|Marion Davies in King Vidor's Show People (1928).|
Speaking of Ross Douthat and the rhetorical strategy of "I'm not saying—just saying", here's cand. doc. Fredrik De Boer, literally a student of rhetoric, with an elegant variation: "I don't say it, I've never in my life said it, but some of my friends say it, and evidence shows that they are right":
I’m regularly accused of believing things that I’ve never said and don’t believe. That’s largely a facet of the fact that, on the internet today, arguing with people is really a matter of misrepresenting what they’re saying and then attacking the misrepresentation. One of the most constant of these is that I say “both parties are the same.” I’ve never said that. Ever. In my life. But over time, the claims of friends who do say that have been vindicated over and over again.