29 July 2009


1.  Does Ron Ellsworth, wannabe mayor, keep referring to himself in the plural as in “we” received information or when “we” got into politics when he is referring to himself, singularly and personally?

The “we”, something he copied from his model’s speaking pattern along with referring to things as this “piece” or that “piece”, sounds pompous, arrogant or – worse – deranged.  [word replaced;  see note below]

And while we are at it, why…

2.  would Ron Ellsworth, wannabe mayor, bring up optional blind trusts for city councillors when there are other ethics issues he’s clearly ignoring.

Like campaign finance reform.

Far better for people to know which monied interests in town are backing candidates than giving councillors the option of putting their interests at arms length.

But in the spirit of disclosure and accountability, maybe Ron could disclose publicly his own local business interests for starters and a complete accounting of his campaign donations and expenses for the past two elections.

We are not talking about the ones required by the laughable city election rules.  We are talking about full and complete disclosure using – for example – the federal campaign spending and reporting rules.

Ellsworth has made a rod to beat his own back, but his rival for the mayor’s chair – Doc O’Keefe  - isn’t likely politically swift enough to use it. 

Others might not be.


Change update:  There are two parts of that post that require correction, elaboration and clarification.

The first is the use of the word “mentor” in reference to Ellsworth.  That wasn’t the right word since it could suggest a conscious collaboration by both parties. The word “model” is better since it merely suggests what seems to be obvious, namely that Ellsworth is modelling himself on a certain well-known politician.

The second is to replace the words “but Doc is too stunned to use it, most likely”.  Stunned is a common enough local word and while that phrase would come across to someone who got the point using dialect, the potential for misunderstanding is too great to leave it alone.

The phrase could be taken the wrong way so best to change it to one that more accurately reflects the meaning intended:

As it now reads, the sentence should convey the point that while Ellsworth has essentially handed his rival with a political rod to beat him about the head with, Ellsworth’s rival hasn’t displayed the sort of political savvy and moxie – the political swiftness – to capitalize on his opponent’s blunder.

Now for those who think your humble e-scribbler got calls, be assured that there were none.  Also be assured that Doc’s crowd won’t like the revised version any better than the one before.  Nor will Ellsworth and his crowd.

This just makes plain what was meant.


Anonymous said...


It seems to me the "We" referenced in your post could mean the committee he is representing as chair in the first example. And in the second example it would mean family as it would be a family decision to go into politics.

Now that is not to say that your post is no valid on inproper usage on other topics but it seems his usage is reasonable given your two examples cited above.

Edward G. Hollett said...

If you are clear on what was meant, then you are in a lucky spot.

Part of the problem I found was with situations where it wasn't clear what "we" was he was referring to.

Let's take an example where a politician says something like "when we decided to get into politics." Is the "we" referring to the family or to backers and advisors?

Now maybe that politician has some sort of truly radical family structure but somehow, I doubt very much that an eight-year old either came up with the idea, and with a majority vote pushed Dad or Mom into politics.

That's an absurd interpretation, but so too is it absurd to say "we" in that case when the decision was ultimately that of the person whose name is on the ballot.

In the other example I used of receiving information, the "we" might be a committee, although sometimes politicans lately have been saying "we" when they really meant "I". They might also be referring to when the staff received information but the usage is equally fuzzy and unclear.