November 04, 2007

rudy giuliani: a simple transitive guy

It's not often that a politician attacks an opponent using linguistic terms. Joe Biden did in his description of Rudy Giuliani, whom he considers unqualified to run for President:

"There's only three things he makes in a sentence: a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There's nothing else!"
It seems that Biden's quib has caught on. For example, it was taken up by Frank Rich in his NYT column today. However, Rich reminds us that the formula noun + verb + 9/11 was not exactly invented by Rudy Giuliani. It was also "Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget".

ETA: In addition, I think it's fair to say that RG has a second transitive pattern. It involves the verb "to run", the adverb "never", and some sort of noun, as in "S/He has never run a city", which, if you're the guy who's best known for having run a city, must be some sort of relevant qualification for becoming President of the United States, more relevant, anyway, than a clear stance against torture.

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