Bubba’s wig­gle

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

We­can­now­con­firmthatBil­lClin­ton was in search of a lit­tle “wig­gle room” when he told the grand jury, in­veryuncer­tain­terms,thatwhether hehadanaf­fair­with­Mon­i­caLewin­sky­de­pende­donwha­tone’sdef­i­ni­tion of “is” is.

To re­fresh your me­mory, here’s whatMr.Clin­ton­said­in­his­tes­ti­mony, ac­cord­ing to a foot­note in spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Ken­neth Starr’s re­port:

“It de­pends on what the mean­ing of the word ‘is’ is. If the — if he — if ‘is’mean­sisand­n­ev­er­has­been,that is not — that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a com­pletely trues­tate­ment.[...]Now,if­some­one had asked me on that day, are you hav­ing any kind of sex­ual re­la­tions with Ms. Lewin­sky, that is, asked me a ques­tion in the present tense, I would­have­saidno.An­dit­would­have been com­pletely true.”

Nowlet’sturn­toTen­nesseeau­thor Nancy French’s most-en­ter­tain­ing de­but book “A Red State of Mind,” which tracks her move to the blue zone of Man­hat­tan, where she clashed­with­blue-state­con­cept­sand res­i­dents,an­don­toPhiladel­phia,be­fore set­tling again be­low the Ma­sonDixon Line.

In one of our fa­vorite chap­ters, the au­thor ex­plains how “South­ern­ers tend to soften their lan­guage” for ef­fect or when­ever they might be in a pickle.

“Take Arkansas na­tive Pres­i­dent Clin­tonasanex­am­ple,”Mrs.French writes. “He was known to ut­ter sen­tences like ‘I might should do that,’ which­sug­gest­sagreatersense­ofh­e­si­tance than just the word ‘should.’ Thisal­lows­foralit­tlewig­gle­roomon both his part and the lis­ten­ers.”

She goes on to ex­plain that when “in con­fronta­tional mode, South­ern­ers em­ploy ver­bal mech­a­nisms to take the edge off.”

John McCaslin, whose col­umn is na­tion­ally syn­di­cated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jm­c­caslin@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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