Barack Obama, Deval Patrick, and Hillary Clinton: Together they can
By Kevin Gabriel
For those of us who live in Massachusetts, the fuss over Barack Obama's "plagiarism" of words from his friend, Deval Patrick, isn't news. It has been obvious from the start that Obama's quest for the presidency is modeled after Patrick's feel-good 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Obama's empty rhetoric, with its vague talk of "change" and "hope," is strikingly reminiscent of Patrick's vapid campaign oratory. And Obama's incessant refrain of "Yes, we can," is virtually identical with the defining slogan of Patrick's campaign, "Together we can."
"Together we can"…It always sounded like a half a slogan, as if some ad agency never finished its work. And anyone could use it. After all, it was Richard Nixon who promised, seizing on a sign at a campaign rally, to "bring us together."
Patrick's slogan begged the question of just what it was that "we" could do "together." He never seemed to want to tell us. One now gathers that what "we" can do "together" includes allowing illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition at public colleges, continuing to appoint judges who create new "rights" like gay marriage, maintaining tolls on a road that was paid for decades ago and, most recently, going after nasty companies who are avoiding taxes by hiring contract workers instead of real employees.
What might seem mystifying is that any politician would employ a campaign slogan that tells voters absolutely nothing about what he might do in office. But the solution to that conundrum is obvious: it beats the alternative of actually declaring one's intentions. Raising taxes, destroying the military, ignoring the terrorist threat, nationalizing industries, curtailing individual freedoms – these things don't sell so well.
This is why liberal politicians are always using empty slogans. If they can bamboozle us with feel-good nonsense, we won't notice what they are really up to.
And what they are up to is running our lives. Implicit in "together we can" or "yes we can" is that only "we" can do anything. The individual can't go it alone. He needs the help of "we." And "we" in liberalspeak means the government. Indeed, lurking behind Mr. Obama's apparently good-intentioned calls for unity is a fascist undercurrent that holds individuals incapable of taking care of themselves.
If Hillary Clinton had been smarter she would have charged Mr. Obama with plagiarizing her and not Deval Patrick. Remember that brainstorm, "it takes a village to raise a child?" Well, if we stop halfway through, we have "it takes a village," which is yet another permutation of the same liberal mantra. Dressed up with the folksy word "village," the slogan sounds a lot more palatable than, "It takes a government bureaucracy and the NEA to raise a child."
Mrs. Clinton wants to nationalize the child-rearing business the same way she wants to nationalize the oil industry. Just as Exxon will no longer belong to its stockholders, children will no longer belong to their parents. But she doesn't want to tell us that. Maybe we wouldn't like it.
Barack Obama isn't any different. He doesn't want to let on what he's got planned for us. After he's elected, he can let us in on what "togetherness" really means.
Kevin Gabriel is a freelance writer and consultant living in Massachusetts.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!