Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Martinez won't get wordsmith vote

Of all the criticisms I've seen of the gubernatorial candidates so far, this one is the most odd. On his blog, Art Trujillo, a retired professor of journalism and mass communications at New Mexico Highlands (not the former Santa Fe mayor) takes on Republican Susana Martinez for a phrase she mentioned on the campaign trail.

"In the TV spot for Susana Martinez, the GOP candidate touts her toughness on crime, as compared to the fact that her opponent, Diane Denish “gives drivers licenses to illegals.”

Martinez ends the commercial with, “As governor, that will change.” The error is a bit more subtle than the run-on sentence or the fragment. Martinez’s promise implies a great deal. It makes the word “that” an incorrect object of “governor,” as if the state’s highest office is a “that.”

What we assume Martinez really means is, “As governor, I will change that,” the policy of allowing undocumented immigrants to get New Mexico drivers licenses.

Officially, then, in English grammar, the “error” is considered a “general reference,” and without having to learn a slew of grammar rules, the gubernatorial aspirant merely needs to rephrase her sentence so that her “that” refers to proposed policy changes, not the high office."

Trujillo has a point, although minor. I think most people probably understand what Martinez was saying. Still, good for Trujillo for paying attention. Maybe he will keep tabs on all the candidates and report back on other language mishaps.

1 comment:

  1. No, what Martinez said was correct. The governor can't change that, the legislature would have to change that.

    What Martinez correctly states is that that will change, if she leans on the legislature hard enough.