Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Why Don't Liberals Talk This Way?

The word pusillanimous is's word of the day today, and who used it better than that eloquent font of conservative wisdom, the disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew:
"Ultraliberalism today translates into a whimpering isolationism in foreign policy, a mulish obstructionism in domestic policy, and a pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law and order."
According to Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations, Agnew said that at an Illinois Republican meeting in 1970.

Pusillanimous, according to, is derived from the Latin pusillus, meaning weak or very small, and animus, meaning spirit or mind. It means "Lacking courage; timid."

Mr. Agnew starred in my Quote of the Day back in February 2007 for his "effete corps of impudent snobs" comment (refering to the media). He was full of fun turns of phrase like that, but they all came from one of the two Nixon White House speech writers, William Safire and Patrick Buchanan.

It was Buchanan who wrote the "pusillanimous pussyfooting" speech, according to the September 19, 1996 New York Times obituary for Agnew. (Safire was responsible for the "nattering nabobs of negativism" speech.) Ironically, Buchanan has been known for his conservative isolationism.

As a side note, the Wikipedia entry for Agnew says that comedian Dave Berry has pointed out that the "Spiro Agnew" is an anagram for "Grow A Penis."



Blogger Christopher said...

I've been thinking about this for about 24 hours.

My only response to your title is:

Liberals don't talk that way because they are not assholes. They are arrogant, grossly arrogant, but they are not assholes. We leave that to Sean Hannity and his ilk.

When my father and I would drive back from downhill skiing every winter, we would play 21 questions. My "answer" every time we played was "Spiro Agnew." He never guessed it, but every time I told him what it was, he would call me an "asshole."

Funny how we all go full circle.

12:01 AM  

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