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Barack Obama and the Newspeak Presidency

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President Obama gave an important speech yesterday outlining his deficit-reduction plan. I won’t comment here on the specifics of his proposals, partly because there weren’t any specifics, but also because I want to focus on a single line in his speech. The president said: “My plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code.”

“Spending reductions in the tax code.”  It has sort of a nice ring to it, until you realize that what he really means is “higher taxes.”

So, the president wants to raise some taxes. This isn’t at all surprising, it’s perfectly defensible, and absolutely no one was fooled by his doublespeak. So why didn’t he just say it in plain English?  Unfortunately I cannot answer that question; I’m not a credentialed psychologist. But it’s certainly not the first time this administration has purposefully used opaque words and phrases in explaining its policies.  A few examples:

– The Global War on Terror became the Overseas Contingency Operation. Poor choice. Global means everywhere on the planet, while overseas implies outside of the Americas. But terrorists sometimes operate in the Americas. And contingency is simply too broad a term. 

– Terrorist attacks became man-caused disasters. Again, too broad. Lots of things could be considered man-caused disasters. The Carter presidency, for example. The Chevrolet Volt comes to mind as well.

– Bombing the hell out of an oil-rich Arab Muslim country that didn’t attack us became kinetic military action. Prior to the Obama administration, this sort of thing was called a war. In fact, prior to January 20, 2009, this type of activity was often given much more colorful names, such as “illegal war” and “dumb war.” 

The above is not at all an exhaustive list, but you get the picture. Now, it’s a fair point to say that previous administrations have manipulated the language to their perceived benefit as well (“mistakes were made” comes to mind). But the Nixon gang look like pikers compared to the current regime. 

So now I offer my Top Five list of the most likely upcoming addendums to the English language from the Obama lexicon:

5. “Lingering unemployment” will become “improvement-resistant economic upturn for work-lacking families.”

4. “Inevitable fiscal collapse” will become “President Obama’s long-term strategy for winning the future.”

3. “Vice President Joe Biden” will become “expendable.”

2. “Person who believes Obama was born in Hawaii but just doesn’t understand why he won’t release the damn long-form birth certificate and why he’s spent so much money in order to avoid having to do so” will become “SHUT UP, BIRTHER!” [Oh, wait. That one is already in use].

And the top new addition to the English language from the Obama lexicon:

1. “Republican candidate wins 2012 election” will become “racism.”

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About RJ

  • It’s an Irish thing.


  • RJ


    When I read your comment two minutes ago, I wondered two things. How does it feel to have an extra chromosome? What is a 60-year old man doing referring to himself as “TMack?”


  • RJ

    Hey handyman, I thought you were ignoring me from now on? Didn’t you write

    “You deserve to be ignored, which from this moment forward, I will be doing.”

    less than two weeks ago, on this very thread? I guess you just can’t quit me, huh?

  • Blaming this on the ‘overprotectiveness’ of the left is quite a stretch.

    The computer-generated birth certificate is used officially by Hawaii and many/most other states for all official business, including court evidence. It’s all that exists for more recent births. The old-style forms are stored in archives but not considered necessary for official business.

    Pretending that today’s ‘long’ [not very long!] piece of paper ‘proved’ anything that wasn’t proven before is just political rhetoric, not fact-based — just part of the point-scoring mentality that has so corroded political discourse. Yes, on both sides, so what?

  • When I read this piece two weeks ago, I wondered two things. How does it feel to hate someone because of their color? What does “three-time graduate” mean?


  • troll

    …it was part of His plan to create the teaparty

  • He underestimated the stupidity and stubbornness of the ignorant.

  • RJ

    Maybe if the political Left and the establishment media (BIRM) hadn’t been so protective of Barry back when he was running three years ago, he would have felt the need to release the long-form birth certificate back then, and this never would have become a political issue.

    Oh well.

  • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. There wasn’t any.

  • Costello

    It’s a shame so many idiots needed to see it. No wonder this country is such a mess

  • RJ

    Yes, as far as I’m concerned, the “birther” issue is dead. And anyone who keeps harping on this issue is a fact-averse conspiracy theorist.

    But it’s a shame that it took Obama 3 years to do the right thing and be transparent. It’s a shame that it took a reality TV star’s rants to force the President of the United States to be open with the American people. And it’s a shame that the establishment media has gone out of its way to protect him for 3 years, when it’s their job to be curious about this kind of stuff. They are supposed to be watchdogs of those in power, not guard-dogs for those in power.

  • Well? Are you satisfied now? Can you talk about something else, something worthwhile, now?

