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Dear Senator McCain:

Repeatedly calling me and everyone else in the United States "my friends" is extremely annoying. In part, it's just an irritating phrase. Beyond that, I'm not your friend. I don't know you, and, from what I know of you, I don't even really like you. Sorry to focus on such superficialities when the world economy is going to Hell, but you probably lost more votes with your constant repitition of "my friends" than from anything Obama said.

Sincerely,

David B.

Angus:
Agreed, he way overuses it. It might be sad to think so, but I think there is a nontrivial portion of the population that will vote on style without much thought to issues. In short, they'll vote for the least annoying person.
10.8.2008 12:14am
LM (mail):
Dear Senator McCain:

Repeatedly calling me and everyone else in the United States "my friends" is extremely annoying. In part, it's just an irritating phrase. Beyond that, I'm not your friend. I don't know you, and, from what I know of you, I don't even really like you. Sorry to focus on such superficialities when the world economy is going to Hell, but you probably lost more votes with your constant repitition of "my friends" than from anything Obama said.

Sincerely
Love,

David B.
10.8.2008 12:16am
John (mail):
David, try the decaf for the next debate.
10.8.2008 12:16am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Believe it or not, I find Obama significantly less annoying than McCain.
10.8.2008 12:17am
TerrencePhilip:
I agree, DB!

Dear Senator McCain:

I'm not your friend, pal.

Your chum,

Terrencephilip
10.8.2008 12:18am
hawkins:
What an awkward set up--different than what I think of as the typical town hall. Did no favors for McCain either. Not meaning to be rude, but he looked like a lost senile grandfather up there.
10.8.2008 12:19am
gwinje:
Can sign your letter?
10.8.2008 12:19am
FantasiaWHT:
Wow, glad to know that politeness ticks people off so much.
10.8.2008 12:19am
gwinje:
whoops, [I]
10.8.2008 12:20am
gerbilsbite:
It reminds me of watching "Pulp Fiction" on network T.V., when they loop out all the dirty words.
10.8.2008 12:20am
theculturedredneck (mail):
my wife, who rarely watches politically-oriented television, made the same remark.
10.8.2008 12:20am
DavidBernstein (mail):

"Wow, glad to know that politeness ticks people off so much."
Yeah, butya know, I am from New Yawk, so phony politeness don't do it foh me.
10.8.2008 12:21am
just me (mail):
But in his defense I don't recall him using the word "maverick" a single time.

I think Obama looked smug though. It wasn't what he said, but the way he looked when McCain was saying the things he said.

I also thought Obama's little mini tantrum when Brokaw didn't let him have more time to spout more talking points in defense against the mean old guy looked pretty childish. But maybe some out there will think it looked presidential.
10.8.2008 12:24am
neurodoc:
Believe it or not, I find Obama significantly less annoying than McCain.
You will be voting for the one you find less annoying? Or, in the end that won't determine how you cast your vote?
10.8.2008 12:25am
Brian G (mail) (www):
I hate that he says that too. But I am not going to vote for a Socialist because of it.
10.8.2008 12:28am
JB:
Just Me,
I agree, that was a Debate 101 mistake. In his defense, McCain later on made a similar error. In fact, I think both candidates would have preferred less-assertive moderation.

(It seems to me that rather a lot of the time, one candidate got one question and the other didn't get the chance to respond. Being an Obama supporter, I noticed Obama not getting to respond to McCain questions first, but realizing my bias I then noticed McCain being cut off as well).
10.8.2008 12:32am
Joshua:
Meh. I wasn't particularly put off by McCain's choice of words. And at least it was in keeping with the image of geniality that McCain has been trying to project during these debates.

On the other hand, some folks would argue that clinging to that image of geniality, when he should be going on a no-holds-barred attack, is exactly what's costing McCain the election. And I would be one of those folks.
10.8.2008 12:32am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Hey TerrencePhilip:

"I'm not your pal, guy"

In case you never saw this, check this out.
10.8.2008 12:33am
David Warner:
He's obviously plagiarizing Mark Antony!

I actually find all four candidates more likable than the four on offer last time.

Maybe McCain is just signaling that he's a tit-for-tat enthusiast.

Don't give in to the Stockholm Syndrome, David!
10.8.2008 12:38am
Eric Muller (www):
Worst McCain moment: when he referred to Obama as "that one," with a short gesture in Obama's direction but not looking at him.

Contempt does not well suit any presidential candidate. Ever.
10.8.2008 12:39am
Hugo's GiantTortilla (mail):
Wow, is it high school night on VC? Not quite the type post I'm use to on here.
10.8.2008 12:40am
just me (mail):
I don't think I noticed that no one got a chance to respond, but it does appear the first guy to answer was taking more time than allotted. Brokaw did a poor job of moderation, but I also found the inability to stick to the allotted time and Brokaw's attempts to reign it in-though weak at times distracting.

Towards the end of the debate I found myself watching the lights to see if they stopped before it turned red, when the lights were in the camera angle. That probably doesn't bode well for either candidate.
10.8.2008 12:40am
Dave N (mail):
The television show Frasier once had an episode where the characters were sitting around watching TV and having a drink every time they heard the word "veneer."

I propose that this game could be transposed to the Presidential debates by people taking a drink every time John McCain says, "my friends."
10.8.2008 12:42am
skyywise (mail):
Moreso, the creepy old pedophile laugh and jokes that fell flat are not making me want to be his friend.
10.8.2008 12:44am
Cornellian (mail):
Was it just me or did McCain sound like he was out of breath during much of the debate?
10.8.2008 12:44am
Angus:
Difference between the 3 debates on time issue:

Debate #1: Lehrer ignored timed responses and encouraged the two to ask each other questions. Win!

Debate #2: Palin and Biden (Biden!!) both made an effort to stop talking when their time was up.

Debate #3: Brokaw threw a hissy fit when the two went over time and refused to follow his plan.

Current ranking of moderators:
1) Jim Lehrer
2) Gwen Ilfill
999) Tom Brokaw
10.8.2008 12:45am
LM (mail):
BTW, I agree that the "my friend" thing is wearing real thin. I suspect McCain habituated that bit of customary Senatorial insincerity because it suits his political need to disguise his barely submerged rage. I'd like it better if he spoke his mind, but that would disqualify him with a lot of voters who, unlike DB and me, aren't New Yorkers. Not that it would matter. I like him anyway, and either way I'd still vote for the islamo-fascist defeatocratic marxist.
10.8.2008 12:46am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Hearing that debate made me despair.
10.8.2008 12:46am
Angus:
I propose that this game could be transposed to the Presidential debates by people taking a drink every time John McCain says, "my friends."


Emergency rooms everywhere would be flooded with alcohol poisoning.
10.8.2008 12:46am
MM:
This is one of the funniest things I've read on Volokh. I've found some of the recent posts on the presidential race to be tedious, but this was perfect. Get Bernstein a job at the Onion!
10.8.2008 12:48am
b:

Contempt does not well suit any presidential candidate. Ever.


nonsense. a presidential candidate should show contempt for that which is contemptible.
10.8.2008 12:49am
PC:
Brian G: But I am not going to vote for a Socialist because of it.

So after Bush starts nationalizing everything under the sun and McCain says he's going to buy everyone's mortgage, Obama is the socialist?

Joshua: On the other hand, some folks would argue that clinging to that image of geniality, when he should be going on a no-holds-barred attack, is exactly what's costing McCain the election.

The Secret Service is investigating one of those no-holds-barred attacks.
10.8.2008 12:49am
Borealis (mail):
McCain has been saying "my friend" for thirty years. Now, thirty days before an election, it bothers the VC? Let's see if anyone can find a more trivial idea to post.
10.8.2008 12:52am
Henry679 (mail):
Don't be mean to McCain--he's gonna buy up my mortgage.

It is pretty bad when you have to hope a candidate is lying his ass off.
10.8.2008 12:53am
David Warner:
Jim,

"Hearing that debate made me despair."

Hope's putative audacity does not make despair any more prudent...
10.8.2008 12:56am
tomas84:
Interesting "debate" and interesting election. We have a choice between a phoney doddering ass and a phoney unhealthy-looking younger ass.

Why has nobody commented on the poor example that cigarette-smoking Sen. Obama sets for today's African-American youth?

And why haven't the media printed photographs of his cigarette smoking (they're certainly widely available)?

To those who would doubt my fairness, let's also print photos of the oldster's torture wounds inflicted on him by the Vietnamese.
10.8.2008 12:56am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Dear Senator McCain:

The root cause of our country's financial problems is excessive public and private sector debt. In a word, we are broke. Your solution: more debt.

Sincerely,

A non-frien
10.8.2008 12:57am
SATA_Interface:
Dave, we did that for the VP debate. Had to sleep on my friend's couch; not a pretty sight. Very entertaining however. Especially combining beer goggles with Palin winks...
10.8.2008 12:58am
Psalm91 (mail):
"I hate that he says that too. But I am not going to vote for a Socialist because of it."

Another vote for Obama. But where was Bill Ayers? Is McCain going to buy his house too? Or is McCain just too timid to say such things to Obama's face? Weak, weak, weak.
10.8.2008 1:00am
hawkins:

And why haven't the media printed photographs of his cigarette smoking (they're certainly widely available)?


While Obama admitted to smoking a few cigarettes in recent months, Im fairly sure the photos are all from over a year ago.
10.8.2008 1:00am
gerbilsbite:
So, can we all agree that Brokaw sucked out loud?

b:
a presidential candidate should show contempt for that which is contemptible.
In a perfect world, sure. In a media-driven, superficial environment like this one, though, a presidential candidate should show subdued disappointment with that which is contemptible. Assuming s/he wants to win, that is.
10.8.2008 1:02am
Henry679 (mail):
FDR And Churchill kicked Axis ass while smoking--don't knock it. (So did Stalin, but hey)
10.8.2008 1:03am
sbron:
Maybe he got the "my friend" tic from his advisor Juan Hernandez.
10.8.2008 1:03am
Dave N (mail):
Angus,

We generally disagree on the issues, but you were spot on in your analysis of how the moderators have done.

Note to the Presidential Debate Commission: In 2012, don't invite Brokaw back.
10.8.2008 1:04am
Jason F:
I hate that he says that too. But I am not going to vote for a Socialist because of it.


Brian Moore and Gloria La Riva will be so disappointed.
10.8.2008 1:07am
EH (mail):
tomas84:
To those who would doubt my fairness, let's also print photos of the oldster's torture wounds inflicted on him by the Vietnamese.


Actually, why don't we keep with the "self-inflicted" nature of cigarette smoking and just keep printing that picture of McCain hugging Bush?

And really, can anybody deny that saying "my friends" sounds different when spoken through clenched teeth?
10.8.2008 1:10am
SATA_Interface:
McCain had that "geezer wheeze" going on strong. I thought Town Hall was supposed to be his prime Wutang fighting style!

Not super impressed with either of them, but the whole "that one" moment was really poor showing on McCain's part. Obama also had a little too much smugosity for my liking.
10.8.2008 1:15am
Dave!:
I couldn't agree more. Everytime I hear McCain say, "my friends" it sounds a little more like a bad sales pitch. Give it a rest and just answer the questions. It's not polite, it's not endearing, it's annoying and coming off as kind sleazy...
10.8.2008 1:18am
tomas84:
While Obama admitted to smoking a few cigarettes in recent months, Im fairly sure the photos are all from over a year ago.

Okey dokey. Franklin Roosevelt admitted to being confined to using a wheelchair.

John Kennedy admitted to being addicted to hard drugs and Mafia-supplied whores.

Strange, though, that the media never picked up on this seemingly pertinent info.
10.8.2008 1:19am
Lily (mail):
You will be voting for the one you find less annoying?
No, I will be voting for the one most likely to keep Government small. Ok, that's neither - but McCain will grow it less than Obama.

Answer this question - How do you cut the taxes of people who don't pay income taxes?
10.8.2008 1:20am
EH (mail):
tomas84: I'd watch my analogies, McCain ain't very far from either of those examples.
10.8.2008 1:21am
Henry679 (mail):
I guess the GOPers is hoping to find some photos of Obama smoking cigarettes with Bill Ayers. Anything at this point, right?
10.8.2008 1:25am
Peter Shalen:
Hawkins wrote:"While Obama admitted to smoking a few cigarettes in recent months, Im fairly sure the photos are all from over a year ago."

Well, as long as he didn't inhale.
10.8.2008 1:30am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein: This is petty and beneath your dignity. You'll agree eventually, even if you don't today.
10.8.2008 1:32am
Mac (mail):
Brian G (mail) (www):

I hate that he says that too. But I am not going to vote for a Socialist because of it.


Brian G,

What you said.

However, you think you've got problems? He's my Senator. I have found myself thinking "my friends" and almost saying it out loud.

Angus, I don't often agree with you either, but have to agree with your ranking. The minister fellow whose name I can't recall at this hour was much more interesting with a lot more interesting questions, as well.

Maybe Tom needs to retire. He could not have been more boring.
10.8.2008 1:33am
Perseus (mail):
I don't regard the post as being the least bit frivolous. Quite the contrary. It goes to the fundamental nature of political life. On the one hand, Prof. Bernstein correctly points out that true friendship requires an intimate familiarity that is obviously lacking between Senator McCain and all but a small group of citizens. On the other hand, Aristotle argues that a true political community (not the deviant state that exists merely for protection and exchange) aims at friendship. So, I'm ambivalent about Senator McCain using the phrase.
10.8.2008 1:46am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
I'm not interested in stylistic elements, except insofar as they might affect the way other people vote. (I am voting for Barr.) I doubt McCain's use of "my friends" will lose him many votes. What will is his failure to follow through on the point he early made that it was (some) Republicans, including himself, who tried to head off the debacle (which they only dimly foresaw), starting six (not just three as McCain said) years ago, while it was the Democrats in Congress that blocked the intervention.

McCain's mistake was to try to lay the blame on Obama, whose main deficit in this crisis is not himself but his party. Obama was not even in the Senate when McCain and others were trying to raise the alarm. (And then only about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are only a part of the problem.) If McCain hopes to turn this campaign around he needs to run against the Democrats in Congress rather than against Obama, who most people like, without realizing how much his election will bring the congressional Democrats into power. Too many voters are blaming the Bush Administration and the Republicans because Bush is a Republican, when it was Congress, dominated by the Democrats, that was the problem. They aren't willing to give credit to the Bush Administration for bringing out the problem (too late) and trying to deal with it (even if they don't have a clue how to do it, and neither does anyone else).

McCain needs to hammer this point incessantly until the voters get it. The unsavory associates of Obama that need to used to defeat him are not the likes of Bill Ayers or
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but Chris Dodd, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Barney Frank.
10.8.2008 2:23am
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):
Dave N.,

During the Vice-Presidential debate, I took a drink every time I heard the word "maverick." I didn't wake up until just now.
10.8.2008 2:43am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
IMHO Sarah Palin would have done better in this debate against Obama than McCain did. McCain should debate Biden. The old guys are more a match for each other. Palin and Obama are a better match for one another.

Plain started from behind in knowledge and fluency on a national stage, but she is learning and improving rapidly, revealing a sharp intelligence. She could work on her elocution skills (which she actually has, because she uses them when in broadcaster mode), but by the end of the campaign I expect her to be fully up to speed.
10.8.2008 3:03am
wolfefan (mail):
Hi -

"That one" reminded me of my grandmother. She used to say it a lot - it was a kind of affectionate dissing. I don't think badly of McCain for using it, but it sure reminded me of how old he is. I'm sure it didn't play well on any level.
10.8.2008 3:20am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The word "friend" is remarkably elastic. McCain routinely applies the word to anyone who happens to be within earshot when he's making a pitch. But if someone ever uses the word "friend" or "friendly" in connection with the relationship between Obama and Ayers, that's taken as proof that they're joined at the hip. Interesting how this works.
10.8.2008 3:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Just to underline the point. This very recent Obama-Ayers thread currently contains about 40 occurrences of the word "friend" (or close variations thereof). The whole discussion revolves around this word, and the idea that it demonstrates closeness between them. Meanwhile, McCain reminded us tonight of how meaningless the word is.
10.8.2008 3:38am
Daydreamer:
I think McCain's use of "that one" wasn't an intentional insult. He said (I'm going from memory) "You know who voted for it? That one." I think he meant "You know which Senator voted for it? That one." Simple brain-to-mouth error.

On another note, when McCain warned about Russia and Ukraine, I imagined the first meeting between President McCain and Ukrainian President Yushchenko. Didn't work for me, so I went back to the yummier image of Palin and Tymoshenko.
10.8.2008 3:47am
Hucbald (mail) (www):
Obama won on style, McCain won on substance. Any objective viewer with an IQ above 120 could see that (Excluding those with law degrees, of course... but then, 110 is the upper limit for lawyers, isn't it?). Insert lawyer joke here:

Q: What do you call a lawyer with a 75 IQ?

A: Your Honor.

(I know a lawyer wrote that, because the correct answer is, "Smart.") *rimshot*

Being annoyed at a verbal tic such as, "My friends..." just shows what a moron you are, Bernstein. But then, I'm guessing you've been duped, indoctrinated, and brainwashed by a law school: You have no ability to think off of the narrow gauge rails that have been laid down for you... as is the case with all lawyers; much less do you possess a functional moral compass (No lawyer does, so don't feel too bad).

Obama is certainly a brilliant chameleon. He can change his colors to match any backdrop so as to advance to the next level. Anyone who doesn't fear what he'll change his colors to once he gets to the presidency is an idiot in the abject extreme.

There is one issue in this election: Obama is a lying scumbag lawyer (Lawyers do bear false witness for a living after all. If memory serves, God has a problem with that). Opposite of that, McCain is a military man. No contest (Full disclosure: My father was a USAF pilot). Washington was a warrior. Adams was a lawyer. Aliens and Sedition Act ring a bell? Then there was Jefferson, another sumbag lawyer (Though, the most enlightened one in history). It's been all downhill ever since.

Only deluded fools vote for Obama. Unfortunately, democracy is rule by fool because the masses are asses... which is why this country was originally a representative republic. No more. Any 18 year-old moron can vote. I'm proof that is retarded, because I voted for Carter when I was 18. Look at what an abject dick-in-the-mouth he turned out to be.

America is screwed because democracy is cultural suicide. Every single time.
10.8.2008 4:33am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Any 18 year-old moron can vote. I'm proof that is retarded, because I voted for Carter when I was 18. Look at what an abject dick-in-the-mouth he turned out to be."

That's why I favor raising the voting age and making it more difficult to vote, not less. Look at the two duds we have ended up with with the current system.
10.8.2008 5:34am
just me (mail):
Answer this question - How do you cut the taxes of people who don't pay income taxes?

You can't. You either offer them a tax credit, or you have to cut payroll taxes, but there is no way to cut payroll taxes. I think McCain nailed this answer though-fixes for social security are the easy ones, but the 500 lb elephant in the room is Medicare, and that program is so broken that all it can do is suck giant sums of money out of the treasury and put it down a giant sinking hole-all the fixes for that one are going to be a fix with elements people are going to hate, and lord knows congress would rather table anything that comes with political risk.

I think a much better way to have done questions to make the debate more interesting and actually make the candidates work for the night would have been to choose the audience members from a group of partisan supporters (I am not sure I believe this whole "uncommitted voter" really exists for these things anyway). One half for McCain and one half for Obama.

Have the moderator screen for question appropriateness only.

Then pull the name of an Obama supporter out of the hat, and let McCain answer that question with some give and take discussion time. Then pull a McCain supporter's name out of a hat and let him ask Obama etc. You could mix it up so that occasionally the candidates got a friendly question or two.

But I thought the questions were uninteresting and terrible for the most part. They put both candidates on auto pilot rather than really making them defend or advocate a position.
10.8.2008 7:23am
Hoosier:
You object to McCain calling us "My friends." But you have no problem with Obama beginning every answer with "Filthy infidels!"

DB is just shilling for Changey McCahnge these days.
10.8.2008 7:49am
pluribus:

Maybe Tom needs to retire. He could not have been more boring.

Actually, Tom retired some years ago. He was called back to emergency service when his friend Tim Russert died, just to fill in until a permanent replacement is found. I wonder if McCain is just filling in until a permanent replacement can be found.
10.8.2008 8:07am
pluribus:
McCain's reference to "that one" wasn't an insult, but a senior moment. He couldn't remember his name and didn't want to call him "my friend."
10.8.2008 8:11am
pluribus:
When McCain says "my friend," you know it's time to turn around and leave the used car lot--pronto!
10.8.2008 8:14am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I was more surprised by the way he referred to both Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt as "my hero."
10.8.2008 8:24am
pluribus:
McCain says Meg Whitman would make a good treasury secretary. Sure would. Almost as good as Phil ("Nation of whiners") Gramm. Meg could put McCain's mortgage purchase plan on Ebay's "buy it now" feature. Payments would be made through Pay Pal online. It would save millions in administrative costs, though the $300 billion purchase costs would, unfortunately, remain the same. My first thought was that Meg should retire from Ebay and pick up her golden parachute. Then, I remembered she already has. I think Phil has already picked up his $700 million from UBS. When Meg and Phil come in the room and John says "my friends," you know he really means it.
10.8.2008 8:28am
Mongoose388:
After he's done losing the election, McCain can always get a job as a NY city taxi driver, where "my friend" is a popular greeting....
10.8.2008 8:43am
FantasiaWHT:
Society would cease to function if we all stopped using niceties and called everybody what we really thought of them.


Prof. Bernstein: This is petty and beneath your dignity. You'll agree eventually, even if you don't today.


It is petty, but have you read most of his posts?
10.8.2008 8:53am
TurgidNoodler:
Slate discussed this a month ago. Money quote:

McCain falls neatly into line: Roughly every generation since FDR, a candidate resurrects "my friends." But while used in its first few decades by good or great orators, it's notable that in the last half-century it's been exclusively resorted to by the worst orators in our presidential races.
10.8.2008 9:06am
krs:

Sorry to focus on such superficialities when the world economy is going to Hell, but you probably lost more votes with your constant repitition of "my friends" than from anything Obama said.

If we're going to be pedantic, I'll note that you say "sorry" fairly often when you're probably not.
10.8.2008 9:08am
Franklin Drackman:
Hey David, this is AMERICA, and we call all sorts of people "Friends" here, I bet even Columbus said it when he was giving the Indians Syphillis. That just be how we be.
10.8.2008 9:31am
MQuinn:
I thought this was an enjoyable post.

Professor Bernstein is one of my favorite posters, even though I rarely agree with his positions.

That said, last night when I saw this hilarious video, I couldn't help but think: "If DB saw this video, his head would explode."

(Be warned: the video features Sarah Silverman and at times is vulgar)
10.8.2008 9:36am
DanO29 (mail) (www):
We're Doomed! Doomed, Doomed I say. Doomed!
10.8.2008 10:16am
JosephSlater (mail):
I'll just join the clearly bipartisan consensus (Angus, Dave N, and Mac) agreeing with Angus's ranking of the moderators.
10.8.2008 10:21am
Snaphappy:
A quick search of the transcript reveals 19 instances of "my friends" by McCain. If the debate was 1.5 hours, and if the time was spent equally between them (including questions), then when watching McCain or the questions asked to him, you needed only to wait an average of 142 seconds to hear John McCain say "my friends" again.
10.8.2008 10:28am
Tom952 (mail):
Good point, Buddy.
10.8.2008 10:45am
Yankev (mail):
These two (four) are the best we can come up with? Pray for the well being of the republic.

And when confronted with choosing the lesser of two evils, go for the one who won't have control of the Congress.
10.8.2008 10:45am
Humble Suggestion:
Instead of "my friends," may I humbly suggest that McCain use the word "amigos"? Debates would be vastly more entertaining.
10.8.2008 10:46am
Franklin Drackman:
OH YEAH, well if it wasn't for guys like McCain we'd all be wearing Ho Chi Minn sandals and eating Fish Heads. And Obama stands like a Sissy.
10.8.2008 10:50am
JosephSlater (mail):
McCain should totally just start calling everyone, "DUDES!" And then he could refer to Obama as "THAT dude. . . "
10.8.2008 10:55am
pluribus:
Franklin Drackman:

OH YEAH, well if it wasn't for guys like McCain we'd all be wearing Ho Chi Minn sandals and eating Fish Heads.

Exactly. McCain really showed us how to whup those Commies. If it hadn't been for him, Saigon might have fallen, and hundreds of thousands of boat people might have wound up in southern California. Communists might still be in power in Saigon today! He can show us how to achieve the same klind of victory in Iraq we had in Viet Nam, if we just give him half a chance.
10.8.2008 11:00am
pluribus:
Humble Suggestion:

Instead of "my friends," may I humbly suggest that McCain use the word "amigos"?

Are you telling us that McCain is bilingual? Who woulda guessed.
10.8.2008 11:02am
F LEE (mail):
David,

He wasn't talking to you, he was talking to his friends. Like me. So, next time he says "my friends" he is not referring to you.

Does Obama's "Pock-estan" bother you. How about "Tal-eeban"?

Regards,
Your friend
10.8.2008 11:03am
Oren:
Only Clinton could get away with "My Fellow Americans" -- when he said it, you could actually suspend disbelief for a short while.
10.8.2008 11:16am
Anderson (mail):
Does Obama's "Pock-estan" bother you.

It doesn't bother the people of Pakistan, who have the effrontery to mispronounce their own nation's name in that fashion, so I try to live with it, myself.

That said, anyone recall the old SNL skit mocking the late Peter Jennings' hyper-native pronunciations of "Nicaragua" &other Latin-American proper nouns? A classic.
10.8.2008 11:16am
Angus:
From what I've heard, Obama's pronunciation of Pakistan is how they actually pronounce it in Pakistan. The way most Americans say it "Pack-es-tan" would be like foreigners saying the "United Stoots of Amarica."

Link
10.8.2008 11:24am
Hoosier:
Anderson
Does Obama's "Pock-estan" bother you.

It doesn't bother the people of Pakistan, who have the effrontery to mispronounce their own nation's name in that fashion, so I try to live with it, myself.


So how should Obama pronounce "France"? And which pronunciation would bother you?
10.8.2008 11:28am
Hoosier:
Angus--But why does he say "Pock-ee-stahn," but not "Uf-gahn-ee-stahn"?

Because the Pock-ee-stah-nees have nukes?
10.8.2008 11:29am
Angus:

So how should Obama pronounce "France"
He should pronounce it the way the French do. However, most Americans wouldn't stand for it.
10.8.2008 11:30am
JosephSlater (mail):
How does McCain pronounce "Spain"? And does he do it mainly in the plain?
10.8.2008 11:31am
Hoosier:
Angus--And "Scotland" like the Scots? That I'd like to hear.
10.8.2008 11:34am
Angus:

Angus--But why does he say "Pock-ee-stahn," but not "Uf-gahn-ee-stahn"?
Maybe because he took a 3 week trip to Pakistan while in college and learned how to pronounce it from Pakistanis, but didn't make a similar trip to Afghanistan when he was young?
10.8.2008 11:34am
Hoosier:
JosephSlater:
And does he do it mainly in the plain?

You'll have to ask Cindy.
10.8.2008 11:34am
Angus:

And "Scotland" like the Scots? That I'd like to hear.

"England's better half"

See? Easy to pronounce.
10.8.2008 11:37am
Hoosier:
Angus--So he's been on the SFRC, but hasn't heard "Afghanistan" pronounced by an Afghan? Weird. I guess he must not have been paying attention.
10.8.2008 11:37am
pluribus:
Oren:

Only Clinton could get away with "My Fellow Americans"

I'm giving away my age, but both Eisenhower and Johnson started their TV speeches this way.
10.8.2008 11:38am
Kevin P. (mail):
Pakistanis pronounce their nation's name as "Paak-i-stan", not as "Pock-estan" or "Pack-i-stan"
10.8.2008 11:38am
Anderson (mail):
Only Clinton could get away with "My Fellow Americans"

Reagan did.
10.8.2008 11:46am
Skyler (mail) (www):
How very cranky, Bernstein.
10.8.2008 12:00pm
r.friedman (mail):
"That one" is really a reference to Bush Sr.'s "the little brown one".
10.8.2008 12:10pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

If you'd followed my advice a couple of weeks back to hop on the Ball State bandwagon, you'd be interrogating Joseph Slater right now about why anybody would pronounce "Toledo," at least for this week. But you didn't, so you're stuck with effete references to places nobody outside the blogosphere has ever heard of. Afgh-who?
10.8.2008 12:27pm
Abomi Nation:
Hucbald wrote (as part of a long troll-like rant)


Opposite of that, McCain is a military man. No contest



yes, of course. A "military man" will always be beyond reproach. Timothy McVeigh for president!

Hucbald's father may have been in the Air Force (apparently hucbald himself did not feel it important enough to serve himself?), but I myself spent 11 years in the Army (11B) and have combat experience in Grenada, Panama and Iraq (Desert Storm). I am also a lawyer.

I can assure you, hucbald, that there are a great many soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that I knew that I absolutely would not buy a used car from.
10.8.2008 1:18pm
Visitor Again:
McCain and Palin can't count the real Mavericks among their friends.
10.8.2008 1:27pm
therut (mail):
Joe Biden at the same time can quit saying "Folks" before every sentence.
10.8.2008 1:43pm
Ex-republican (mail):
"Hello My Friend!" That's what the convinience store guy says every time I walk in...Maybe McPappy is in the wrong business?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHLTKwshxfs
10.8.2008 3:06pm
Ramiro (mail) (www):
Did we have more McCain's "my friends" that Obama's "we need to make sure" this time around?
10.8.2008 3:43pm
JosephSlater (mail):
LN:

Rocky the Rocket Man is very mad at you right now.
10.8.2008 4:01pm
pjohnson (mail):
Personally, I'm more bugged by being told what "the American people want" than by being referred to as one of McCain's friends when I've never met him. Any interest in petitioning the FEC for a rule banning the use of that phrase?
10.8.2008 4:04pm
pluribus:
Ramiro:

Did we have more McCain's "my friends" that Obama's "we need to make sure" this time around?

Yep. "My friends" came up 20 times, "we need to make sure" zilch. To be fair, Obama did say "we've got to make sure" twice. That really grated on you, I'll bet.

So much for equivalence.
10.8.2008 4:29pm
Uh_Clem (mail):
Didn't you get the memo?

"My friends" is out.

The new phrase du jour is "My fellow prisoners"

Video at
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/222883.php
10.8.2008 5:15pm
Hoosier:
LM--"Ball State"?

Is that some kind of trade school or something?

Of course, they have those clever bumper stickers that say: "I'd rather Ball U than IU." So perhaps I should switch allegiances.
10.8.2008 5:49pm
Ramiro (mail):
Pluribus:

You're right. No "we need to make sure"... but a hell lot of Obama "making sure":

...Now, step one was a rescue package that was passed last week. We've got to make sure that works properly.

...And that means strong oversight, making sure that investors, taxpayers are getting their money back and treated as investors.

...It means that we are cracking down on CEOs and making sure that they're not getting bonuses or golden parachutes as a consequence of this package.

...The key is making sure that the next treasury secretary understands that it's not enough just to help those at the top.

...I left my campaign and suspended it to go back to Washington to make sure that there were additional protections for the taxpayer in the form of good oversight, in the form of taxpayers being the first to be paid back when our economy recovers -- and it will recover -- and a number of other measures.

...This is not the end of the process; this is the beginning of the process. And that's why it's going to be so important for us to work with homeowners to make sure that they can stay in their homes.

...The secretary already has the power to do that in the rescue package, but it hasn't been exercised yet. And the next president has to make sure that the next Treasury secretary is thinking about how to strengthen you as a home buyer, you as a homeowner, and not simply think about bailing out banks on Wall Street.

...We're going to have to coordinate with other countries to make sure that whatever actions we take work.

...But most importantly, we're going to have to help ordinary families be able to stay in their homes, make sure that they can pay their bills

...As far as health care is concerned, obviously, everyone is struggling to make sure that they can afford their premiums and that they can have affordable and available health care. That's the next issue.

...I want to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper.

...And so we've got to prioritize both our spending side and our tax policies to make sure that they're working for you. That's what I'm going to do as president of the United States.

...But each and every one of us can start thinking about how can we save energy in our homes, in our buildings. And one of the things I want to do is make sure that we're providing incentives so that you can buy a fuel efficient car that's made right here in the United States of America, not in Japan or South Korea, making sure that you are able to weatherize your home or make your business more fuel efficient.

"Make sure" you review the rest of the transcript. There are ten more instances of Obama "making sure".
10.8.2008 7:02pm
JimSaco (mail):
My Friends?

Well that is a step up from today, when McCain referred to the American people as "my fellow prisoners".
10.8.2008 9:24pm
LeeKane (mail):
I think it's petty to be concerned about "my friends." McCain is a man from an earlier era with somewhat different verbal ticks than those of younger law profs or hip-hoppers. I take it to signify a desire to equalize himself with his audience. "We are all citizens in a collective effort whether you agree with me or not -- and I am not higher than you." There is something vaguely 19th century, or even Quaker-ish about it. But grant the man his speech patterns without taking personal offense. We all need to stop demonizing political opponents when they really are, in the larger civic sense, our "friends."
10.9.2008 12:24pm
Stash:
I don't like "my friends" and I don't like "Pockistan". Neither of these should be vote-changers, but nothing wrong with being annoyed by them.
10.11.2008 8:23pm