Everything Language and Grammar

McCain Condescension

Posted by languageandgrammar on October 16, 2008

Senator John McCain accurately made the point in the final presidential debate last night that you need to look closely at the words people use. He did it in reference to a point about Senator Barack Obama, but I’ll do it in reference to McCain.

McCain stated that he was proud of his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin. Being proud of Sarah Palin is much different from being proud to have Sarah Palin as my running mate. Being proud of Sarah Palin is a sign of superiority, such as a parent is proud of a child who does well in school. The child did well, and the parent, who is in large part still responsible for child’s action, feels that the child’s success is a reflection of the parent. And that’s largely true for children. It’s appropriate be proud of a child’s accomplishment to some degree. Sarah Palin, of course, is not in the same situation as a child; she is as qualifed to be President of the United States as John McCain is; otherwise, she would not have been selected to be his Vice Presidential nominee. She is not in need of his approval; she is his peer.

In contrast, being proud to share the ticket with someone places the other person on the same level, not a level below. The ticket, of which we are both a part, is something we, together, can take pride in. While the presidential candidate has a higher place on the ticket, it is still a team.

There is a huge difference in being proud of someone and taking pride in a shared accomplishment, and if the McCain campaign wishes Palin to be treated with respect, perhaps it should start with McCain talking about her as if she were his equal.

–Paul

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2 Responses to “McCain Condescension”

  1. Marvelous said

    I am comforted, a little, that others notice the details. There was a lot more in McCain’s words that I hope all would notice. I guess most people don’t look in the mirror. I have lost any hint of respect for the man in recent months, all from his own doing.

  2. KateP said

    The contrast between what Obama said about his running mate and what McCain said about his was striking. Thanks for a thought-provoking commentary on McCain’s condescension toward Palin. I was offended by McCain’s sneering, disrespectful attitude toward Obama throughout this debate.

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