Saturday, May 26, 2007

McCain-Obama Word War

The Senator from Baghdad is getting a little testy: John McCain just has no patience for younger legislators who miss the point of the Surge, and yesterday he chided his colleagues, Clinton and Obama, for "waving a white flag to Al-Qaeda."

Obama, who apparently never learned not to talk back to his elders, responded that things were so bad that McCain “required a flack jacket, ten armored Humvees, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 soldiers with rifles by his side to stroll through a market in Baghdad just a few weeks ago."

That tore it. An hour later, McCain shot back that "two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops” and added, "By the way, Senator Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket."

Well, now. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English actually lists the words as interchangeable but suggests that flack be used for press agent, as in “McCain is a flack for Bush’s Iraq policy” and flak for figurative shell bursts, as in “Obama and other Democrats are getting flak for not doing more to stop the war.”

Gentlemen, put up your pistols and call it a draw.

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