La couverture de l’élection de Barack Obama a été sans commune mesure avec les élections présidentielles de 2000 et 2004. Jacques Portes explique pourquoi le président des Etats-Unis n’a pas réussi à transformer ce succès planétaire en atout au cours de son mandat. Extraits de “Obama, vers un deuxième mandat ?” (1/2).
AUSTIN, Texas, July 12, 2012 — The Top Political Buzzwords are telling a far different story than either campaign is presenting to the American people, One hundred and twenty-days before the presidential election, the Global Language Monitor has found profound differences between the actual concerns of the public and the political narratives of both parties. The Top Political Buzzwords 120 Days Before the Vote, was released earlier today. GLM has tracked political buzzwords associated with the national political scene since 2003 in the process compiling perhaps the largest statistical database of the kind.
The “War Against Women” is next to last at No. 52 even though it figures quite heavily in the Democratic narrative. It ranks just below No. 51 Outsourcing, which is key to the narratives of both parties. Other political buzzwords on the top of mind in the campaigns but in the bottom ten in the survey include: the Bush Tax Cuts, Progressive Politics, the Decline in US Manufacturing, Political Stalemate (in Congress), Angry White Males, and the Obstructionist Congress.
The electorate definitely has a sense that the American Dream Still Alive (No.5.)though it is clearly Disappointed in the Obama Administration (No. 6).
The public is quite mindful of the negative tenor of the debate, reflected in the rankings of Toxic Politics (No.2), Haters and those who label their opponents as -phobic (such as Christophobic), (No. 15), and the Politics of Fear (No. 23). Perhaps this helps account for the fact that enthusiasm for the campaign is tempered by non-enthusiasm (Nos. 17 and 18).
The Top Social Issue in the survey was Pregnancy Reduction and Sex-selective Abortion at No. 25, the debate on which crosses the Progressive/Conservative chasm, though neither seems much discussed on the campaign trail.
Both parties would do well to note that Romney’s Wealth is dead last; the electorate no-doubt inured to the fact that US presidential candidates are frequently wealthy (for example, the Bushes and John Kerry each had fortunes equal to or larger than that of Mitt Romney). Though Mr. Romney should note that Mormonism in Politics is No. 11.
“The narratives of both political parties are becoming further and further removed from the actual concerns of the American voters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “This is happening because they focus on smaller and smaller segments of voting population, writing off states, demographic segments, and entire geographic regions in the process.”
Highlights from the analysis include:
The top priority is the Current US Economy (1)
Responsibility for the Current US Economy is assigned to Obama (1)
Responsibility for Great Recession is assigned to Bush (7)
The name Obamacare is favored over the Affordable Healthcare Act by a 25:1 margin (3, 42)
The hot button top Illegal Aliens is relegated to the No. 21 position
The Affordable Healthcare Act [is recognized] as a Middle-class tax (25)
Bain Capital is pushed into the background at No. 27
The recent Supreme Court Affordable Healthcare Act ruling and Chief Justice John Roberts appears at a modest No. 32 just below Hydraulic Fracturing (31).
The issues of the The 1% registers at No. 36, Super Pacs at No.37,and Teachers Unions at No.38.
The Top Political Buzzwords follow:
Current US Economy (with Obama Ownership)
The American Dream Still alive
Disappointment in Obama Administration
Bush Responsible for Great Recession
The Iraq War
Wall Street Bailout
Mormonism in Politics
Rise of China
US Debt Crisis
Middle Class Whites
Identifying opponents as Haters (or -phobic)
Transparency in Government
Excited about Presidential Election
Not Excited about Presidential Election
The Euro Crisis affecting US
Politics of Fear
Middle-class tax (Affordable Care Act)
Wall Street Occupy Movement
Pregnancy Reduction and sex selective abortion
John Roberts Healthcare
George Bush Responsible for US Economy
Obama responsible for Great Recession
Affordabe Healthcare Act
Bush Tax Cuts Affecting Middle Class
Decline US Manufacturing
Angry White Males
War Against Women
Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word. For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial. However, in its context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspired a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.
The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, Twitter and other social media outlets, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. Because PQI is based on the national discourse, it provides a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time.
President Obama’s State of the Union Address earlier this week provided the Global Language Monitor the opportunity to analyze the changing Obama Narrative since he rose to the national prominence some five years ago. GLM found three distinct narratives with the communication styles supporting each narrative forming arcs of their own, characterized by their specific word choices, styles of delivery, rhetoric, and diction.
Obama 1.0 Narrative
We had Obama 1.0 whose narrative was that of soaring rhetoric, of hope and inclusiveness, and meeting ourselves in the future.
This was the “Yes, We Can!” presidential hopeful who would lead us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, harness Iran, close down Git-mo, bring peace to the Holy Land and then get elected to the presidency. This was the time of short declarative sentences or finely honed sentences that would never end, but who cared? This was the un-Bush and proud to say it. This was yet another ‘New Order for the Ages’”.
Obama 1.0 Frequent Word Choices: Americans, Change, Hope, Dreams, Unity
Then the Bush Iraq war policies were kept in place (or even expanded), Guantanamo remained (and still remains) open. This transformation occurred as the hopes and dreams that Obama represented collided with a very real political reality, of war and terrorism, of K-Street operatives, and healthcare plans that had to be passed it in order to know what was in them.
This was the era when the top political buzzwords included ‘anger and rage’, the residue remaining from the (still-ongoing both then and now) global economic restructuring. GLM tested out the new meme and found that what had been characterized as ‘anger and rage’ was actually better represented as ‘frustration and disappointment’.
Obama 2.0 Narrative
The Obama 2.0 Narrative that emerged from the bitter and prolonged healthcare battle, where the behind the scenes wheeling-and-dealing seemed to equal (or even surpass) the worst in memory. Obama 2.0 was now viewed as an ‘aloof’ president who presided over the decision to ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, expanded Bush’s drone warfare, culminating in the president’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and the nationwide speech he then delivered.
Obama’s speech was considered a turning point by many supporters who longed for a leader who would demonstrate how an engaged president would quickly and effectively reach out to those in dire need during such an event (the direct opposite of the Bush response to Katrina). This was to prove not be the case – and the ‘Spill-Cam’ made it all the worse as the oil spouted forth, 24 x 7, for weeks on end.
The voters delivered their verdict on Obama 2.0 in early November 2010, where Obama’s party was pommelled by historic proportions.
When President Obama delivered his third and possibly final State of the Union address, he used language that seemed to introduce yet another public persona. This would be his third since his emergence into the spotlight in 2007.
Judging from the language used during his recent State of the Union address, the Obama 3.0 Narrative will be very much like those of George W. Bush, with equal portions of the second term Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and even a sprinkling of JFK. The Obama 3.0 Narrative’s word choices are only remotely attached to those of Ted Kennedy (and even Al Gore). Those of Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter were definitely eschewed.
Obama 3.0’s Narrative, according to his word choices and focus was on “American Values,” even citing “America as the indispensable nation” (Madeline Albright’s phrasing) apparently an updated reference to ‘American exceptionalism’, a phrase normally verboten to the American Left, since it can represent cultural imperialism and American political hegemony.
The president also emphasized phrases and buzzwords that are generally considered to skew right:
Mentioned America and Americans nearly fifty times (vs. 11 times in his Inaugural Address)
Defining issue was reclaiming American values.
Offered unvarnished praise for the military
Praised increased oil and oil production.
Preaching fiscal and individual responsibility
Highlighted “More feet on the border than ever before”
Finally, the use of negative words and phrases nearly surpassing that of positive words phrases in the State of the Union address.
Obama Narrative 3.0 is strikingly different than that of his campaign and early administration.
In some ways this could be the Left’s worst nightmare: a potentially transformative president, now turning into a Bill Clinton/Ronald Reagan hybrid.
In other ways this could be the Right’s worst nightmare: Obama as the 1996 Bill Clinton, adjusting to his Mid-term ‘thumpin’ and rushing to the center to win a second term.
