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The State of the Union in Buzzwords

The State of the Union in Buzzwords

Say “freedom”…or not?

When President Obama walks into the House chamber tonight to deliver the State of the Union address, most in attendance will already know exactly which policy items he has chosen as his priorities for the next year. According to a report by the Washington Times, Obama has the worst State of the Union record since Gerald Ford was in office, which says a lot not only about how Washington feels about his leadership, but about how the American people feel about his pet policies.

So, what’s the point of all the pomp and circumstance? Emotionally-triggering buzzwords, of course. Although most of America doesn’t stand at attention when the President makes a speech, people in general know what the State of the Union is, either because they watch the event on TV, or because they media bombards them with clips and talking points for a week after it’s over.

Policy primers don’t win hearts and minds, but soaring speeches serve as a wonderful distraction.

The people at The Atlantic wanted to find out what types of buzzwords Presidents tend to pick up and recycle. The result? An interactive data visualization tool that you can use to find out how many times each President talked about, say, the Constitution:

SOTU constitution chart

Or war:

SOTU war chart

Over the years, Presidents have reflected cultural changes in their speeches. They talk about slavery less, but mentions of women have grown exponentially:

SOTU women graph

Presidents want to use words that resonate, which explains why President Obama focuses on domestic issues and party differences, whereas President Bush (W), for example, focused on foreign policy and the war on terror.

I’ve already said several times that I think we’ll be seeing a buzzword-filled, populist-driven final two years Of the Obama administration. Keep an eye (or an ear) not so much on what policies the President lays out tonight (you know what’s coming), but on the words he uses to describe them—you may learn a lot more about our near future than you would if you just focused on the legislation.

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Comments

middle class? Social Justice? Fair share?

I want to know how many times his majesty uses these words:

Me
Myself
I

I expect the phrase “peace dividend” to appear 0 times.

Count the word “Free” without the “dumb”.

The RNC just released these numbers before the big SOTU 2015 show [*note the RNC/GOP’s total and complete omission of any mentions of Scofflaw Criminal Illegal Immigrant Amnesty or any other mention of Immigration whatsoever. The fix is in…?] :

As Barack Hussein Obama Prepares To Paint A Rosy Picture Of His Presidency, And ‘Legacy’, A Look At The Numbers He Won’t Dare Mention

$18.1 Trillion: Total Debt Under Obama As Of January 20, 2014. (U.S. Treasury Department – Accessed 01/20/15)

$10.6 Trillion: Total Debt When Obama Became President On January 20, 2009. (U.S. Treasury Department – Daily History Search Accessed 01/20/15)

$7.5 Trillion: Amount Added To The National Debt Despite Obama’s 2010 State Of The Union Declaration That He Would Not Leave “A Mountain Of Debt.” (U.S. Treasury Department – Accessed 01/20/15; President Barack Obama, Remarks On The State Of The Union, Washington, D.C., 01/27/10)

$4 Trillion: Amount Of Debt That Obama Once Called “Irresponsible” And “Unpatriotic.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Fargo, ND, 07/03/08)

$1.8 Trillion: Cost Of ObamaCare’s Coverage Provisions Through 2024. (CBO, 04/14/14)

$1.3 Trillion: Total Student Debt Held By Americans. (Federal Reserve Board Of Governors – Accessed 01/14/15)

$869.3 Billion: Total Taxes In ObamaCare. (JCT, 06/15/12; CBO, 04/14/14)

$95 Billion: Cost Of New Regulations Added Since Obama Became President. (American Action Forum, 01/06/15)

$60 Billion: Cost Of Obama’s Community College Tuition Plan Over Ten Years. ( The Associated Press, 01/09/15)

$3.4 Billion: Average Amount Of Debt Added Daily Since Obama Became President. (U.S. Treasury Department – Accessed 01/20/15)

$3.4 Billion: How Much The Construction Of The Keystone Pipeline Would Contribute To GDP According To A State Department Review. (United States Department Of State, 01/14)

46.5 Million: Average Number Of Americans Receiving Food Stamps In FY 2014. (Department Of Agriculture – Accessed 01/20/15)

13 Million: Average Number Of Americans Who Have Joined The Food Stamp Program Since FY 2009. (Department Of Agriculture – Accessed 01/20/15)

7 Million: Number Of Americans Who Will No Longer Have Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Due To ObamaCare. (Congressional Budget Office, 04/14/14)

5.5 Million: Americans Who Have Fallen Into Poverty Since Obama Became President. (U.S. Census Bureau – Accessed 01/20/15)

2.3 Million: Americans Who Are Only Marginally Attached To The Labor Force. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

401,000: Construction Jobs Lost Since Obama Became President. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

321,000: Manufacturing Jobs Lost Since Obama Became President. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

273,000: Number Of People Who Left The Labor Force Between November And December Of 2014. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

$56,492: Current Debt Per Capita Under Obama. (U.S. Census Bureau – Accessed 01/20/15; U.S. Treasury Department – Accessed 01/20/15)

42,100: Number Of Jobs The Construction Of The Keystone Pipeline Would Support Over Two Years According To A State Department Review. (United States Department Of State, 01/14)

$21,724: Increase In Debt Per Capita For Americans Since Obama Took Office. (U.S. Census Bureau – Accessed 01/20/15; U.S. Treasury Department – Accessed 01/20/15)

$4,154: Increase In Family Health Care Premiums Under Obama. (The Kaiser Family Foundation, 09/10/14)

$2,484: Decline In Median Household Income Since Obama Became President. (U.S. Census Bureau – Accessed 01/20/15)

1978: The Last Time The Labor Force Participation Rate Was At Its Current level. (BLS, 01/24/14)

677: Individuals Who Have Been Through Obama’s Revolving Door. (Center For Responsive Politics – Accessed 01/20/15)

215: Rounds Of Golf Obama Has Played Since He Has Taken Office. (Mark Knoller,Twitter Feed, 12/31/14; Mark Knoller, Twitter Feed, 01/04/15)

174: Number Of Days Obama Has Spent All Or Part On Vacation. (CBS News, 12/22/14; Mark Knoller, Twitter Feed, 01/04/15)

100%: Total Debt As A Percentage Of GDP Under Obama. (OMB – Accessed 01/20/15)

65.7%: Labor Force Participation Rate When Obama Became President. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

62.7%: Labor Force Participation Rate In December. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics – Accessed 01/20/15)

65: Number Of Fundraisers Obama Attended In 2014. (Mark Knoller, Twitter Feed, 12/02/14)

32.8: Average Number Of Weeks Someone Will Be Unemployed. (BLS, 01/20/15)

14.5%: Poverty Rate In 2013. (U.S. Census, 01/23/14)

13.2%: Poverty Rate Before Obama Became President. (U.S. Census, 01/23/14)

6: Veto Threats Issued By Obama In The New Year. (The White House Website – Accessed 01/20/15; ABC News, 01/16/15)

0: Actual Sincere Attempts By Barack Hussein Obama To Actually Work With Congress

Sick of Obama giving speeches to screw USA? So things to do while not watching SOTU? Trim toenails. #WHILENOTWATCHINGSOTU

Henry Hawkins | January 20, 2015 at 4:55 pm

How are you going to find someone who actually listened to it?

    rabidfox in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Some of the more conservative sites have live blogging during his speeches. Some make drinking game out of it, just to make it bearable. Like, take a sip every time he says “I” and other things of that ilk.

buckeyeminuteman | January 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

Take a chug of someone else’s drink every time he mentions new taxes!

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