Political Demagogue V: The Iconic language of a Smart President?



“Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” - -President Obama.

Language is everything in Politics and life! Was the response to Governor Romney’s delusion about the US Navy status, the final sword that shredded into pieces his dream for the White House? Governor Romney had just intoned that we have always had a strategy to fight two wars at once since FDR; and, under Obama that strategy was changing. For Romney, the highest responsibility for the President of the United States is to maintain safety of the people; and, cutting of our military budget would only make the nation’s future less certain and secure. An apprehension that President Obama replied to with: “… Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines” That is a classic iconic response on a Foreign Policy Presidential Debate. How Obama pulled that off is still mesmerizing! And what does the iconic response imply for the future outcome of the 2012 National Election? 

President Obama’s response was iconic in nature in that it portrays Mitt Romney as old school with respect to military build-up and strategy. The President was saying that if the Republican flag bearer had his way, the United State’s military will revert back to the times of horses and bayonets in wars. A sarcastic comment that could only be outclassed with the addition: “only this time, we will have many of the horses and bayonets inserted with computer chips to go!” Seriously, depending on one’s perspective, President Obama’s response could be seen as, call out of the military industrial complex that has always encouraged tons of spending on ammunition and security; and, which had poured gazillion dollars into Mitt Romney’s campaign. It could also be seen as a call for support of a lighter and more efficient military, able to deliver killer blows against any enemy, without spending more of our national budget on overburdening militarization; a spending that is beyond the next ten countries in the world military outlay.

President Obama had repeatedly stressed the contribution of our military and veterans to nation building; he had called for support of the veterans as they return; and, the need to integrate these heroes back to civilian life. Unfortunately, or on the other hand, the Republican flag bearer refrained from mentioning a single word about our veterans and how to help them transition back into civil life. A few watchers of the debate had argued that this was no coincidence, since Governor Romney failed to mention the contribution of our military and veterans during the Republican Party Convention in Tampa. How can anyone expect him to mention the contribution of these fine men and women in uniform during a presidential debate on foreign policy? After all, many of them are part of the 47% that are better wasted on the battle fields, marginalized when they get back home and relegated to moocher’s by the rich Republicans! Failing to mention a word about our two ongoing wars and deserved tribute to our veterans in yesterday’s debate by Mitt Romney is just simple: Romney does not want his absent military service or Mormonism to intertwine with his objective of winning the Presidency!

While many supporters of US military and veterans find Mitt Romney’s non-reference to the glorious service of American heroes abhorring, mothers and wives of our veterans want every voter to remember how ideological telling Governor Romney’s position; especially, for someone who will like to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America. The absence of some level of deference to the veterans from Mitt Romney is painful for some; but for the Obama’s Campaign team, it is probably the greatest gift of all time. No wonder President Obama after debate victory lap in Florida said: "Last night, [Governor Romney] was all over the map. Did you notice that?" … "During the debate, he said he didn't want more troops in Iraq. But he was caught on video saying it was unthinkable not to leave 20,000 troops in Iraq." Just as unnerving, the failure of the Republican flag bearer to make up his mind or mention any word about our veterans, so also was his debate stance not to give credit where credit was due. Are these signs of weakness in a man who wants to be President?

The most startling and probably surprising thing in last night’s debate was Romney’s choice to embrace all the successes and strategies of President Obama on foreign policy. Even, President Obama was bewildered by Romney’s new position, since he had campaigned for a strong military intervention without exception on Iran in the past twelve months. He even embraced President Obama’s stance on no-fly zone strategy on Syria. It is not yet clear if Mr. Romney got the message, as he went about espousing his preference to spend additional money on the Department of Defense; however, the public, like men and women of Toledo, Ohio, got the message loud and clear: Romney does not have your back or that of the automobile industry; rather than spend money to bring jobs back to America, he would continue to invest in companies that ship American jobs overseas. Romney is for increased military spending but no element of gratitude for military services; and, nothing on employing first time responders: teachers, nurses, fire-fighters and other public safety officials!