GLM used NarrativeTracker Technology in this study. NarrativeTracker is based on the global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what any audience is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, the top global print and electronic media, as well as new media sources as they emerge.
Paul JJ Payack is the president of Global Language Monitor.
NY Times attributes ‘How’s that Working Out for You? to Sarah Palin?
According to Tom Kuntz in the New York Times’ Week in Review (June 18, 2011):
Refudiate this: Sarah Palin’s undeniable impact on the English language. Exhibit A, of course, is the idiom she lent wildfire currency to only last year, by asking at a Tea Party convention on Feb. 6, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?” Witness the meme’s broad cultural reach ever since and — perhaps unfortunate in some cases — its seemingly limitless versatility.
“How’s that working out for ya?” — Herman Cain in the first Republican presidential debate on May 5, belittling rule by Washington politicians.
“Someone really should borrow Sarah Palin’s question and ask [Prime Minister] David Cameron: ‘How’s that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?’ ” — The Observer, London, March 27
“Hey, seniors, how’s that no-tax thing been working out for ya?” — Letter to the editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 10 …
[and it goes on to cite another half dozen instances]
The Global Language Monitor has traced back the meme at least to the 1999 film Fight Club; the phrase, no doubt, can be traced much earlier.
GLM Comment : We think not. But perhaps an unexpected ability to fashion an English Sentence.
One week ago today, the MoJo DC bureau was consumed by the arrival of Sarah Palin’s emails covering the first half of her half-term as Alaska’s governor. As David Corn detailed, there were plenty of interesting discoveries—a less than chilly attitude toward climate change, for instance, and a sometimes obsessive attitude toward media critics (marginal and otherwise).
While we were poring over the documents, though, Michael McLaughlin of AOL’s Weird News was taking a different approach:
AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an [8.5] level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said…
“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.”
Although it’s like comparing apples to oranges, Payack said that famous speeches like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was a 9.1 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” oration rated a 8.8 on the scale.
Having read several thousand pages of the Palin emails, I think apples and oranges might be a bit of an understatement here. But there’s also a bit of truth there: Palin’s written communications are noticeably more coherent than her efforts to explain herself verbally (witness: Paul Revere-gate).
Palin’s Emails: What Her Remarkably Lucid Prose Says About the Art of Teaching Writi
June 16, 2011 | 12:00 am
Sarah Palin’s emails are telling us something about remedial writing classes at our universities and colleges, and it’s not what you think. Call her defensive or parochial based on the cache of her spontaneous writings while serving as governor of Alaska, but
something easy to miss is that Palin, in contrast to her meandering, involuted speaking style, is a thoroughly competent writer—more so than a great many people most of us likely know, including college graduates.
Indeed, her facility in writing proves something one might be pardoned for supposing she was exaggerating about in Going Rogue, her autobiography, in which she limns a childhood portrait of herself as a bibliophilic sort of tot:
Reading was a special bond between my mother and me. Mom read aloud to me – poetry by Ogden Nash and the Alaska poet Robert Service, along with snippets of prose …. My siblings were better athletes, cuter and more sociable than I, and the only thing they had to envy about me was the special passion for reading that I shared with our mother.
That’s right, Sarah “you betcha” Palin was, of all things, a bookworm, excited to learn to spell “different” and winning a poetry contest for a poem about Betsy Ross. And as such, it is predictable that her emails would evidence such casually solid command of the language—even if her oral rendition of it is a different matter entirely.
Once we understand that, it leads to some serious questions, as posed by books getting buzz at present such as Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower by the anonymous “Professor X.” How sensible is our assigning millions of freshmen each year to classes intended to teach them a skill so deeply rooted in unconscious facilitation at an early age?
To get a sense, it helps to see a few of these emails. Because email is written speech, it’s easy to miss artfulness in them. Yet, take this Palin passage: “Even CP has admitted locking up tax rates as Glenn suggests is unacceptable to the legislature, the Alaskan public, this administration, and the Constitution.”
