29 January 2016

Bill Bonner, moron.

Bill Bonner's normally a source of many intelligent insights into economics and politics. Three days ago he chose, however, to characterize Sarah Palin as a "moron" for how she endorsed Donald Trump. She "fits in . . . somewhere" in the phrase "the poor, the despised, and the hopeless halfwits."

Let us determine who is the halfwit.

This is what Mr. Bonner says she says:

“Trump’s candidacy,” announced Ms. Palin, “it has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enable it, okay?”

What does that mean?[1]

We'll parse it for him.

First off, Palin's quoted above as saying "Trump's candidacy it has exposed . . . ," but she clearly intended to say "Trumps candidacy has exposed . . . ." However, she stumbled slightly over the word "candidacy" and chose to continue by starting over with "It has exposed." This is known as correcting errors on the fly or finding an alternate way to express one's thought, however slight the modification.

Bonner also quoted Palin inaccurately. Instead of writing that she said "has enable it" he should have quoted her as saying "has enabled it." He also failed to indicate there was a pause after "tragic" to indicate she was reformulating her thought and he failed to insert "the" before "ramifications."

So before he gets to any substantive objection to her words, Bonner fails to record Palin accurately in four ways. But Sarah Palin is the hopeless halfwit.

An accurate version would have been:

“Trump’s candidacy [. . . .]” Ms. Palin began, pausing briefly before continuing, “[I]it has exposed not just that tragic [. . . the] ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enable[d] it, okay?”
On the substance, Ms. Palin thinks there has been a transformation of the country and it's of a certain type that she thinks amounts to a betrayal on the part of those who effected it. "Betrayal of the transformation" is clearly understandable as "betrayal consisting of the transformation." This is an example of an ellipsis.

She goes on to say that both Republicans and Democrats have been working to effect this transformation. It can be inferred that she perhaps believes they might not have effected this separately but she comes right out and says they have nonetheless worked together on this and that this complicity has enabled the transformation. (Emphasis as she delivered it.)

So what Palin said is that Trump's candidacy (1) has exposed the aforementioned ramifications of the betrayal and that "he" (2) exposed the complicity of those who effected it. So, there we have it. Palin's thought was quite clear and she erred only by using non-parallel structure by saying "he has exposed" rather than "it has exposed."

Bonner, however, is acting like an obtuse jackass in misquoting her then saying he can't make sense out of what she said.

Contrary to Bonner's Snarkschreib, Palin's thoughts are perfectly understandable and logical and, mirabile dictu, 100% correct on the effect of Trump's candidacy, the transformation amounting to a betrayal, and the complicity of both parties therein.

A certain Mr. Sam Leith, a "scholar of rhetoric" helped Bonner "deconstruct" what Palin said by, says Bonner, characterizing it as an “'anacoluthon,' which [Leith] describes as a sentence that 'sets off boldly in one direction and, with a wrench of grammar, jumps the tracks and ends up pointing in another.'” Maybe it's just me but that seems like a fancy way of saying that if one makes a grammatical error you can end up not expressing yourself clearly. Do we really need a 50-cent word for "grammatical error"?

The only "wrench of grammar" in what Palin said is the "he" rather than "it" error and Leith no more understood what Palin said than Bonner did. Leith, the "scholar of rhetoric," either doesn't know the meaning of "anacoluthon" or doesn't know how to recognize one. Maybe he meant "wench of grammar" which makes a certain kind of sense here, if you think about it.

Bonner goes on to say he still doesn't know what she meant to say but that "there's a disease that caused" her to say what she said and the name of that disease is the anacoluthon disease, which term does not describe a disease at all but some kind of extra reprehensible grammatical and/or logical error. Palin made no such error, unbeknownst to them, but they were so caught up in the novelty of their clever new word they never got around to clarifying what disease causes one to commit an anacoluthon.

So Bonner and Leith are the morons who fell in love with the cleverness of their low-rent attack and accidentally forgot to get around to parsing the substance of what Palin actually said. Palin's vibrant personality and unabashed love of America shine through throughout her speech which Bonner and Leith apparently mistook for stupidity. A common elite mistake.

Sarah Palin spoke for over 20 minutes with only occasional references to her notes and was coherent and understandable throughout. However, even she would rearrange some of the commas in the final result, as any person who has ever done any public speaking can do. Even when you talk before Rotary and not on national television you don't always get it just right.

But that doesn't make you a moron.

This cheap attempt at making Palin look foolish (by people who came out looking like asses for their own errors) reminds me of Vice President Quayle. Everybody "knew" what a moron he was, just like all the top people now "know" what a moron Palin is.

Except they're not.

Notes
[1] "In Praise of Sarah Palin…" By Bill Bonner, Bonner & Partners, 1/26/16.

Bonner is also mystified by the meaning of "stump for Trump." Really, Bill? These ladies know what it means to "stump for" someone. Bonner also objects to Palin's alleged neologism "squirmish" (and an earlier "refudiate"). See paragraph above on the realities of public speaking. Maybe, even, like Pee-wee Herman, she meant to do that.

H/t: Acting Man.

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