Doublespeaking Speaker

In an interview with the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, NBC’s Brian Williams addressed the interruption in Congress yesterday, (1-6-11) by a birther, who shouted that the President is not a citizen. Regarding the President’s citizenship, Mr Boehner said: “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.”

But when Mr. Willams asked our new Speaker of the House, the man second in line for the presidency, if he would be willing to share with the 12 members of the House who challenge Obama’s citizenship his belief that the President was born in Hawaii , he declined. Mr. Boehner’s reply appalled and infuriated me. He said:

Brian, when you come to the Congress of the United States, there are 435 of us. We’re nothing more than a slice of America. People come, regardless of party labels, they come with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. It’s the melting pot of America. It’s not up to me to tell them what to think.”

Excuse me. Isn’t the Speaker the leader of the House of Representatives? Don’t leaders show the way, influence, guide in direction, course, and action, and criticize what ought to be denounced, such as a scurrilously repeated falsehood about our president? If it’s not up to the leader to advise his fellow Republican House members, then whose job is it?

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that our Speaker is employing doublespeak. According to, here is the definition: evasive, ambiguous language that is intended to deceive or confuse.

John Boehner says he wants to hold government accountable, according to his utterances on Fox News Sunday, but refuses to be accountable for himself. For example, he’s working hard to repeal our healthcare legislation. Derisively, he calls it Obamacare, revealing himself as a master of various propaganda techniques including Name Calling, Pinpointing the Enemy, and Plain Folks, to name just three.

In using Name Calling, the Speaker attempts to arouse prejudice against the President by labeling him as foreign. What better way acheive that end than to imply that the birther view is legitimate?

Mr Boehner uses the device of Pinpointing the Enemy when he attempts to over-simplify the complex subject of health care, calling it “a job-killing healthcare law,” or urges the view that the issue is a clear cut one: the Health Care package is bad, wrong, and so is the president, for proposing it.

Finally, the Speaker uses Plain Folks when he attempts to convince the public that he’s just like them, and has their best interests at heart: “We’re nothing more than a slice of America” –when the truth is that his votes show that he allies himself repeatedly with corporate interests.

Don’t take my word for it. Go to John Bonner on the Issues, look at his voting record, and see who his votes have helped. Not you, unless you’re a corporation.

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About Myra

I'm retired in Costa Rica, having lived in Philly, State College, Salem Mass, and Kawagoe Japan. You might call me a career gypsy, but my last and best job was teaching English to some of the best and brightest kids in Philly. I'm new to blogging and websites, and will probably make all the mistakes there are, but now I'm sharing my writing. I moved to Costa Rica in June of 2009 with my husband Jack, my dog Buddha, and Jack's two cats, Hobbes and Noir.
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2 Responses to Doublespeaking Speaker

  1. sherpeace says:

    I was glad to see that the dictionary gave credit where credit is due.
    “1984” is a great book that everyone should read. If you can’t find
    the time or gumption to read it, watch the movie.

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