The spelling is flawless—and unlikely to be completely a product of spell-check, which misses errors and often creates others. More to the point, she has an embedded clause (“locking up tax rates”) nested into a main one, with another clause “as Glenn suggests” nested within the embedded one. That’s good old-fashioned grammar school “syntax.” I have known plenty of people with B.A.s who could barely pull it off properly at gunpoint, and several others who would only bother to at gunpoint.
Equally graceful despite its mundane content: “Cowdery telling a kid what’s acceptable and what isn’t inside these four walls??? Puleeeze. A three-pound puppy vs. all the CBC crap that he helped dump around here?” You hear an actual human voice here. We tell some people “I can hear your voice in the way you write”—because it’s unusual for people to be able to “write” themselves. Palin is one of the people who can. [Read More.]
Sarah Palin’s Emails Written At 8th Grade Level — Better Than Some CEOs
The huge cache of Sarah Palin’s emails released Friday offered not only a chance to see what she was writing about during her uncompleted term as Alaska’s governor, but also an opportunity to see how well she writes.
AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an eighth-grade level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said.
“However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5.
“If she were a student and showing me her work, I’d say ‘It’s fine, clear writing,’” he said, admitting that emails he wrote scored lower than Palin’s on the widely used Flesch-Kincaid readability test.
“She came in as a solid communicator,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. The emails registered as an 8.2 on his version of the test. “That’s typical for a corporate executive.”
An example of Palin’s strongest writing came on Jul. 17, 2007 in an email to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell about the controversial Gravina Island Bridge, infamously called the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
“We cant afford it, the Feds won’t pay for it, the general populace isn’t placing it as a high priority … can you diplomatically express that?! Of course we want infrastructure — and this is NOT a “bridge to nowhere” (that is so offensive), but as it stands today with the highest-cost bridge design selected by the Ketchikan community, we need to find a lower-cost alternative [if] a bridge will be built.”
“She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.” [Read More.]
‘Make no mistake,’ Obama is a big fan of his own catchphrases
BY ANTHONY DECEGLIE AND JENNY MERKINMONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011
Statistics gathered by the Global Language Monitor reveal that Obama has said it 2,924 times since he was sworn into office more than two years ago.
Other signature Obama sayings include “Here’s the deal” (1,450 times) and “Let me be clear,” (1,066 times). In a nod to the tough financial times he has faced, the president’s fifth most popular motto is “It will not be easy.”
Obama’s reheated rhetoric has recently come under fresh scrutiny. Parts of his speech warning Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to honor the United Nations’ cease-fire pact were strikingly similar to the words spoken by President George W. Bush when he launched military strikes in Afghanistan.
“Our goal is focused. Our cause is just. And our coalition is strong,” Obama said. Bush, nearly a decade earlier: “Your mission is defined. Your objectives are clear. Your goal is just.”
Make no mistake, The Daily is hoping Obama lifts his creative game and “wins the future” (another rhetorical crutch) when it comes to this public speaking deal. Although we understand it will not be easy.
Scale of Top Sayings (Source: The Global Language Monitor, as of March 25)
#1 “Make no mistake” — 2,924 times
#2 “Win the future” — 1,861 times; 9 times in his 2011 State of the Union address
Summary: What we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level. (This article, which appeared in a slightly differing form earlier this year, is written by Paul JJ Payack and Edward ML Peters.)
Austin, Texas, September 7, 2010 — Originally alluded to as a ‘Financial Tsunami’ or ‘Financial Meltdown,’ the major global media continue to call our current economic condition ‘The Great Recession’. In the beginning, most comparisons were being made to the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s, more familiarly known, simply, as ‘The Depression’ in the same way that many still refer to World War II as ‘The War’. But even these comparisons frequently ended up referring to the recession of 1982, yet another so-called ‘Great Recession’.
The difficulty here stems from the fact that this economic crisis is difficult to express in words because it does not resemble any economic crisis of the past — but rather a crisis of another sort.
In On War, one of the most influential books on military strategy of all time, the Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) stated one of his most respected tenets, “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which is frequently abbreviated to “War is diplomacy carried out by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.
