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2 questions about a passage 【How do you explain to a President, who has all the power, that his Vice President has become virtually impotent in his home state? You don't explain it. He wouldn't understand; he would suspect you of evasion. Johnson had been running a broken field since birth, but his current problems were authentic. They arose in part from his stance as a public figure. Like Kennedy in New England he had burst upon the national scene as maverick, a vote-getter who made no secret of his lack of sympathy for the advocates of doctrinaire solutions to complex issues. That moderation was the secret of his strength at the polls. Yet he paid a price for it in the councils of his party. Because he clung to the middle of the road he had failed to inspire any deep loyalty from either the Democrats’ liberal or conservative wings—and was therefore regarded by both as an outsider.】 1. what does "Johnson had been running a broken field since birth,"mean? 2.what does "doctrinaire solutions to complex issues" indicate to?
Nov 3, 2012 2:58 AM
Answers · 4
Running a broken field refers to American football. A runner with the ball is said to be running broken field if he changes direction often and fast to avoid being tackled by the opposing players. The image is one of Johnson as a very clever politician, able to adapt to different problems. A doctrinaire solution would be one that has been used many times before. The message here is that Kennedy valued original and new solutions to problems, rather than old solutions that had been tried many times.
November 3, 2012
I agree, Siva! But in this case I'd like to add that "doctrinaire" seems here to mean the predictable ideology-based proposals of each faction of the party, based upon their differing doctrines, rather than particular policies that had been used before. Johnson is referred to here as practicing moderation, meaning that he went with the policy ideas that made sense to him (and for his constituency) without regard for their doctrinal or ideological origin. Thus he couldn't count on either group to view him as one of their own.
November 3, 2012
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English, French