  • The reason Obama didn’t just say “raise taxes” is because to do so would have been political suicide, not just for him in 2012 but for his fellow Democrats in Congress. Personally, I favor straight talk from politicians without the foggy language. It shows me that they are more concerned about getting things done than winning elections. Unfortunately, few of these types of politicians exist in Washington.

  • I like that butthurt link! That made me laugh!
    It’s the liberal way…just like Kerry and his SF-180. You should know everything about eveybody but them…

  • RJ- I don’t think he’s released anymore documentation because he shouldn’t have to. He has provided documentation of his citizenship that satisfies the law in all 50 states. No one else would be asked to do that. The mere fact that his father was not an American citizen shouldn’t mean that he is held to a higher standard than the law. I think it’s a ridiculous debate because a person born after 1986 with only one citizen as a parent (like Obama would be) is automatically a citizen. That however is not a legal argument. The last thing is that he could provide anything and the true birther movement wouldn’t be convinced so what’s the point?

  • Or in 2008 with Obama on the ballot, apparently.

  • RJ

    Well, if you term it “opponents” (instead of “haters”) vs. supporters, then I think his supporters are outnumbered.

    The four most recent polls listed at RealClearPolitics all have his disapproval number higher than his approval number. Gallup looks like an outlier, and the others are close. But even excluding Gallup, he’s at 50% disapproval in two of the remaining three polls. Not good.

    Anyway, it doesn’t mean much right now; let’s take a look again in about 12 months.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    RJ –

    The Obama-haters will vote regardless. What matters is the proportion of the supporters…which certainly outnumber the haters.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Make it stop. Somebody make it stop.

  • RJ

    Ah. So the crazed birther Obama-haters voted in 2010, but they won’t in 2012, with Obama on the ballot. Gotcha.

  • Obama wasn’t a candidate last November.

  • RJ


    Yeah, it’s a good thing all those crazy Obama-haters have been so busy obsessing over birth certificates that they didn’t have the time to vote last November. Right?

  • zingzing

    “I frankly don’t know how anybody could be incurious about it.”

    as el bicho just pointed out, and as cannonshop said earlier, it does distract the loons, don’t it? it’s like a piece of string to a kitten, or a shiny, shiny object to a mountain girl.

    …3 years spent gazing into well, yelling obscenities to your own echoes while the world continues to spin and obama is president, doing a whole lot of things other than being born somewhere 50 years ago. 3 years well spent, i say. good on you.

  • RJ


    I know you’re ignoring me from now on and all, but Hawaii does in fact have two different formats for birth certificates – an old one and a new one. Obama posted the new one, not his original one.

    From the link Glenn posted:

    The standard “Certification of Live Birth” that Hawai’i health officials now issue – and was posted on Obama’s campaign Web site – has less information than was required on the “Certificate of Live Birth” that Eleanor Nordyke was issued for each of her twin daughters on Aug. 5, 1961 [the day after Obama was born].

    The modern-day birth certificates issued to anyone seeking their Hawai’i birth records have spaces for the names and races of the parents, as well as information such as the time of birth.

    Nordyke’s 1961 birth certificates required much more information, such as the ages, occupations and birthplaces of the babies’ parents.

    I was thinking that maybe the long-form version included a space for “religion,” and Obama was perhaps listed as Muslim because his father was Muslim. This would explain his reluctance to release the long-form birth certificate (he wouldn’t want people to mistakenly believe he is a Muslim). But I’m pretty sure that long-form birth certificates in Hawaii don’t have a place for religion. So his refusal to release it is sort of inexplicable. But then, this is a very secretive individual; even a lot of his college records have been hidden away. You’d think a “genius” like Obama would want people to see his academic records…

  • RJ


    I actually did respond. (You seem to have even read my response.) I just didn’t give an exact number. And there’s a reason for that: I don’t know how much money he spent on “birther” lawsuits. No one, other than his attorneys, does know, and they aren’t talking. How else am I to respond to a question that no one nows the answer to?

    But, logically, if they have hired high-priced attorneys (and they have) who have put in time and effort to fight legal battles (which they have), we are talking many thousands of dollars, at least. So five figures seems perfectly reasonable. Conservative, even.

    That is thousands and thousands of dollars that didn’t have to be spent. So why did he waste all that money simply to hide his long-form birth certificate from the public? This is why some people have questions. I frankly don’t know how anybody could be incurious about it.

  • RJ

    Do you need another one of these, handyman?

  • The doc asked, “How much money has he spent, RJ?” Since you didn’t respond, we’ll just assume you don’t know how much money “so much money” is.

    “Why would they spend a penny of their cash to defend it?”

