This article was originally published on Humorality, on October 4, 2008.
Words for Votes
The Obama-Biden campaign is crying foul at what they are calling “shady attempts to garner illegal votes” through statements made by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during Thursday evening’s debate. At issue is a report by the Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor, a non-partisan group of gray-haired eighth-grade grammar teachers that focuses on the use of the English language throughout the world.
According to the report, the sentences used by Sarah Palin were of a complexity normally expected for students at a tenth-grade reading level. Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean condemned Palin’s highfalutin speech patterns. “As is typical of Republicans, Governor Palin clearly attempted to violate election laws by targeting underage high school students.” Barack Obama himself weighed in on the issue. “Once again, the McCain camp is pandering to their base of the rich and the intellectually above average by speaking their language. Just because Democratic voters are different than those you might see on our money is no reason to speak down to them.”
John McCain defended his running mate at a campaign stop in Florida. “Sarah Palin is continuing the tradition of straight talk on issues that matter most to the American people. When I was a prisoner in North Vietnam, those of us held against our wills would tap out Morse code messages to each other using English that was at least at a ninth grade reading level, possibly higher. Americans expect nothing less from their commander-in-chief.”
The language analysis of the debate also showed that Senator Joe Biden spoke at a simpler eighth-grade reading level. “I did not want to use big words that might be hard for those who heard me to get clear,” was Mr. Biden’s typical monosyllabic response. But when asked about possible pandering to middle school students, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton explained. “For centuries, Republicans have sought to silence the wise voices of our pre-secondary youth. That’s why Senator Obama is calling for a constitutional amendment that allows those between the ages of seven and fourteen to vote for the Democratic Party candidate of their choice.”
The grammar report noted for the record that Senator Biden won the debate with a total of 5,492 words, besting the Alaskan governor’s 5,235 words. “My decades of experience in the United States Senate prove that I can talk and good talk,” responded Biden. “That’s what you can expect from team Obama-Biden. A vote for McCain, sadly, would lead to four years of action and no talk. Is that the type of leadership we need for America?”