There was a widely-reported news announcement today that Nancy Reagan had endorsed John McCain for President of the United States. I certainly don’t have anything against Ms. Reagan, who strikes me has having conducted herself with dignity and comportment during a long and illustrious career. Neither do I have anything against Mr. McCain, though I do wish he wouldn’t mumble quite so much, and I think he’s too old and generationally-mired to be President.
What was irritating were Ms. Reagan’s remarks. “Ronnie and I always waited until everything was decided, and then we endorsed,” she said.
This strikes me as being an extreme mis-use of language. Few things could be as meaningless as a post-facto endorsement. The whole point of an endorsement is that the endorser lends weight and prestige to the endorsee, thereby assisting the endorsee to achieve traction with whomever it is to whom the endorsee is attempting to appeal. Conceptually, endorsing somebody after “everything was decided” is like deciding to place a bet on a race-horse after the race has ended.
If this is Ms. Reagan’s, or Mr. McCain’s, concept of an “endorsement,” then something is seriously amiss.