Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obama: From Crafter of Hope to Monger of Fear

In his presidential campaign, when Barack Obama resuscitated the phrase "just words" in a speech defending his lack of leadership experience, he hit the nail on the head. In the business of politics, words, for better or for worse, make all the difference.

For example, Obama's campaign theme was HOPE. He carried a message of hope, even without any backing of substance. His words, though lacking the weight of logic and reason, made a huge difference in getting him elected.

Recently, Obama's words helped to push through the biggest governmental power grab in generations--again abandoning sound reasoning in favor of soaring rhetoric. Or, in this case, fear mongering.

In the Wall Street Journal, Bradley R. Schiller expounds on the president's recent rhetorical tactics:
President Barack Obama has turned fear mongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fear mongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.
Today the party in power has abandoned sound legislation for political gain, empowered to do so by a president who has mastered the rhetorical skills needed to persuade an increasingly weak-minded electorate. I don't hold out a lot of hope for our children.

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