For a group that doesn’t like talk of “family values,” the administration gave birth to a new term this week that should scare every American.
The phrase “federal family” popped up in coordinated releases in Washington. First, Press Secretary Jay Carney used it to describe the government in reference to Hurricane-ette Irene. Then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano used it, too. It popped up in FEMA directives as well. Suddenly the government wants us to think of them as our most intimate relatives. It is Father Knows Best. It is motherhood and apple pie. It is looking after our younger siblings. Huh? If anything, government’s more like a mooching uncle, money borrowing brother-in-law or scolding granny.
There is something so distasteful and wrong in the term federal family that most of us would prefer to be orphans, don’t you think? Big Brother and Federal Family belong in Orwell, not reality.
“Dog whistle” burst on the scene as well. Politico reports that black leaders “are tired of Obama dog whistling his support for a broad black agenda rather than explicitly embracing the kind of war on racism, poverty and economic segregation embraced by King.” This echoes another reference earlier in the summer when Biggovernment.com said Obama’s speech was “more likely a dog whistle to the left wing Astroturf – the signal to begin a carefully staged media campaign” against Republican plans for the debt ceiling.
Do liberals really want to refer to a big segment of their parties as dogs? Maybe it’s barking up the wrong tree.
Finally, there are words not heard this week but probably heard next week in Obama’s speech on jobs before a joint session of Congress. Jim Geraghty at the National Review suggests we’ll hear these phrases peppering the speech. You can keep a scorecard if you like:
“I inherited this”
“Prevented another Great Depression”
“saved or created”
“repair our crumbling infrastructure”
“winning the future”
“we can’t afford not to invest in (fill in the blank)”
Of course “I” will probably be frequently used, too. Best not to play the drinking game on that one or you will be snockered early and miss marking your scorecard for the others.