Romney’s God-fearing, impersonal G-words, then, reveal him as linguistically a person of another time, in which the public mood was cooler than today’s. That can be a good thing. Even Father Coughlin would not have called an earnest young woman, or anyone else, a slut on the radio. Yet the fact remains that there are few better ways to connote the air of a mannequin in 2012 than by saying gosh with a straight face.Yes, if only Romney said some of the other exclamations that McWhorter suggests.
A more, shall we say, vibrant translation of “Gee, I hope not” would be “Shit, I hope not,” and in “This was back, oh gosh, probably in the late ’70s,” “hell” would be substituted for the “oh gosh,” especially after a beer or two. Or, even in more buttoned-up moments, our versions of those sentences might include “Man, I hope not,” and especially for those under about 40, “Dude, I don’t know much about your faith.” Man and dude both reach out to the interlocutor seeking agreement. Man and dude are, at heart, solicitations—“You know what I mean, man/dude?”That would be so much more desirable in a potential president. We surely don't want someone so retro as to use terms which seem out of date instead of just saying God or one of McWhorter's substitutes.
If liberals can't do better than to play MSNBC's sorts of editing games or resort to ridiculing words like "golly" in order to find ways to laugh at Romney, then he is in better shape than I would have anticipated.