Politspeak

Politicians are of course accustomed to spin every fact and carefully craft every public statement, attempting to insure that absolutely nothing negative, embarrassing or revealing is said (a habit that unfortunately has spread to NFL head coaches).  The result is that a minimum of information is conveyed, and what there is is wrapped in platitudes and fine sounding nothing.  But there is a sort of code that can be recognized and deciphered, although it is not as precise as that used by the military, which after all must generally deal with verifiable concrete facts (collateral damage – dead innocents; degraded military unit – bodies blown all over the countryside).  Here is a sampling, many of them fairly familiar.

1. I want to spend more time with my family/explore new opportunities.  (Polls show I will not be reelected/They just fired my ass.)

2. Mistakes were made.  (I or someone under my supervision screwed up.)

3. The American people want…  (My party wants…)

4. We need to energize the base.  (We need to pander to the extremists in our party.)

5. The security of Israel is of paramount interest.  (I want to get reelected.)

6. The level of military funding is dangerously low.  (There is an armaments plant in my district.)

7. We must not infringe upon states’ rights.  (My state does not like Blacks/gays/ abortions.)

8. The other party is playing politics.  (The other party does not agree with me.)

9. We must protect the job creators.  (We must protect the filthy rich who fund my campaigns.)

10. I am for protecting life.  (I oppose abortion and support the death penalty.)

11. I am for choice.  (I support abortion.)

12. I am a man/woman of the people.  (My net worth is less than one million.)

13. I am proud to have served my country.  (I’m glad I didn’t have to work for a living/serve in the military.)

14. To the best of my recollection…  (I’m certainly not going to tell you anything incriminating.)

15. I am taking care of the people’s business.  (I am running for reelection/on a junket/lining my pockets.)

16. We must defend religious freedom.  (We must make the country safe for Christianity.)

17. I respect my colleague’s opinion.  (My colleague is full of shit.)

18. At that point in time…  (Then.)

19. We cannot afford to look weak.  (There is an armaments plant in my district.)

20. The government requires these powers to maintain our national security.  (We are the party in power.)

21. The government possesses too much power.  (We are not the party in power.)

22. This is the worst sort of negative campaigning.  (The ad is true.)

23. He is a Washington insider.  (He has been in office longer than I have.)

24. We need to bring the country together.  (Everyone should agree with us.)

25. He engages in class warfare.  (He talks about income disparity.)

26. He is no friend to the poor.  (Please believe that I am.)

27. This is a personnel matter.  (We are engaging in illegal activity.)

28. This is still under investigation.  (We don’t want to embarrass our colleagues.)

29. There are few rotten apples.  (Most of us are guilty.)

30. This bill is filled with pork.  (None of the pork in this bill is going to my state.)

31. I support free speech, but… (I support free speech unless I or my constituents find it offensive.)

32. I support the establishment of democracy.  (I support the establishment of democracy until they elect someone we don’t like.)

33. We have a zero tolerance policy.  (We can’t be bothered thinking/We don’t want to get sued.)

34. We are all in this together.  (I won’t be losing my job.)

35. I love America.  (Where else could I hold a state office?)

36. He is an elitist.  (He uses words I can’t understand.)

37. We recognize the legitimate security needs of Israel.  (We will ignore the international law we are sworn to uphold.)

38. He leaked classified material.  (He revealed something embarrassing to my party.)

39. I have not yet studied the document.  (My staff has not yet told me what I should say.)

40. We have reached across the aisle in a bipartisan spirit.  (We are voting on our own benefits.)

 

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