DEMOCRATS 'O6: CATCH...

DEMOCRATS 'O6: CATCH THE 'BETTERNESS.' It looks like Harry Reid has begun ending his e-mails with the Democrats' dreaded 2006 catchphrase: "Together, America can do better." Without some better wordsmiths, though, the Democrats apparently can't. I'm reminded of Geoffrey Numberg's riff on the line from his forthcoming book, Talking Right:

Given the slogan's resounding vacuity, it might seem like piling on to point out that it's ungrammatical in the bargain, with the together sitting uncomfortably with the singular America. Saying "Together, America can do better" is a bit like saying "Together, the North won the Civil War" -- you know what it's supposed to mean, but you have to do a little mental stutter-step to get there. It's clearly a sentence written by a committee: you can tell that one faction wanted to go with "America can do better" while another favored "Together, we can do better" to get the unity theme in there, so they decided to split the difference.

I figure the phrase alone will cost the Dems three House seats and four percent in the Brown-DeWine Senate match.

Update: Phrase fixed. My new catchphrase: With proofreading, Ezra can do better.

--Ezra Klein

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