Monday, January 26, 2009


NEW YORK, New York -- President Obama has gained fame and, to some degree, the presidency thanks to his silver tongue.

But just as Obama is known for his particular eloquence, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is notorious for his particular ... way of speaking.

The lips of Rahmbonics was quick to note shortly after Obama's election victory that Emanuel's lexicon -- Rahmbonics -- relies to an unusual degree on certian pat phrases. Foremost among them (aside from the four-letter, er, phrases) is "kicking the can down the road." As in, "The American people are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer." Meaning that one has to get down to business.

Rahmbonics is all well and fine, I guess, but it's interesting that it appears to be contagious, even for the country's most esteemed political orator. Obama dropped the phrase a number of times in the run-up to his inauguration:
  • A week and a half ago, the president promised to stop kicking some can that has to do with Social Security (canned prunes, mayhaps?)
  • And almost two weeks ago, Obama said he would no longer kick a certain Hamas-and-Israel can (a can of gefilte fish?). See the third quote from Obama in his interview with Katie Couric
What's arguably even more interesting is that this rather-odd-but-suddenly-hot phrase is also getting picked up by the media and NGO leaders that follow Obama:
  • The Heritage Foundation gets its kicks
  • As do ACLU leaders
And even by political opponents (who are possibly emulating him to capture some of his success):
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) may be kicking for the fences (zing) in 2012
Not always all thumbs

So kick me a river. I just wish, however, that Obama would follow the normally lead-tongued Gordon Brown's lexicon and purge the term "war on terror" as the Brits have but Obama, distressingly, has not. The new US president, to the chagrin of the Walter Duranty Report, used the term "war on a far-reaching network of violence and hatred" (i.e., terror) prominently in his inaugural address.

No comments:

Post a Comment