An enterprising philologist should undertake to compile a lexicon of Obamaspeak.
Here’s a useful datum, a fragment (as it were) of an Obamanese Rosetta Stone: We all remember the oft-repeated talking point “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. Period.” We heard it, in just those words, scores of times, if not hundreds. Now, though, we have a reliable translation of that line from a native speaker — perhaps, in a sense, the only native speaker — of Obamanese. “What we said,” the President explained last night to a tough and critical crowd made up entirely of his former campaign staffers, “was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” Thus, plainly, period, in Obamaspeak, means if it hasn’t changed since the law passed. That’s a small step toward a comprehensive lexicon, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. An index card entry for the Scriptorium (for people who get the historical reference).
Another linguistic reflection: Back in 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously remarked of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” This seems to be the sort of thing that might be said, in rather a different context, by a medical lab technician. Does anybody out there know whether Ms. Pelosi has such a background? I’m wondering whether we’re seeing cross-fertilization, as it were, between two specialist jargons, one referring to legislation and the other to lab specimens.
In that vein, here’s a brief piece on attempts to dismiss the lament of a California cancer patient who, thanks to Obamacare, is losing her oncologist and who fears that she will die as a result:
And finally, as a refreshing change of pace, I offer a bit of very clear and straightforward speech: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/363121/you-lie-peter-kirsanow .