Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Take Backs - A Language Gripe

I've got to complain about a very common, bipartisan phrase: "take back".  As in, "We're going to take back the Senate."  Democrats used it in 2006, and Republicans are using it now, but it's really a repugnant verbal construction.

"Take back", specifically the "back" part, implies a restoration of some rightful order or position.  But there's no such animal in American politics.  No party has a standing claim on any particular body of government.  There's nothing to take back.  There are only offices and bodies to win control of.

Moreover, it sounds bad to the public, especially those who are not of the same party as one who speaks this phrase.  So anytime a Republican says we're going to take back the House, they're probably turning off a number of attentive independents, to say nothing of the Democrats to which they might appeal.

It is especially dangerous for Republicans to use this expression in the current environment, when the Democratic talking point is precisely that we would be going "back" to the previous order.

No take backs.

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