JLF Triangle Blog

Status quo doesn’t mean what Obama thinks it means

obama_duncePresident Obama has given the American people many reasons to doubt his Ivy League educational credentials. OK, maybe the famous “57 states” blooper was just the result of campaign exhaustion. But “corpseman” and “secretary of states” were not. They were evidence of simple ignorance.

Well, we’ve got another one. Here’s what Obama said yesterday to critics of Obamacare:

That seems to be the only alternative that Obamacare’s critics have. We’ll just go back to the status quo, because they sure haven’t presented an alternative. If you ask many of the opponents of this law what exactly they’d do differently, they’re answer seems to be well let’s go back to the way things used to be.

As anyone with a mediocre liberal arts education knows, you can’t go “back to the status quo.” Status quo means the situation as it exists NOW, not EARLIER. There’s another related term that applies to what happened before the status quo. It’s status quo ante, a Latin term that any pre-law student should know, much less a graduate of Harvard Law School who edited the law review.

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