Further, Governor Romney’s new foreign policy posture embraces all aspects of President Obama’s effort and reinforced the argument that our men and women in the military must now come home. Surprise, Surprise again, from the ever changing Governor Romney, like a used car sales man! Obama eschews Romney to further appreciate the nation’s position that we are tired of foreign wars and would rather spend the money we have been borrowing from China on jobs’ creation rather than multiply wars across the globe. Although President Obama did not put those words in stark terms the way it is rendered here, it is important to understand that there are legions of Americans who support President Obama’s plan on nation building, gradual and sensible military withdrawals, and renewal of investments in projects that will build schools, roads and industrial infrastructures. Obama’s campaign is more on massive infusion of investments in nation building; Romney’s plan is yet to be divulged by the candidate, or so it seems!

Finally, many undecided voters had the summation of both candidates for the 2012 National Presidential elections. As President Obama puts it:

You've now heard three debates, months of campaigning and way too many TV commercials. And now you've got a choice. Over the last four years we've made real progress digging our way out of policies that gave us two prolonged wars, record deficits and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And Governor Romney wants to take us back to those policies, a foreign policy that's wrong and reckless, economic policies that won't create jobs, won't reduce our deficit, but will make sure that folks at the very top don't have to play by the same rules that you do.

And I've got a different vision for America. I want to build on our strengths. And I've put forward a plan to make sure that we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to our shores by rewarding companies and small businesses that are investing here, not overseas.

I want to make sure we've got the best education system in the world. And we're retaining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

I want to control our own energy by developing oil and natural gas but also the energy sources of the future.

Yes, I want to reduce our deficit by cutting spending that we don't need but also by asking the wealthy to do a little bit more so that we can invest in things like research and technology that are the key to a 21st century economy.

As Commander in Chief, I will maintain the strongest military in the world, keep faith with our troops and go after those who would do us harm. but after a decade of war, I think we all recognize we've got to do some nation building here at home, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our Veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

And we've been through tough times but we always bounce back because of our character, because we pull together and if I have the privilege of being your president for another four years, I promise you I will always listen to your voices. I will fight for your families and I will work every single day to make sure that America continues to be the greatest nation on earth. Thank you.”

And in the words of Governor Romney:

I'm optimistic about the future. I'm excited about our prospects as a nation. I want to see peace. I want to see growing peace in this country. It's our objective.

We have an opportunity to have real leadership. America's going to have that kind of leadership and continue to promote principles of peace to make a world a safer place and make people in this country more confident that their future is secure. I also want to make sure that we get this economy going. And there are two very different paths the country can take. One is a path represented by the president, which at the end of four years would mean we'd have $20 trillion in debt heading towards Greece. I'll get us on track to a balanced budget.

The president's path will mean continuing declining in take-home pay. I want to make sure our take-home pay turns around and starts to grow.

The president's path will mean continuing declining in take-home pay. I want to make sure take-home pay turns around and starts to grow. The president's path means 20 million people out of work struggling for a good job. I'll get people back to work with 12 million new jobs.
I'm going to make sure that we get people off of food stamps, not by cutting the program, but by getting them good jobs.

America's going to come back, and for that to happen, we're going to have to have a president who can work across the aisle. I was in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. I learned how to get along on the other side of the aisle. We've got to do that in Washington. Washington is broken. I know what it takes to get this country back, and will work with good Democrats and good Republicans to do that.

This nation is the hope of the earth. We've been blessed by having a nation that's free and prosperous thanks to the contributions of the greatest generation. They've held a torch for the world to see -- the torch of freedom and hope and opportunity. Now, it's our turn to take that torch. I'm convinced we'll do it.

We need strong leadership. I'd like to be that leader with your support. I'll work with you. I'll lead you in an open and honest way, and I ask for your vote. I'd like to be the next president of the United States to support and help this great nation and to make sure that we all together remain America as the hope of the earth. Thank you so much.

Language matters in elections. Summation of position and debate stance are also relevant. Avid political observers and debate watchers tend to look for optimism in a candidate’s language, his spoken and non-spoken words, body language, and probably how the candidate’s message resonates with the voters and their pocket book. If you are a Democrat, you are probably happy with President Obama’s closing remarks; if you are a Republican, you may be skewered for eternity on the inconsistent message of Mitt Romney’s Campaign. However, in the spirit of the message of Mr. Schieffer’s mom, the moderator of the 2012 National Presidential debate on foreign policy: "Go vote; it'll make you feel big and strong."
Good night.
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