Of Spine and Spin

State Senator Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), gasp, shunned spin in today’s Star Tribune coverage of his transportation finance bill.

“I’m not trying to fool anybody,” he said. “There’s (sic) a lot of taxes in this bill.”

Whatever you think of the Senator’s proposal, the candor is refreshing. It stands in contrast to last year’s “fee not tax” semantic contortionism. But curiously, Murphy isn’t the one tooling around in the Straight Talk Express these days.

Political and corporate flacks put a lot of energy into cutesy wordsmithing. But maybe we should shelve the thesaurus and follow Murphy’s example. Maybe we should put more effort into selling our ideas, and less into camouflaging them. More spine, less spin.

After all, will Senator Murphy really experience bigger headaches being straightforward than last year’s tax proposers experienced playing verbal shell games?

— Loveland

3 thoughts on “Of Spine and Spin

  1. GH says:

    Excellent points. But with his rather cavalier “sic,” Loveland has reawakened my long-dormant interior struggle regarding plural verb forms accompanying “a lot.” I know, I know, I know — all of the enlightened, apologist usage guides out there say plural verb when “a lot” is followed by a plural noun, yeah, yeah, yeah. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. And, dammit, I’m not even sure that “taxes” is plural. In fact, I’m no longer sure of anything. Thanks (a lot), Joe.

  2. Loveland says:

    My former teacher/tormenter Sister Victorine would assure you I am not your best source on this subject.

  3. I quit smoking because I refused to pay a “health impact fee” that the Republicans were too chickenshit to call a tax — perhaps an intended double-reverse benefit to society.
    Walter Mondale — who said in his debate with Ronald Reagan “We’ll both raise taxes: he won’t tell you; I just did” — kept his honor intact and can sleep at night, probably a better prize than the White House.
    Honesty breaking out around St. Paul would be better than the first robin sighting. Let’s hope.

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