It is revealing that during president Obama’s jobs speech, he used the word “we” more than 90 times. This differs from many of Obama’s former speeches where the word “I” was egotistically predominant. In this jobs speech, he only used “I” about 24 times. Is this significant?
Perhaps he is trying to distance himself from the current economical problems. Although his job speech had the ambiance of a campaign speech, he seemed to be trying to pass himself off as just another average American citizen tired of the morass of Washington. Continually stating “we” allowed him to wash his hands of personal responsibility for that morass.
Interestingly enough, there was an implied admittance of failure in Obama’s speech. After months of trying to put a positive spin on the economy, Obama finally admitted that “we” face an “urgent time” in this “economic crisis”. He admitted that recovery will not be driven by Washington, but by businesses and workers. For someone who has demonstrated a belief that government is the answer to everything, this is an astonishing reversal and it implies that his past attempts to have government fix everything have failed – and they certainly have.
Using “we” is an attempt by Obama to sidestep the spotlight of blame. He stayed away from blame so far that he didn’t even blame Bush, his favorite scapegoat. That, too, is a reversal, and admittance that “we”, the people, are very tired of hearing him blame Bush for everything.
Then, again, Obama could not stay away from his favorite solution: more taxes. Taking a page out of Pelosi’s strange book, Obama told us that “we” must pass this bill before “we” find out how it will be payed for. This, of course, will mean more taxes, an admission on his part that he is happy to make.
Obama told us seventeen times that we had to pass this bill, almost as many times as he said “I”. One has to wonder if the urgency implied by his repetition is about re-election or the nation’s economy. If he was truly a part of “we” as he tried to convey, he would know that “we” understand fully which one it is.
David J. Hentosh