More English Language Triumphs, Modest But Welcome

Abby Zimet

While the former resident of the White House committed plentiful crimes
against candor, honor, decency and humanity, his abuses of language,
while often entertaining, were ceaselessly aggravating as well. So it
remains a source of wonder, still, to hear our new President speak. His
language is graceful, concise, astute. He uses full sentences. He is
even funny. Literates, rejoice.

In an interview with a handful of columnists aboard Air Force One en route to Chicago, talking about passage of his economic stimulus plan, President Obama showed once more that he can actually think and speak – pedestrian skills, God knows, we have a right to expect of our national leaders, but which haven't always been in evidence.

To wit:

On the apparent early death of bipartisanship thanks to the unstinting, unthinking opposition by Republicans to, well, anything: "I think we can disagree without being disagreeable on that front."

On his priorities in the face of an apparently predetermined, hard line GOP mindset: "I'm not sure that there was a whole host of things that we were going to do that was going to make a difference..My bottom line was not how pretty the process was; my bottom line was, am I getting help to people who need it.

On his expectations, at this point, of Republicans actually supporting something in the future: "You know, I am an eternal optimist. That doesn't mean I'm a sap."

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