BRYCE ON POLITICS
- The president’s rhetoric has become rather predictable.
President Obama’s speeches have become rather routine and predictable. They remind me of a jukebox, a device from a bygone era, whereby you put in a quarter, press a numbered button, and hear your selected tune. Smart phones, MP3 players and iPods have since replaced the jukebox, but you get the idea.
I do not believe I have heard anything original from the president in a long time, basically recycled talking points written to illicit Pavlovian responses from his audiences. However, I do not believe people are drooling anymore, at least not according to his recent popularity polls.
To prove my point, I have gone back through many of the president’s speeches and noted his more popular talking points. I am sure you have heard them all before, but what do they mean or how does he use them?
1. OBAMA – “The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
TRANSLATION – “Once I’ve hooked them, I can have my way with them.”
2. OBAMA – “We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will. We’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress.”
TRANSLATION – “I refuse to talk to those idiots in the Congress.”
3. OBAMA – “I’m happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans. What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested, and they have failed.”
TRANSLATION – “It’s Bush’s fault.”
4. OBAMA – “We can’t change the way Washington works unless we first change how Congress works.”
TRANSLATION – “It’s not me, it’s them, right?”
5. OBAMA – “Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work. There is the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to make government so big, it will take years and a truckload of elephant guns to bring it back down.”
6. OBAMA – “What our friends on the other side of the aisle do not accept is the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.”
TRANSLATION – “I am the all-knowing Meteorologist-in-Chief, and don’t you forget it.”
7. OBAMA – “We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained.”
TRANSLATION – “Only I understand the American people, not the evil Republicans.”
8. OBAMA – “Let’s remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe.”
TRANSLATION – “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
9. OBAMA – “I have studied the Constitution as a student; I have taught it as a teacher; I have been bound by it as a lawyer and legislator. America must demonstrate that our values and institutions are more resilient than a hateful ideology.”
TRANSLATION – “And I could really screw up the country more if I didn’t have this hanging around my neck.”
10. OBAMA – “It’s not just enough to change the players. We’ve gotta change the game.”
TRANSLATION – “Constitution be damned.”
11. OBAMA – “We will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists – because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”
TRANSLATION – “Whenever it is politically expedient for me to do so.”
12. OBAMA – “I think the American people have a generous instinct. They understand that we’re a nation of immigrants. But if those folks are going to live in this country, they have to be put on a pathway to citizenship that involves them paying a fine, making sure that they are at the back of the line and not cutting in front of people who applied legally to come into the country.”
TRANSLATION – “Actually, we’re just going to open the floodgates and make them all Democratic voters.”
13. OBAMA – “I’ll be a President who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable for every single American.”
TRANSLATION – “The check is in the mail.”
14. OBAMA – “As President, I’ll invest in renewable energies like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of homegrown bio fuels.”
TRANSLATION – “And neglect our natural resources thereby making us more dependent on external energy resources than ever before.”
15. OBAMA – “Any strategy to reduce intergenerational poverty has to be centered on work, not welfare–not only because work provides independence and income but also because work provides order, structure, dignity, and opportunities for growth in people’s lives.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to quadruple the welfare state and let you pay for it.”
16. OBAMA – “The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.”
TRANSLATION – “I want to tax you to death.”
17. OBAMA – “In a world that’s more and more interconnected, we all have responsibilities to work together to solve common challenges.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to let the terrorists have Iraq.”
18. OBAMA – “Opponents of health reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care.”
TRANSLATION – “Thank you, thank you; you’re a great audience. Now, did you hear the one about…”
19. OBAMA – “We cannot build the 21st-century military we need, and maintain the fiscal responsibility that America demands, unless we fundamentally reform the way our defense establishment does business.”
TRANSLATION – “I love it when they salute me and I don’t return it.”
20. OBAMA – “It’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.”
TRANSLATION – “There, I’ve said it; I’m a Socialist.”
In addition to being predictable, the president’s speeches seem to be saying, “The Congress is a bunch of unreasonable idiots. I am the only one who knows what he is doing. Trust me and I’ll take care of all of your problems, you cattle.” This says a lot about his powers of negotiation.
The president probably doesn’t believe half of what he says, but these are sound bites which have been polished and are easy to remember. The fact they are predictable though, reflects his disregard for the American people. They are also useful as a means to distract people. The only problem is we will likely hear these reruns until the end of his presidency. That’s still two years away.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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