We believe that the reason the “Great Recession” label doesn’t fit now is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out ‘by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.
This fact is entrapping two US presidents, from radically diverging political viewpoints, in the same dilemma: describing an economic phenomenon, that doesn’t play by the old rules. Therefore the difficulty experienced by President Bush as he struggled to describe how the US economy was not in a recession since the GDP had not declined for two consecutive quarters, the traditional definition of a recession, even though jobs were being shed by the millions and the global banking system teetered on the brink of collapse. Now we have President Obama, attempting to describe how the US economy is emerging out of a recession, though the collateral damage in terms of the evaporation of wealth, mortgages, and jobs remains apparently undaunted and unabated.
The regional or global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries and the so-called collateral (or human) damage are all hallmarks of what is now being experienced in the West.
If you carefully disassemble the events of the last decade or two, one can see them as the almost inevitable conclusion of a nameless war that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the embrace of a form of the free-market system by China, India and the other rising states, an almost unprecedented transfer of wealth from the Western Economies to the Middle East (Energy) and South and East Asia (manufactured good and services), and the substantial transfer of political power and influence that inevitably follows.
It currently appears that the Western Powers most affected by these transfers cannot adequately understand, or even explain, their present circumstances in a way that makes sense to the citizenry, let alone actually reverse (or even impede) the course of history. In fact the larger realities are playing out while the affected societies seemingly default to the hope that they ultimately can exert some sort of control over a reality that is out of their grasp and control.
The good news here is that the transfers of wealth, power and influence has proven relatively bloodless but nonetheless destructive for the hundreds of millions of those on the front lines of the economic dislocations.
And it is in this context that the perceived resentment of the Islamic and Arab states should be more clearly viewed. This is especially so as they watch helplessly as the new global reality and re-alignments unfold.
In conclusion, it can be argued that the difficulty in naming the current economic crisis is the fact that is not an economic crisis at all but rather a transformational event involving the global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries along with the associated collateral (or human) damage.
‘Deficit of Trust’ and ‘Numbing weight of our political process’ appear to be keepers
Obama State of the Union at 8th Grade Level; Deft use of Passive Constructions
Austin, TX February 1, 2010. According to an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, the disillusionment, anger, and outrage acknowledged by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been on the rise since Obama’s election in November 2008.
“Much has been written about what the President in his State of the Union message called the ‘numbing weight of our political process’ and the ‘deficit of trust’ it thus engenders,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst. “The disillusionment, anger and outrage should not be a surprise, especially to students of political language, who have been analyzing what is being said in the political realm over the last 18 months. (That this comes as a revelation to our political elites, however, should serve, once again, as a sobering lesson or, even, cautionary tale.)”
Though little noticed by the media, GLM found that in early February, just weeks after the Obama inauguration, the ‘words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown were drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008’.
The representative fear-related words chosen: Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate and/or Desperation. In its analysis of the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election, GLM found that those words were used with 18-23% more frequency than compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003. (Even the word fear, itself, was at some 85% of the level it was used in the aftermath of both the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the onset of the Iraq War.)
In a separate but related study released in late March, Global Language Monitor found that the word ‘outrage’ had been used more in the global media that month than anytime this century, with the previous benchmark being the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In particular, the word was used in association with the AIG bonuses, which had recently been distributed.
GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events: the 9/11 terrorist attacks in, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.
The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media:
1. AIG Bonuses, 2009
2. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,
4. Iraq War, 2005
State of the Union Linguistic Analysis
In an evaluation of the State of the Union message, GLM found that the President used the passive voice to deflect responsibility (a time-honored SOTU tradition), and according to the White House transcript there was an overabundance of semi-colons (two dozen plus), some used correctly others in a baffling manner. And then there was the grammatical lapse in disagreement in number: “Each of these institutions are (sic) full of honorable men and women ….” For the record, the President’s address came in at the 8.6 grade level, use of the passive was about 5%, the Grade Level was 8.6 (a bit higher than his Grant Park speech), and reading ease at 62 on a scale of 100 (not as easy to read as to hear).