Political Rhetoric: What to Watch for in the State of the Union

In case logic gets a little lost during tonight’s speeches (both the State of the Union and the Republican response), it might be useful to once again provide another little primer for those less familiar with political rhetoric. This may help sort through the nonsense.

First, if a politician says they favor “investing” in this or that government program, they really mean they want to spend more money (money the government really doesn’t have these days). When they do not favor the program, they’ll actually call it spending – but maybe add the adjective “wasteful” in front of it for the effect.

obama_rubio_1Second, notice the use of the word “access.” It’s one of the most used political catchphrases these days. When Party 2 says that Party 1 wants to deny Person X “access” to B, what that means in actuality is that Party 1 has no problem with Person X buying their own B, but it does not want to make a law forcing Persons Y and Z to pay for Person X’s  B.

Third, watch out when Party 2 says all of our problems are the results of Party 1’s policies, or vice-versa. That is seldom ever really the case. There is plenty of blame to go around to indict both parties.

Fourth, if instead of detailing their policies, you hear a politician tout a one or two-word “bumper sticker” slogan, ignore it. There is a reason the Constitution was, and actual laws are, written in full sentences.

Fifth, if you learn anything from a politician it is that individuals are never really responsible for their actions. What/who is to blame? Other people, their parents, “society,” their childhood, their economic conditions, or even inanimate objects (and those that manufacture them). Just not individuals – especially if those individuals just so happen to typically vote for the politician.

And lastly, but most importantly, try not to take anything said by a politician of either party too seriously – especially in connection with the annual laundry list of policy proposals known as the State of the Union and the typically less-than-memorable response from the opposite party. That same politician’s actions in subsequent months and years will likely completely contradict their words.

One Response to Political Rhetoric: What to Watch for in the State of the Union

  1. The Bossman says:

    Give that man a raise!

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