President Obama’s Lexicon of Rhetorical Devices
President Obama’s friends call him the smartest man ever to occupy the White House (a dubious claim in light of the fact that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson all had better intellectual credentials or were far superior writers, or both). According to his supporters, his command of the English language is supposedly unparalleled (when using a teleprompter, presumably).
There’s only one problem: Obama is addicted to utilizing language that he has carefully tailored or perverted to obfuscate the truth. In other words, he uses double talk on a routine basis. In order to understand what Obama truly tells us when he speaks to us, it is necessary to grab our Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring and decipher precisely what he means when he uses his pet phrases. This, then, is a list of his favorite linguistic flourishes — and just what he means when he uses them:
"Hope and change": Socialism at home, surrender abroad. Obama uses this talismanic formula when he wants to activate his base, which responds to it like a jukebox when you drop in a nickel.
"False choice": A very real choice Obama wants to pretend doesn’t exist. He uses this when he puts on his "pragmatic administrator" mask. Instead of facing up to the reality that we sometimes have to choose between scientific advances and morality, or between civil liberties and national security, or between environmental regulations and economic development, Obama pretends he can solve these conflicts through some sort of Hegelian synthesis only he is wise enough to comprehend.
"Deficit reduction": Deficit increases. Obama suggests that he will cut the rate at which the deficit is growing — something he has never actually achieved — and acts as though this is actual deficit reduction. It’s the equivalent of a woman spending $2,000 on her credit card, then informing her credit card company that though she won’t pay off her debt, she’ll only spend $1,500 next month.
"Let me be clear": Let me lie to you.
"Make no mistake": See "let me be clear."
"Unprecedented": When he’s doing something beneficial for the American people, Obama claims he is the first to ever think of it; when he’s doing something harmful, he seems to always find a precedent for it in FDR or LBJ.
"This isn’t about me": This is completely about me.
"Hitting the reset button": Refusing to learn from the mistakes of the past and acting as though a fresh start requires utter naivete.
"Reaching out to the other side of the aisle": Totally rejecting all ideas from anyone outside the Obama-approved bubble. Then suggesting that subsequent political impasses are their fault, and that they ought to bend down and grab their ankles to establish a new tone in Washington.
"Failed policies of the past": Don’t blame me! Blame Bush!
"Teachable moment": I screwed something up, now I’ll brag about it.
"Tax cut": Redistribution of money from those who pay a disproportionate amount of taxes to those who pay none.
"Transparency": Deliberate opaqueness, hiding crucial facts from the American public.
"Accountability": Don’t worry, I’ll fire someone.
"Stimulus": Payoffs to friends.
"Shovel-ready jobs": Jobs that no one wants and that last for two months.
"Green jobs": Imaginary jobs.
"Saved or created": Old Obama language used to futz the numbers on jobs.
"Recovery": Continued economic stagnation.
"Jobs funded": Jobs Obama will take credit for, even though he has done nothing to either save or create.
"It won’t happen overnight": It will never happen.
"Cynics": Anyone who doesn’t believe in the Obama radical agenda. Obama uses this word to disparage his critics as angry and lacking in basic qualities of human kindness.
Watch for these phrases while marveling at Obama’s supposed rhetorical brilliance. They shouldn’t be taken at face value, because Obama isn’t a master of pure artistry of the English language — he’s a master at manipulation above all.