After Will’s column appeared in newspapers and on websites around the country, “oleaginous” became the most-searched for word in the online dictionary, with searches rising by 8,800 percent.
A less acrid conclusion would be that Pence is polished. For the sins of recognizing former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the audience at a recent speech and addressing his own boss – who happens to be the president of the United States – with appropriate respect and deference, Will accuses Pence of “toadyism” and “obsequiousness.”
People used to call what Pence has done savoir faire, and it is fairly standard to recognize elected and former elected officials in attendance at political or charitable events.
George Will is a neighbor and, if not a friend, more than an acquaintance. He has done me more than one good turn. He and his family have been hospitable to my family, and I, like so many others, have learned from and cited a great deal of his work over the years. All the more troubling, then, to see him stoop to ad-hominem attacks.