Not Asking, Telling

I skipped the debt speeches last night (SyFy’s Monday night lineup is just too damned good to pass — Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Alphas), but I did catch the highlights and transcripts. And one of Obama’s latest verbal tics has finally set me off.


No, not his poll-tested and approved “balanced approach” — apparently that scored well with the focus groups, because he used it at least a half dozen times — but, rather, this abuse of a word:

The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all.  And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about – cuts that place a greater burden on working families.

I love language. I love words. I love how the English language can be used in so many creative and precise ways. My favorite example is how different in meaning are the terms overlook, oversee, see over, look over, and lookover. “Look” and “see” are pretty synonymous, yet each over those five terms has a distinct meaning.


Here, President Obama is abusing a single word, and it’s one that his end of the political spectrum loves to misuse. And it’s “ask.”

Go ahead and look it up. There’s a key aspect to the definition that simply doesn’t apply in Obama’s usage, and that’s the voluntary element.


If someone “asks” you something, you are free to refuse. They can use pressure or enticements to get you to comply, but as long as there is no coercion, then it is “asking.” But with Obama’s definition, there is no option to refuse. It’s a demand.He’s “asking” American citizens and corporations to give their money to the government under penalty of law should they refuse.


Now, if he wants to “ask” for more money, then let him. There are already ways that people who wish to give money directly to the government can do so. Hell, let Obama announce a new, simpler way where wealthy Americans and corporations (such as his biggest donors, who he plans on hitting up for a billion dollars for his re-election) the chance to pay more than they are currently required.


As I said, it’s something that the left does a lot. They like to impose their values and beliefs on us, but couch it in language that disguise its mandatory nature. They demand higher taxes, but say they’re only “asking” for the money. They ban incandescent light bulbs, and say that it’s for our own good that they take away our choice. They ban standard toilets and replace them with “low-flow” ones that don’t work anywhere near as well, and say it’s for our own good. They insist that we wear seat belts and motorcycle helmets, because we “owe” it to society to not take responsibility for ourselves.


This new definition of “ask,” though? That requires such a perversion of thought that I just can’t grasp.

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