The Corner

‘Unacceptable’

President Obama announced that the messy rollout of Obamacare is “unacceptable.” Like “game-changer” used in conjunction to threats in Syria and Iran, “unacceptable” does not necessarily mean something will stop. Instead, we should understand the president’s definition of “unacceptable” in its narrowest meaning of “unpleasant” rather than more expansively as an assertion that something will not continue to occur.

In February 2011, Obama characterized the violence in Libya as “unacceptable.” In March 2012, he warned Iran that it would be “unacceptable” for it obtain nuclear weapons, adding “I don’t bluff.” In September 2012, Obama warned that the violence in North Africa that supposedly followed the release of an anti-Muslim video was “unacceptable.” In December 2012, Obama warned that if Syria used WMD it would be “totally unacceptable” (as opposed to just “unacceptable”). The same month he warned Mohamed Morsi in Egypt that ongoing violence is “unacceptable”. In May 2013 Obama warned that it would be “just simply unacceptable” if the IRS in partisan fashion had gone after particular groups.

Given past usage, when he says “unacceptable” I think the president means that the health-care fiasco is kind of bad right now, but not so bad that as commander-in-chief he will ensure the problem is rectified.

 

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More