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Meaningless Campaign Rhetoric

Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 17:21 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

One of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s biggest weaknesses, along with his lack of any significant experience or record, is his tendency to use empty slogans in lieu of substantive and developed policies. In our sound-bite-driven world, all politicians do this to some extent, but Obama has raised it to an art form and built his campaign pretty much entirely on fluff. I thought it might be fun to periodically feature a vacuous example of nothing-speak, most of which I anticipate coming from Obama and his surrogates, although in the interest of balance, I’ll try to hunt down a few examples from the John McCain campaign as well.

To kick off the exercise, I present an article from Autoblog in which Obama pledges his support for a great big wet kiss squarely on the lips of Detroit motor vehicle manufacturers in the form of billions in federal aid. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

The headline (“Obama pledges $4b in aid for Detroit automakers”) is misleading, as Obama himself didn’t actually propose the aid, but rather gave vocal support to a measure proposed by Michigan’s two United States senators. But Obama didn’t let that detail deter him from using the issue as an opportunity to present some Meaningless Campaign Rhetoric:

Presumed Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama told the UAW in a letter that he supports the $4B in federal aid, stating that he would “provide real solutions necessary to help this industry compete and win in the global economy.

Isn’t that just precious? Obama is going to provide real solutions, apparently as opposed to fake solutions (if they were fake, they wouldn’t be solutions, would they?) by giving billions of dollars to help the American auto industry keep producing the same products that the market doesn’t want to buy, i.e. big gas-guzzling vehicles that don’t hold their value on the resale market and are expensive to repair.

How is this plan, sure to be a disincentive to the industry to be more responsive to the market, a “real solution” to any problem? Sure, it may delay the inevitable, but when is the last time you can remember a federal corporate hand-out doing any significant good? Wouldn’t corporate tax credits in exchange for producing more fuel efficient vehicles be more effective and light a fire under the automakers’ asses to act with some urgency?

As for what other “real solutions” Obama is talking about, we’re left to our own imaginations on that. Which is probably the point. If he doesn’t make too many specific promises, he can’t be held responsible for breaking them, something that evokes the disdain of the electorate who find themselves feeling cheated. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.

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Categories: politics, stupidity
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