CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Only in America could there be a flap over a rhetorical device -- a shopworn crumb of a rhetorical device -- that involves constructing a mental image delivered during a speech about what someone might be doing "somewhere in America."
[Ed Note: And here is where I H/T PsychoBillyDemocrat somewhere in Akron.]
A 'net in high dudgeon has pointed out that former Sen. John Edwards dipped into the "somewhere in America" dustbin for a verbal flourish at the DNC that sounded suspiciously similar to something David Bonior, the former Congressman from Michigan, said in 1996. Others are tutting that "somewhere in America" riffs, though nowhere near as common as oratory that starts "ladies and gentlemen," are hardly on the endangered speeches list.
Although Sen. Joe Lieberman is no longer popular with the Democratic left, the Connecticut pol once was in good-standing, and created a Somewhere in America moment at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, which nominated him to run for vice president alongside Al Gore. Read on:
"Tonight I believe that the next frontier isn't just in front of us ...but inside of us ... to overcome the differences that are still between us ... to break down the barriers that remain ... and to help every American claim the limitless possibilities of their own lives.
Sometimes, I try to see this world as my dad saw it from his bakery truck.
About this time, he'd be getting ready for the all-night run.
And I know that somewhere in America right now ... there is another father loading a bakery truck ... or a young woman programming a computer ... or a parent dreaming of a better future for their daughter or their son.
If we keep the faith, then 40 years from now, one of their children will stand before a gathering like this ... with a chance to serve and lead this country that we love.
So, let them look back to this time, and this place, and this stage and say of us: they kept the faith."
Lieberman tied his use of the moldy rhetorical device to an anecdote about his dad, a young woman, and a parent wistful about better days ahead. Edwards used a mom, as did Bonior.
At most, Edwards is guilty of a rheumatic moment in American speech-writing and oratory. But I'm sure that somewhere in America somebody is striving for eloquence. Perhaps a young mother who drives her dad's bakery truck, and dreams that someday her son will grow up to run for president. Or program computers. Or become a speech writer.