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Hand-me-down wordsmithing

Yesterday, we posted a column by Bill Kristol that concluded: “But the American people, whatever their doubts about aspects of Bush’s foreign policy, know that Bush is serious about fighting terrorists and terrorist states that mean America harm. About Bush’s Democratic critics, they know no such thing.” Today, Al Kamen of the Washington Post points out that, in 1952, Kristol’s father, neo-conservative legend Irving Kristol, had this to say in Commentary: “There is one thing that the American people know about Sen. [Joseph] McCarthy. He, like them, is unequivocally anti-Communist. About the spokesmen for American liberalism, they feel they know no such thing.” (emphasis added)
Kamen reports that “the similarities were no accident.” He does not explain whether, by that, he means anything more than that the son was borrowing a nice turn of phrase from the father. In any case, it was, presumably, no accident that Bill Kristol excluded the important words “they feel” from his formulation.

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