other.— «Government officials appeared to be content with the “if-by-whiskey” message, which in political parlance is an argument that affirms both sides of an issue and agrees with whichever side the questioner supports.» —“Digital TV divide in the air” by Brooks Boliek Hollywood Reporter Jan. 31, 2008. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Tony Barron says:

    From Wikipedia:
    The label “if-by-whiskey” refers to a 1952 speech by Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., a young lawmaker from the U.S. state of Mississippi, on the subject of whether Mississippi should prohibit or legalize alcoholic beverages:

    If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
    If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

  2. Thanks, though Wikipedia is not a reliable source. The date is in dispute, for one thing. Other sources have the date of the speech as 1948 and 1950.

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