My parents, as regular readers know, were lawyers and had aphorisms around the house about the majesty of the law, and the value of opinions, etc. They even told me that precise wording is the key to being a good attorney. And so with that in mind, let’s build a better vocabulary with Bill Barr!
“Attorney General William Barr said that his handling of the Mueller report and its aftermath is rooted in a desire to defend the power of the executive branch rather than personal support for President Trump.
And I am czar of all the Russias. Do continue.
“I felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump, and I thought it was damaging for the presidency over the long haul,” Barr told The Wall Street Journal in El Salvador in an interview published Monday, where he traveled last week to boost support for Trump’s policies toward the violent street gang MS-13.
And the key in that paragraph, above, really is in the verbs: Felt and Thought. Felt is an opinion—a soft verb—and needs no underlying evidence to support it; he might as well say “I guessed…” Thinking needs evidence to support a conclusion. Of course, you can be wrong in your thinking!
“At every grave juncture the presidency has done what it is supposed to do, which is to provide leadership and direction,” Barr added. “If you destroy the presidency and make it an errand boy for Congress, we’re going to be a much weaker and more divided nation.”
And again, a sleight of hand: the presidency does X. But you might notice that Low Barr does not say that Prznint Stupid does X/Y/Z, because he knows Prznint Stupid doesn’t. (Knows, btw, is a very strong verb!)
Look, this is a master class in misdirection, cheap rhetorical tricks to mislead a gullible press and people. It is not surprising that the conservative media picked this up. When Barr speaks, pay attention to his verbs. It’s a clue the moment he decides to squirt squid ink and swim away in the confusion.