This week, as President Obama prepares for a big jobs speech (yet again!), even his partisans have begun to lose hope that he’s going to have any new or effective ideas about how to create jobs in America’s stalled economy. But one thing is certain: Whatever he says, it will be cloaked in euphemism.
There’s an old cliché insisting that fuzzy speaking means fuzzy thinking. Somehow, however, the Obama Administration has managed to turn the aphorism on its head. The President and his supporters resort to the use of euphemisms not because their thinking is fuzzy, but because they believe that ours is.
Take, as an example, the host of euphemisms that’s been trotted out as part of the Obama Administration’s approach to the war on terror. Since 2009, “rogue states” have become “outliers”; vague phrases like “overseas contingency operations,” “man-caused disasters,” “countering violent extremism” and – most recently – “kinetic military action” have entered the national lexicon.
It’s not an accident, and it’s not because the administration is unaware of the ugly facts about the war on terror; in fact, President Obama has retained most of the Bush-era policies. It’s because members of the administration hope that watered-down language will help Americans forget the existential threat our country still faces from Islamic jihadists – and thus more willingly accede to a less powerful, less exceptional America, content to “lead from behind.”
Similarly, when the President addresses the nation on Thursday night, be prepared to hear a lot about “investment” rather than “government spending.” The term “stimulus” – discredited by his earlier, failed almost-trillion-dollar boondoggle – will be replaced with the innocuous-sounding “targeted measures.” Realize that when he advocates higher taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” he’s really talking about individuals earning more than $200,000 per year, or couples earning more than $250,000. And just know that when the President invokes “revenue enhancement” and “shared sacrifices” and “a balanced approach” and “making spending reductions in the tax code,” he’s trying to make his single-minded obsession with tax increases more palatable to a government-weary, overtaxed electorate. Put simply, however novel (or creative) the words, the song will be the same: More taxing, more government spending, and more efforts to “spread the wealth around.”
Certainly, per the old cliché, it would be dispiriting to believe that President Obama’s constant resort to euphemism is a result of fuzzy thinking. But it’s even more unpleasant to know that it’s part of an effort to obscure a far-left agenda to which Americans are deeply (and increasingly) hostile. And most of all, it’s profoundly insulting to realize that the President thinks that we are “intellectually challenged” (read: stupid) enough to fall for it.
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