Obama’s verbal tic

From Andy Borowitz at the HuffPo.

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama’s appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect’s unorthodox verbal tick…

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it “alienating” to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon. “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”…

The president-elect’s stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

“Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can’t really do there, I think needing to do that isn’t tapping into what Americans are needing also,” she said.

Thanks to WN

11 thoughts on “Obama’s verbal tic

  1. Goodness, we are starting to look like one of those radical liberal blogs! Embracing elitism is going so far.

  2. Alphafeminist: it’s all the same thing: Marxism, feminism, elitism, Islam. Full sentences, words pronounced the way elite Harvard physicists do, and other occult demands are what you get when you vote in a liberal president with an unknown background.

    I can hear Rush now, “The thing is, Ladies and Gentlemen, these liberal elites hate common Americans. They can’t stand to hear us speak. They don’t want us to speak. They want schools that turn out students all talking the same way. So called “full sentences.” “Correct pronounciation” is just their pronounciation. We have to talk the way they talk. That’s what you get when you have affirmation action and let people like Barack Obama and his ilk soak up tax payers dollars to go to Harvard.”

  3. Good one. I’m passing this along. Chuckle for the day :)
    I’m so glad I found this radical gay loving, lesbo commie or at least pinko, godless,tree hugging, let’s see what did I leave out…? ummm sexual perverted free lovers and now, ta dummmmmmm Englishperts …
    Have you no shame?

  4. I can hear Rush now, “The thing is, Ladies and Gentlemen, these liberal elites hate common Americans. They can’t stand to hear us speak. They don’t want us to speak. They want schools that turn out students all talking the same way. So called “full sentences.” “Correct pronounciation” is just their pronounciation. We have to talk the way they talk. That’s what you get when you have affirmation action and let people like Barack Obama and his ilk soak up tax payers dollars to go to Harvard.”

    See, I’m kinda torn on this one. While I certainly appreciate having an intelligent, reasonable president for a change, I’m not sure language skills are the best measure of this sort of thing. Not only can everyone make mistakes (eg. the spelling of ‘pronunciation’..!), but the culture we grow up in has a great deal of influence over our communication habits. One person says ‘ask’ and another says ‘aks’, but if they mean the same thing and the listener understands the proposition in question, what exactly has gone wrong?

    Further, I hope we all agree that even if GWB had the speaking skills of Obama he would still be the worst president of our time. Lacking language skills, while good for jokes, simply doesn’t imply the kind of thing we want it to in the case of GWB. It is, imho, the least of his problems.

  5. Hi Jay, I wrote a response to your comment which WordPress seems to have lost.

    You are right, of course, that proper sentences along would not have helped Bush. But there may be something in structurally complete sentences that your example of pronunciation doesn’t address.

    Why would college profs get excited about having a president who speaks in full sentences? Well, partly because of his role as a model for our students. But there are a lot of ways to speak in full sentences. I could read the NY Times out loud and that would do it. And the very facile Rush Limbaugh often uses full sentences. Williams’ syndrome kids can speak very grammatically but (if I have this example right), they often enough just have the grammar without a grasp of the content.

    So we’re actually excited by – I think – a president who has complex sentences with a strong vocabulary that demonstrates an ability to think beyond very standard cliches. And one reason for that is that we know, at least implicitly, that thinking well about very complex problems requires a lot of training. (If Gladwell is right, we’re talking 10,000 hours.) Speech like Obama’s is a good sigh that he’s had a lot of that training.

  6. Bob, you cannot be seriously suggesting that this very intelligent man with a large group of advisers does not know what he is talking about. You might disagree, you might think that you know much better, but the idea that he is that ignorant seems to be so far off the wall that one wants an explanation of why you say that. And a really good explanation is close a hand. You haven’t figured out yet that a lot of the dismissal of Obama is racist.

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