Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 11:21:55 EDT


Subject: On those Bobdolisms

Thanks for all your comments. The points raised by Joan Cook are especially

a propos, and I think very much on the right track, or tracks (in that there

are a couple of different motivations involved). One point worth your con-

tinued attention is the following. The first example of this usage lots of

people (including me) come up with is the remark in Nixon's concession speech

to Pat Brown, following the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Half of us

(including me) remember him as having said (a), the other half (b)

(a) You won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore.

(b) You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.

I thought this was especially germane, since Nixon was Bob Dole's early mentor

and presumably his role model (until Watergate, prompting one of Dole's great

cracks, something like-- "There's Ford, Carter, and Nixon: See no evil, Hear

no evil, and Evil"). But when I tracked it down on the Web (you can hear his

concession in his own voice if you have the right software), what I heard him

say instead was

(c) Just think how much you're gonna be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick

around anymore.

The adaptation of "Nixon" into "Dick/Richard Nixon" is a retroactive accommoda-

tion to the current form of the self-promoter's third person. As for our

collective memory of Nixon's "don't" as "won't", that was evidently a simple

case of wishful thinking.