The politics of nuance

Tony Blankly:


"His friends say he (Kerry) is just instinctively nuanced in his thinking. That may be closer to the mark. According to Webster's dictionary, the etymology of nuance is from the middle French (Hmm!) word nuer: to make shades of color, from nue: clouds, akin to the Greek, nythos: dark. That would seem to be Mr. Kerry's problem. He thinks and talks in shades that create clouds and darkness around him. No one knows what he is saying, and thus what he is thinking. This makes things rather awkward for an American politician.


"Some cultures admire subtlety of thought and expression in their politicians. No, not just the French. The Chinese, the Hindus and the old Persian culture all admire such traits in their leaders. But the Anglo-Saxon cultures ? and pre-eminently we Americans ? admire decisiveness and clarity. We instinctively suspect deceit or indecision where we hear subtlety. We are often right to do so.


"John Kerry's personality drives him to hedge ? a fatal instinct when running against a decisive Bush."


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