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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

POTUS Barack Obama And The "Economy --- Of Words", That Is!

Scott Jennings | Obama's habit of saying anything is destroying trust

When I was a radio news reporter, a mentor taught me a phrase that I still use today. He used to critique my scripts by reminding me of “the economy of words,” which meant using fewer words to tell a more concise story.

I’ve probably said or thought about “the economy of words” thousands of times since I first heard it. It worked in radio, and it is a superb rule to remember in political and business writing.

Until recently, the phrase meant one thing to me — a reminder to eliminate unnecessary prepositional phrases and to be more active and descriptive in my communications. Less is more.

But I’ve been thinking about it in a different way lately. In an economy, there is a currency that theoretically has value. In the economy of words, the words are the currency.

Our political system is an economy of words. What our leaders say, therefore, should have value.

But some politicians entrusted with printing the political economy’s currency are turning the system on its head. Chief among them is President Barack Obama, who is making a nasty and trust-destroying habit out of saying absolutely anything to fit the moment’s politics.

Last week, President Obama added another log to the flip-flop fire with a statement supporting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “nuclear option,” which changed the long-standing rules of the Senate and dramatically weakened the rights of the political minority.

In 2013, President Obama says the filibuster is a “reckless and relentless tool” used by Republicans to block his nominees.

He was singing a different tune in 2005, though, when he said that “the American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.”

President Obama just devalued Sen. Obama’s words.

President Obama’s quest to completely mangle any trust the American people might have had in his words continued over the weekend, as his administration entered into a nuclear deal with Iran.

Earlier this year, making his first visit to Israel as president, Obama said, “The United States stands with Israel because it is in our fundamental security interests to stand with Israel. Our alliance is eternal. It is forever.”

That was in March. In November, Secretary of State John Kerry, last seen getting the equivalent of a diplomatic wedgie from the Russians over Syria, cut a deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says is a “historic mistake” that has made the world “much more dangerous, because the most dangerous regime in the world took a meaningful step toward acquiring the most dangerous weapon in the world.”

The value of Obama’s words is not just dropping with the American people, but with America’s allies abroad.

The granddaddy of Obama’s trust-busters is the now infamous claim that, under his health care law, all Americans can keep their insurance plan if they like it. This was an outrageous lie told to sell a bad bill and bolster a re-election campaign. Dozens of congressional Democrats repeated this lie, dutifully following President Obama’s lead.

We now know, thanks to NBC News, that President Obama wasn’t telling the truth and that his “administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.”

Not only was President Obama wrong, but it seems clear that he purposefully misled people. Now, a year after defeating Mitt Romney, a national survey of 2012 Obama supporters found that nearly one-quarter of them would not have voted for his re-election if they had known the truth about that claim.

President Obama’s job approval ratings are now the lowest of his presidency. In fact, the average of the eight most recent national job approval surveys shows that just over 40 percent of people approve of Obama versus 55 percent who disapprove. Some surveys have him in the 30s.

But it is more than just his policy decisions or his use of website technology straight out of 1993 that is driving down the president’s numbers. It’s that his words no longer have value and that people just don’t trust him anymore. As the Righteous Brothers would say, the voters have lost that loving feeling.

President Obama was swept into office on soaring rhetoric, the delivery of which was so acclaimed that it gave the words and the man himself more credibility than a relatively untested politician deserves. How ironic that the same president finds his oratorical ability insufficient to assuage the hurt feelings and broken trust millions now feel toward his time in office.

It goes beyond his policy decisions. Words matter. They have value, unless you repeatedly use them duplicitously. Eventually, that practice catches up with you. It caught up with President Obama a full three years before he leaves office, which is going to make for a politically long and lonely second term in the White House.

Scott Jennings is a partner in RunSwitch Public Relations, and former deputy White House political director under President George W. Bush. He was a staff member on Mitch McConnell’s ‘02 and ‘08 re-election campaigns. His column appears every third Wednesday. He can be reached at

Editor's comment: I found out RATHER QUICKLY during his first term that POTUS in not trustworthy and i abandoned hope for change. He promised better, and we got screwed.

But then again who is the one politician who can be trusted -- really?!

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