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In the latest Time magazine’s “2013 Time 100” presenting the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, former governor of Alaska, Salah Palin endorsed Senator Rand Paul for Kentucky as:

“He is a voice of reason awakening the public to what must be done to restore our prosperity and preserve the blessings of liberty for future generations. His brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism attracts young voters, and recently he inspired the nation with his Capraesque filibuster demanding basic answers about our use of drones. - -. There’s more where that came from for this bold Senator with 20/20 vision willing to take a stand for liberty.”


I surmise ‘the bold Senator with 20/20 vision’ here means the senator with the common sense and sense of balance, but I’m not sure.

Is it common to use ‘20/20 vision’ metaphorically for anything like this other than the measurement of visual acuity?

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Yes, '20/20' is used metaphorically to mean highly perceptive. From Dictionary.com:


  1. Ophthalmology. having normal visual acuity.
  2. keenly or acutely perceptive: an opinion based on twenty-twenty hindsight.

This is relatively common (in American English at least). There is even a television show that uses this phrase as its title.

As a side note, I think it's interesting that 20/20 is actually considered the lower limit of normal visual acuity.

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This metaphor arises because people commonly (but inaccurately) refer to 20/20 acuity as “perfect vision.” See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_acuity#Normal_vision – Bradd Szonye Apr 21 '13 at 0:21
The answer of p.s.w.g who says 20/20 vision is considered ‘the lower limit of normal vision’ and Bradd Szonye’s comment – 20/20 vision refers to ‘perfect vision’ confuse me. Is the word, ‘a man with 20/20 vision’ praise for a brilliant and highly respectable person who has a sharp insight, or just a description of an average person with normal sense? – Yoichi Oishi Apr 21 '13 at 3:45
@YoichiOishi in the strictest terms of visual acuity 20/20 is healthy, but not perfect vision. Metaphorically, however, it refers to someone that possesses great insight. – p.s.w.g Apr 21 '13 at 3:53
I wonder if this was also an attempt to reference Senator Paul's pre-politics career. He is an ophthamologist. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 22 '13 at 5:08

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