Yes, we can (except when it comes to Latin)
Well, Senator Barack Obama has a new logo - which I suppose was intended to make him look "presidential," whatever that means in this race - and it included the Latin phrase, vero possumus.
That translates to, "Certainly, we can." This is obviously an attempt at translating his campaign's motto, "Yes, we can." The problem, as I see it, is as E.C. Woodcock notes,
125. Possibility. Except in the main clauses of conditional sentences (Sections 192, 197-9), the ideas of 'can', 'could', 'could have', 'may', 'might', 'might have', expressing possibility, are more often conveyed by the indicative of possum with the infinitive, than by the potential subjunctive. [Woodcock, A New Latin Syntax § 125, pg. 94; bold mine - pjs]Senator Obama's new motto, vero possumus, lacks an infinitive. That's no surprise, since "Yes, we can" makes an effective rhetorical point in English, but doesn't quite go as far, as best as I can tell, in Latin. To but it bluntly, it's really very bad Latin. Indeed, though I took my A.B. in Classics, as opposed to Latin (a non-trivial distinction in my former department, but hardly the point for this post), I might go so far as to say that it's pseudo-Latin at best. At the least, assuming that it's functional in the way that it was intended to function, it's really inelegant, which makes it pseudo-Latin in my book.
A better way to put the motto would be vero possumus excurrere, or "Indeed, we can hasten forwards." Or whatever verb Obama wants us to affect, since there's probably an analogue in Latin and there's an infinitive form of that verb.
Or, how about this: Go with what you know, and clearly Latin ain't it.
Off-topic? Sure. As I like to note, however, it's my blog.