From today’s NYT

“Even though DeLay has nothing to do with Frist, and Frist has nothing to do with Abramoff, how does it look? Not good,” said William Kristol, a key conservative strategist and editor of The Weekly Standard.

Unfortunately for Kristol’s rhetorical exercise, the relation “has nothing to do with” is not transitive, a fact of which he is presumably aware, given this choice of example.

From the previous para in the same story

the string of ethical issues so close together – including the indictment and continuing investigation of the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was close to Mr. DeLay … is a source of anxiety in Republican circles.

7 thoughts on “Intransitivity

  1. Brilliant abuse of transitive relationships in a sentence. Pure genius. He will probably explore a little more maths and logic when he needs to work out how sentences commute.


  2. Nixon won the 1972 election in a land-slide, largely by running a campaign based on “law and order” at home and “peace with honour” abroad.

    Yet he did nothing much about crime (Democrat congress was not helpful) and was not able to deliver on the war (Democrat congress was harmful).

    Nixon continued to do political business the way he always did, which is playing the hard ball way.

    The public were not impressed by Nixon’s policy non-performance. They were eager to find some way to punish Nixon that did not depend on relaxing the populist position on cultural identity and national security. So they decided to punish him for his bad political modus operandi.

    So a relatively minor (by Nixonian standards) bit of dirty trickery (Watergate) eventually wound up bringing him down. With a fair bit of help from a vengeful liberal media.

    Is it just me or can anyone detect in this a pattern similar to the Bush admin, famous for its Mayberry Machiavellianism, and its serial policy blunders and political nasties?

  3. It surprises me how much Australians pay attention to US domestic politics. I suppose that 40 years ago we paid equal attention to British domestic politics.

  4. Wilful–

    It’s because the politics in Australia simply makes you want to cry.

    Also in Australia we really do not have a media like the US which (at least sometimes) is happy to turn on the truly powerful. If you can imagine living in a town (which both I and John do) with 2 newspapers available both owned by the same man and that man being Rupert Murdoch, you can imagine our wistful contemplation of an actual free press and a political system which has not yet succeeded in muzzling it.

    Besides which, there’re US government departments with bigger economies than Australia. The potential for really, really staggering corruption is so much more fun to hope for.

    And the British elect such incredibly ugly politicians anyway…

  5. Actually it’s quite reasonable to follow the politics of the Imperial Capital !…we are a sort of colony run by a local chieftain who makes the regular ritual prostration in front of the Imperial Court,on his regular visits to the Imperial Court . By the way,George Bush has just filled a vacancy for the head of the Women’s Section of the National health and Drug Admin. with a man…and a Vet. at that !!I guess George thought that if you know about cows and udders,etc,etc,you can cope with women too !

  6. Wilful, Andrew,
    You might be older than me and know better, but I saw a significant Howard/LPA shift to American Republican policies/politics after Bush was elected in 2000. Before then Howard seemed much more timid on social conservative issues. I saw the 1998 election as Howard’s (successful) attempt to redefine the agenda with the big GST issue, given he was going so badly Australians seemed to be ready to “put the last lot of pricks in” before that announcement. I also see his reliance on such a big ticket finance issue as an admission that he couldn’t have won on social issues at that time (a sound judgement probably given the status of Hanson then and her subsequent demise.)
    As far as I can tell, Australians pretty much elected the opposing parties to the Americans till 2000/01, including under Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke & Keating and then, in his first term, Howard.

  7. I do accept that 93-96 was an abboration before anyone rips my entire comment to shreds based on a 3 year exception of a 28 year run though

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