Am I the only one who gets uncomfortable when a politician addresses a crowd as “my friends”? Joe Biden did it last week, Joe Lieberman did it last night, and John McCain does it all the time.

They’re not my friends. Friends are people close enough to deserve your trust. No one trusts politicians any more (even other politicians). Using “my friends” presumes a relationship we don’t have but, if we did, it would be one that accrues only to the benefit of the speaker. When they call you their friend without even knowing you, they’re like the appliance salesman who knows the perfect refrigerator for your house without ever being there. Coincidentally, it’s the one that affords him the biggest commission.

Besides, if you’re running for office, your real friends are probably voting for you without being asked. If you want to get elected, it’s the people who aren’t your friends that you have to convince.