From “bailout” to “recovery” and “reinvestment”

More Orwellian language games. President Obama is using pollsters to help shape the language that he uses to present his policies:

Elements of Obama’s approach bear the hallmarks of message testing, like the introduction of the words “recovery” and “reinvestment” to rebrand the “stimulus” package, and aides said the polling has focused almost entirely on selling policy, not on measuring the president’s personal appeal.

A source familiar with the data said a central insight of more recent polling had been that Americans see no distinction between the budget and the popular spending measures that preceded it, and that the key to selling the budget has been to portray it as part of the “recovery” measures.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Nemo

    One of the first rules of persuasion is to know your audience and speak in terms they will accept. Where's the foul? From the attention it's suddenly getting, one would think that this is the first time this has ever been done in American politics.

    On second thought, mightn’t it be “Orwellian” to label every policy rephrasing as “Orwellian”?

  • Nemo

    One of the first rules of persuasion is to know your audience and speak in terms they will accept. Where's the foul? From the attention it's suddenly getting, one would think that this is the first time this has ever been done in American politics.

    On second thought, mightn’t it be “Orwellian” to label every policy rephrasing as “Orwellian”?

  • Purple Koolaid

    I prefer corporate welfare, but I can see why Rahm nixed it.

  • Purple Koolaid

    I prefer corporate welfare, but I can see why Rahm nixed it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Veith Veith

    Read Orwell's Politics and the English Language, where he explains and illustrates the difference.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Veith Veith

    Read Orwell's Politics and the English Language, where he explains and illustrates the difference.

  • Nemo

    Link broken. Essay available here: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/engl

  • Nemo

    Link broken. Essay available here: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/engl

  • Nemo

    But why call it “Orwellian” when we can laugh at it? The critique commits the error.

    “A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?”

  • Nemo

    But why call it “Orwellian” when we can laugh at it? The critique commits the error.

    “A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?”

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    The Obama folks have substituted "Overseas Contingency Operation" for Bush's "Global War on Terror" and "Man Caused Disaster" for "Terrorism."

    I could go along with language in the Obama administration as a "Man Caused Disaster."

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    The Obama folks have substituted "Overseas Contingency Operation" for Bush's "Global War on Terror" and "Man Caused Disaster" for "Terrorism."

    I could go along with language in the Obama administration as a "Man Caused Disaster."

  • Efrem K. Sepulveda

    I saw Nacy Pelosi on Larry King takling about "investment" in her talk about the stimulus. Where's Jaye P. Morgan and Chuck Barris when we need them cause they need to be gonged.

  • Efrem K. Sepulveda

    I saw Nacy Pelosi on Larry King takling about "investment" in her talk about the stimulus. Where's Jaye P. Morgan and Chuck Barris when we need them cause they need to be gonged.


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