David Bernstein is criticizing Joe Lieberman’s syntax over on the Volokh Conspiracy. Only problem is, Bernstein’s corrective syntax is equally problematic:
When Lieberman is asked how his faith would affect his politics, he paraphrases a now-famous Kennedy line, telling voters, “I am a presidential candidate who happens to be Jewish, not the other way around.”
So Lieberman is not “a Jewish who happens to be a presidential candidate?” The quote would work if Lieberman would say “a Jew” instead of “to be Jewish”…
Hmm… “a Jew” instead of saying “to be Jewish”… so Lieberman should have said, “I am a presidential candidate who happens a Jew, not the other way around”? Um, yeah, that makes more sense. :)
Obviously, what Bernstein should have said is, “The quote would work if Lieberman would say ‘a Jew’ instead of ‘Jewish.’” Or, alternatively, he could have said, “The quote would work if Lieberman would say ‘to be a Jew’ instead of ‘to be Jewish.’” Of course, this is an extremely nitpicky point. But so is Bernstein’s, so he asked for it.
UPDATE: On the other hand, Sasha Volokh’s Lieberman-related post is just funny: “my father asks whether, if Lieberman gets some pro-Jewish law passed that benefits his district, it’s correct to call it pork.” Heh heh.