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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

It's a mulligan

Rats. Obama and Roberts re-did the oath, so now we won't have four years of "he's not really president, so nothing counts" hysteria the way we did after the Supreme Court "stole the election" for Bush in 2000.

After a flawless recitation that included no Bible and took 25 seconds, Roberts smiled and said, "Congratulations, again."

Obama said, "Thank you, sir," and then added: "All right. The bad news for the [reporters] is there's 12 more balls."

Cute. Ha ha.

People have been speculating a lot on why Roberts' flubbed the oath. Was he just nervous because of the enormity (see previous post) of the occasion? Or was he secretly trying to embarrass Obama because the two have so many philosophical differences?

I think I've figured it out. Roberts was educated in Indiana, don't forget, and we have more fussy old English teacher grammar pedants per capita than any state in the union. (Look it up, if you don't believe me). Roberts got to the part about "I will faithfully execute," and it sounded so much like a split infinitive that he just couldn't bring himself to say it.

It took me a long time, by the way, to break myself of the habit of using the dangling participle "hopefully," as in "Hopefully, this year will be better than last." By the time I did, I realized I had lost a hopefully I'd intended to put back in the middle of a sentence where it belonged. It's been missing all these years, but I just realized it has turned up in the Obama campaign, so now it's possible for me to go boldly forward forward boldy into the future of change.


Bopb G.
Thu, 01/22/2009 - 11:35am

Nothing wrong with dangling a participle now and then...JUST as long as you do it in private and NOT in front of the picture window.
The grammar police might be watching.