    Because lawyers don’t work for free, and getting to five figures, assuming that’s the number, at a law firm is pretty easy to do. One reason he might keep it going is because it distracts the idiots from challenging him on real issues. Unless the certificate will help the economy or end one of our wars, who cares?

    The only poll result Obama needs to worry about is November 2012 or if Realist’s wet dream comes true, select primary dates earlier that year. Anything else is insignificant like the people who bring these polls up like they matter.

  • There is no such thing as a ‘long form birth certificate’ in Hawaii, not as some separate type of document. There is a birth certificate. Which has been confirmed as authentic by the state. Copies have been posted.

    Why should he have to release any document you say he should release? You are nothing. You’re a ranting partisan and you don’t even believe there is anything to this claim. You deserve to be ignored, which from this moment forward, I will be doing.

  • It’s [mildly] amusing that conservatives can’t wait to cite the Gallup poll this week, when it is for whatever reason an outlier in the Obama-disapproval number. The usually right-skewing Rasmussen has 49% approval, 50% disapproval.

    The Real Clear Politics average of polls is even closer: 47.1% approval, 48% disapproval. Trends and averages are more meaningful than a single poll. The previous Gallup poll, which is a three-day rolling average, was tied at 46% each, approval and disapproval.

    Glenn is almost right, but I’d tweak the emphasis: Bush Sr had 79% job approval, Apr 1991, and lost; Reagan had 42% approval in Apr 1983, and won by a landslide. It’s all about the unemployment rate and its perceived direction in the first 6 months of 2012.

  • RJ


    The “fact check” you cited does not debunk my premise. It *confirms* my premise. The only thing it debunks is that Obama spent a total of two million dollars (a claim I never made).

    Serious question: Are you just being dishonest here, or are you really unable to comprehend this?

    If the president’s campaign spent $5 or $50,000 defending itself against a nuisance suit or three, what is the significance of that?

    Why would they spend a penny of their cash to defend it? Why waste their donors’ money like that? (And you know quite well it isn’t “$5” we’re talking about here; it’s been at least five figures, if not higher.) Why continue to refuse to release his long-form birth certificate if doing so could save many thousands of dollars in legal fees? It’s a fair question. That’s the significance.

    Orly Taitz is a moron and/or a sociopath. You don’t believe her premise. Yet you keep arguing about it…purposelessly.



  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Have you checked what the poll ratings were at this point in the presidencies of Reagan, Bush, and Bush lite? Not much better.

    But when it comes to presidents, the polls don’t really mean that much until they’re WAY off to the negative or the positive. Why? The important thing isn’t the poll – it’s who the president’s going to face in the next election…

    …and who, exactly, among the current crop of potential Republican candidates do you think is going to stand a chance against him? IMO there’s only ONE that could have stood a chance against him…but Jeb’s forever hindered by his last name.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    If you spent a tenth of the time listening to progressive radio that you do listening to your right-wing echo chamber, you’d find that progressives are not particularly happy with Obama. Why? Because he’s caved in to the right time after time after time…and this is after he gave up the public option on health care without ever trying to bargain for it.

    BUT NO, you think we’re slobbering all over for some more Obama – why? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T THE OBJECTIVITY TO REALLY ASK US IF WE LIKE HIM AS MUCH AS YOU THINK WE DO.

    But why do I defend him? Because as much as he’s wrongly given up to the Right, he’s still light-years better than ANYbody the Right has to offer.

    But don’t let little things like facts get in your way, now –

  • Mystery loves company and at this point President Obama needs some to elevate his interesting results in the polls.


  • The fact that you would selectively quote from an article that debunks your premise and present it as proof of your integrity….well, this speaks for itself.

    You’re only interested in the argument, not in the facts, which are secondary to you if that. If the president’s campaign spent $5 or $50,000 defending itself against a nuisance suit or three, what is the significance of that? Zero.

    Orly Taitz is a moron and/or a sociopath. You don’t believe her premise. Yet you keep arguing about it…purposelessly. And actually think you are winning.

  • RJ


    My article contains no dollar amount either.

  • #7 contains no dollar amount.

    btw, “calling people names and being factually incorrect is what what leftists excel at” is hysterical (or is that “hypocritical”?) coming from a guy who was given a timeout at BC for calling people names and your recent “news” item about Kloppenburg.

  • RJ


    From the article you cited:

    It’s certainly true that the Obama campaign has spent some amount of money opposing an array of lawsuits brought by people who claim that Obama has failed to produce a legitimate birth certificate and is therefore ineligible to serve as president.

    [DNC National Press Secretary Hari] Sevugan confirmed that some of the legal fees were needed to defend the campaign against what he called “unmeritorious” lawsuits, including one that challenged Obama’s citizenship.

    We agree that some amount of money was spent in legal fees related to those [birther] lawsuits — the letter from Bauer to the plaintiff is an example of that.

    – – –

    Yeah, handyman, I “lied.”

  • Here is PolitiFact’s extremely thorough rebuttal of the Trump/Palin/RJ Elliott politically opportunistic conspiracy-mongering lie about the president’s alleged legal expenditures regarding his birth certificate.

  • If you believe the guy was born in Hawaii, what purpose is served by repeatedly bringing up a non-issue?

    Partisan wisecrackery and cheap-shot-shooting is just an addiction for you, a bad habit you don’t know how to break.

    That you choose to use your above-average allotment of brain cells on irresponsible trivia is what is ‘sad, so sad.’

  • Arch Conservative

    “So very predictable. So very sad.”

    After having watched Glenn in action for quite some time now I am convinced that Barack Obama were on prime time CNN sodomizing an eight year old boy on the White House lawn Glenn would come up with some justification.

    Obama is “the one that Glenn has been waiting for.”

    It’s gotten to the point where he’s not even worth acknowledging RJ.

  • …don’t understand why he just won’t release the damn long-form birth certificate, and why he’s spent so much money in order to avoid having to do so.

    How much money has he spent, RJ?

  • RJ

    “Person who believes Obama was born in Hawaii but just doesn’t understand why he won’t release the damn long-form birth certificate and why he’s spent so much money in order to avoid having to do so” will become “SHUT UP, BIRTHER!”

    Thanks for proving my point, Glenn. 🙂

    Anyway, let me address your “points.”

    First, I’m not actually a “birther,” by definition, since I believe the guy was born in Hawaii. But calling people names and being factually incorrect is what what leftists excel at, so I’m not surprised.

    Second, you should maybe try reading the news story you cited. Specifically this part:

    Those who have “direct and tangible interest” are generally limited to the person named in the record…”

    And the person named in the record in this case is Barack Hussein Obama. This, coupled with the paragraph above it, directly contradicts the section of the news article you placed in bold (“One thing that remains unclear is … if he [Obama] would even be allowed to see it if he asked.”) That’s not unclear at all. Of course he would be allowed to see his own birth certificate, and to be issued a certified copy of it, if he wanted.

    Third, I never suggested that I have access, or should have direct access, to his birth certificate. I don’t know where you got that idea.

    So, my comment from the article stands. I believe he was born in Hawaii, but don’t understand why he just won’t release the damn long-form birth certificate, and why he’s spent so much money in order to avoid having to do so.

    Naturally, you fail to address this (or anything else from my article) in your comment. Instead, you respond by calling me a “birther” and telling me to basically shut up about it. Which is precisely how I said leftists respond.

    So very predictable. So very sad.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hey RJ – how about EDUCATING YOURSELF? Here’s information about the law that EVERY birther like yourself ignores:

    In 2001, Hawai’i’s paper documents were reproduced in electronic format but “any paper data prior to that still exists,” Health Department spokeswoman Okubo said.

    Okubo would not say where Obama’s original birth certificate is, but said “we have backups for all of our backups.”

    “Our Certificate of Live Birth is the standard form, which was modeled after national standards that are acceptable by federal agencies and organizations,” Okubo said. “With that form, you can get your passport or your soccer registration or your driver’s license.”

    One thing that remains unclear is whether Obama has a copy of the original 1961 Certificate of Live Birth, or if he would even be allowed to see it if he asked.

    Hawai’i’s disclosure law (Hawai’i Revised Statutes 338-18) states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part on any such record … ”

    The law further states that the Health Department “shall not permit inspection of public health statistics records, or issue a certified copy of any such record or part thereof, unless it is satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the record.”

    Those who have “direct and tangible interest” are generally limited to the person named in the record, the spouse, parent, descendant, or personal representative, or by someone who is involved in marital, parental or death litigation involving the named person’s vital record or other legal reason established by a court order, and various official agency or organization representatives, including the state director of health, according to the law.

    Okay, RJ? READ the boldface – neither you nor anyone else who does not meet HAWAII’s definition of ‘direct and tangible interest’ has access to that original form…and it’s not even clear that the doggone president himself would have access to it!

    That might sound like bureaucratic BS – but that’s the law. Do you really think that when they were writing this law, the Hawaii state government got together and said among themselves, “Hey, let’s all make up this false ‘short form’ birth certificate and we won’t let anybody know that he was actually born in Kenya!”