THE OBAMA ‘RULES’ SLIDES
May 13, 2008 — IF Barack Obama gets his way, the Oxford English Dictionary will update its definition of “distraction” by the end of the campaign: “Diversion of the mind, attention, etc., from any object or course that tends to advance the political interests of Barack Obama.” After his blowout win in North Carolina last week, Obama turned to framing the rules of the general election ahead, warning in his victory speech of “efforts to distract us.” The chief distracter happens to be the man standing between Obama and the White House, John McCain, who will “use the very same playbook that his side has used time after time in election after election.” Ah, yes, the famous distractions with which Republicans fool unwitting Americans. Ronald Reagan distracted them with the Iranian hostage crisis, high inflation and unemployment, gas lines and the loss of US prestige abroad. The first George Bush distracted them with the notion of a third Reagan term, plus the issues of taxes, crime and volunteerism. After an interlude of national focus during two Clinton terms, another Bush arrived wielding the dark art of distraction. Forget “bitter,” Obama must believe that most Americans suffer from an attention-deficit disorder so crippling that they can’t concentrate on their own interests or values. Obama has an acute self-interest in so diagnosing the electorate. His campaign knows he’s vulnerable to the charge of being an elitist liberal. Unable to argue the facts, it wants to argue the law, defining his weaknesses as off-limits.
Barack Obama isn’t the first politician to come up with his own version of the English language. Bill Clinton fiddled with the meaning of the word “is” though out his impeachment proceedings. John Kerry turned a whole sentence on its end with,” I was for it, before I was against it.” Now the Junior Senator from Illinois has come up with his own new rules for the English language, his own version of the word Distraction: