Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Wrong Metaphor

Marc Ambinder posts a letter Mark Salter has written about Obama and his campaign. Salter claims that Obama

used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.

We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is.

Salter's claim would be true if Obama had said that McCain were "losing his marbles." But to lose one's bearings means to be off course, having lost direction, or to be uncertain about one's relative geographic position. Old people don't lose their bearings. Pilots do. If Salter had asked McCain first, he probably would have known that.

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