Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, Part 1

Polls and pundits are praising President Obama for his speech last night as audiences gave the President high marks for his delivery. But was it the President's plans or his rhetoric that people were approving? They may not be the same thing.
Conservative words for a liberal agenda

By John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin
February 25, 2009

In his programs and promises, President Barack Obama Tuesday night offered the nation by far the most expansive agenda for the national government in decades.

In his words and mood, however, Obama presented this breathtakingly ambitious vision in a way intended to convey caution, moderation, sobriety.

The 52-minute address outlined more commitments by the public sector, more intervention into the private economy, and more spending than anything Washington has undertaken at least since the Great Society and more likely the New Deal.

The substance reflected Obama’s bet that the country—alarmed by the economic crisis, repelled by the failures of the president who preceded him—is ready to move in a decisively more liberal direction.

The rhetoric, by contrast, reflected his apparent belief that most Americans remain instinctually conservative, leaving him and his agenda acutely vulnerable to backlash. ...