Monday, September 21, 1998

Week of 09/21/1998

Understanding Clintonspeak
If Only Orwell Were Alive Today..
- by David Matthews 2

In 1948, George Orwell wrote the classic "1984" - a depressing tale about a futuristic society run by committees, governed by "Big Brother," and always a part of a war that only existed in the media. I seriously recommend this book for anyone who has questions about the way we are being governed today, be they liberal, conservative, or libertarian. (I would include the moralists, theocrats, and authoritarians, but they’d only write off the book as being strictly amateur.)

One of the key elements in Orwell’s story is the use of "doublespeak." That’s the use of words that are completely opposite to their intent, such as "slavery is freedom" or "wrong is right." No doubt, if Orwell were alive today, he’d get a kick out of knowing that our politicians are now masters of doublespeak. So much, in fact, that the only way the American public knows when a politician is lying is when he’s opening his mouth.

But when it comes to the masters of doublespeak, or as I refer to as speaking in 100% pure methane, there is none better than "Der Spinmeister," President Bill Clinton. Matter of fact, if Orwell were alive today, he’d probably write a sequel called "1996" and pattern his Big Brother after Clinton and his Big Babysitter policies.

With that in mind, let’s go over some of President Clinton’s brand of 100% pure methane - what he said versus what he means. Bear in mind that these quotes are not in order, and given the nature of the politician in question, it’s almost impossible for anyone to really know what Clinton means by what he says. But you can get a hint of it my measuring what he says with what his administration does.

When Bill Clinton Said..

What Bill Clinton Really Meant Was..

"I feel your pain." "You don’t know what pain is yet. Just wait until I take your pain and impose a new level of government bureaucracy and tax you up the butt for it! Then you’ll know what pain really is!"
"We need a Patient’s Bill Of Rights" "I really need to find a new way to get my wife’s health care plan into action, so if I try to pretend it’s some patriotic necessity, you’ll be foolish enough to get Congress to pass it."
"Yes, I tried marijuana, but I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t like it." "I stuck around in a room full of potheads, the stink made me sick to my stomach. I tried what I thought was a lit joint, until someone pointed out to me that I was trying to take a hit off the incense. Boy, did I look like an idiot!"
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.." "I did not have sex with that woman sitting just two rows from the front.. and what did you say your name was.. Lewinsky? Boy does that sound familiar… Are you related to Monica?"
"I’ve said to myself and to the nation that I’m sorry.." "I’m sorry I got caught in the most embarrassing lie of my life, but if I apologize enough times, I’m sure you’ll forget about all the other lies I’ve told."
"It’s time for me to do the job that the American people elected me for." "Once I figure out what my job is, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to do another fundraiser for the Democratic party!"
"We need to build the bridge to the 21st century." "I need you to keep thinking about the 21st century while I start turning this country into 1984."
"Our marriage has had some difficulties.." "Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I’m out of the dating pool!"
"We need an Electronic Bill Of Rights.." "I really need to regulate the Internet, and to Hell with the REAL Bill of Rights!"
"Working parents need help to make ends meet.." "If you think we’re going to fix the tax code and do it right, you’ve got another thing coming!"
"I know in my campaign for president I promised the American families relief in the form of tax cuts…" "Do the math.. tax cut means less tax money for me to play with. That means I can’t spend that money on my pet programs. So I have to decide between fulfilling my campaign promise and fulfilling the promises I made to my new friends in Washington. Sorry, but you lose!"
"We must do everything possible to curb teen smoking." "Cigarettes that is.. we’ll leave cigars alone for now.."
"I believe I still have the moral leadership necessary to continue as president.." "Compared to the piousness and hypocrisy of the folks who would try to impeach me, I’m a paragon of virtue!"
"I, William Jefferson Clinton, do so solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States of America, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God!" "I promise you that when I leave office, I’ll be in all the history books for one reason or the other. As for the Constitution.. well, I’ll just treat it as everyone else in Washington has treated it - to be void where prohibited by law. And may God help you all when I’m through!"

Do you have any more instances of Clintonspeak? Let me know! I’ll post any new instances you send me!

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