Watch this interview with Tim Pawlenty, and ask yourself: before Palin, would the Governor have used this type of construction?
- “Steppin’ on us…”
- “Pushin’ us to the side…”
- “Gettin’ foreclosed on…”
Or would he have resisted the urge to truncate his gerunds? Notice that as he gets into it, Pawlenty drops the folksy phraseology, and starts using words commensurate with his likely intelligence, like “outlay.” Hmm.
Another rhetorical trick, again of arguably recent provenance: the conflation of the direction with the end. Jon Stewart asks if Pawlenty thinks that (as the GOP regularly insists) regulation equates to tyranny; Pawlenty answers that, well, regulation tends in the direction of tyranny, because it limits choices: “it is a continuum,” he says, and “we’re moving down [the continuum].” Well, sure. But that’s not an answer, is it?
And to make the stronger version of Stewart’s argument, “conflating the trend with the end” (my phrase) isn’t just bad because it’s inflammatory rhetoric; it’s bad because it’s a conversation ender, a surefire way to cut off all possibility of compromise. If regulation is tyranny, rather than an ordinary act that, taken to an unlikely extreme not here indicated, might become tyranny in the hands of the wrong leader, Pawlenty and his partisans are morally obligated to fight for every inch of political ground, because compromise on regulatory solutions is an immoral act. You can’t negotiate with someone convinced that the slightest concession approximates the death of democracy; radicalization is the natural result of this worldview.
Pawlenty would simultaneously set up a game of chicken, and tie his side’s hands to the wheel; and that would be fine, except the crash, in the form of, say, unregulated capital markets, could kill us all.