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Santorum is the only candidate who uses a declarative sentence fragment as his slogan." Paul and Romney's slogans are clearly imperatives, but what about Gingrich's "Rebuilding the America We Love"? Since they're not complete sentences, it's hard to classify their grammatical mood (declarative, imperative, or interrogative) with any real certainty, but I don't see what makes "The Courage to Fight for America" any more declarative than "Rebuilding the America We Love."

@Q. Pheevr: Point taken.

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