I’m reading Byron’s helpful piece on what I’ve decided to call Obama’s Monster Zero budget (i.e. bigger than Godzilla, from another planet, and with a monstrous number of zeros at the end: 3,800,000,000,000), and there’s this absolutely typical line from Obama:
“I’ve said repeatedly that getting health care costs under control is essential to reducing budget deficits, restoring fiscal discipline, and putting our economy on a path towards sustainable growth and shared prosperity,”
“I’ve said repeatedly,” “as I’ve said before,” “I have said many times in the past”: Obama uses locutions like these as if they are dispositive. Ohhhh, he’s said it before, it must be true! Never mind that what he says he’s said before is often not what he actually said. As — heh — I wrote before:
On the troop surge, Obama’s position has changed countless times, but he says it’s unchanged. Worse, he has this grating habit of prefacing his new positions with something like “as I said at the time.” But he didn’t say “it” at the time, he said the opposite of “it.” But saying that he said “it” is, to him, the same as having said “it.”
Now, what bothers me isn’t that he’s saying the same thing over and over again. Presidents do that all the time. Politics is about “staying on message” and all that. And he’s no worse, and probably better, than many when it comes to repeating himself. What bothers me is that he thinks he needs to add this “I’ve said this before” stuff everytime. Sometimes, it’s like he’s exasperated with people for not listening to him better. You rubes, weren’t you paying attention to pancake breakfast speech last June in Iowa? It comes off as a kind of parental exhaustion. Other times he sounds like all he needs to do is remind people that he’s said something — The One has spoken — and that should settle things. Either way, it grates.