Saturday, November 15, 2008

Linguistic Gymnastics

There was an interesting bit in last week's Weekly Standard by Senior Editor Andrew Ferguson that cleverly illustrated President-elect Obama's rhetorical skills. The whole article is worth your time, but this bit here was what stuck with me:

In his stump speech, Obama pretended that every major political disagreement was merely the consequence of a false choice. "When it comes to health care," he said, "we don't have to choose between a government-run health care system and the unaffordable one we have now." But of course nobody--really, nobody--thinks those are the only alternatives in the health care debate. "When it comes to jobs," he said, "the choice in this election is not between putting up a wall around America or allowing every job to disappear overseas." Who says it is? "When it comes to giving every child a world-class education," he said, "the choice is not between more money and more reform."

This is more than rhetorical license. By positioning himself as the third way between two absurd alternatives that no one favors, Obama has persuaded voters of his reasonableness and moderation; and thus of his ability to get things done.

Language is the single most powerful tool of the Left, and Obama wields it like a Sith Lord wields a lightsaber. Be very wary not just of what he says, but how he says it. Cloaked within his words, within his phrases, is the key to his power and his popularity. He loves to talk, and anyone who loves to talk will eventually be tripped up by their own loquaciousness.

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