Parsing the President

PARSING THE PRESIDENT….Megan McArdle has a warning for the president’s critics:

When the president’s critics are reduced to quibbling over grammar, the battle is lost. This scandal may hurt the president, as the clever arguments about the meaning of the word “is” hurt Clinton. But I think it has far greater potential to damage the opposition, who, by engaging in such arguments, make themselves look like pettifogging quibblers out to injure the president by any means necessary.

I think there’s some truth to this. A certain amount of guffawing over the administration’s hyper-technical word parsing is certainly justified, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that their “explanations” for the uranium gaffe seem to change almost hourly. However, we should all keep in mind that the primary issue is the overall pattern they have shown of justifying a preemptive war on what now looks like very dubious intelligence. That’s a real issue, it’s an important issue, and it should stay front and center.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation