Commentary Magazine


DNC Chair Leaps over a Rhetorical Cliff

On MSNBC this morning, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in defending President Obama’s economic stewardship, laid out a very weak defense. It included her claim that “In the month before he was inaugurated, the economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month. We had an economy that was literally about to go over a cliff.”

Wasserman Schultz needs new talking points. For one thing, an aide might consider pulling her aside and warning her against using vivid, clashing metaphors in consecutive sentences (an economy that both bleeds and goes over cliffs). For another, the economy was not literally going over a cliff, though it may have been figuratively going over one.

I understand that we don’t need Strunk & White to be DNC chairmen. But Democrats should be able to do better than this.

For some of us Wasserman Schultz’s answers are figuratively, if not literally, like fingernails scratching a chalkboard.

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