The Thinking 

Obama’s Mock Folksiness

November 6, 2012


OBAMA takes his job with such a striking lack of seriousness that one questions whether he truly wants a second term. I believe he does not truly want a second term (Michelle surely does want it). One of the most despicable, albeit minor, examples of this lack of seriousness is his habit of referring to other people as “folks.” I would have to go through his speeches carefully to count up the number of times he calls people “folks,” but I am certain it is in the thousands. He even goes so far as to call the mob who murdered an American ambassador “folks.” Here from the 60 minutes interview in which he affirms his view that the Benghazi attack was not committed by terrorists:

OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.

Ah, those folks just got a little out of hand, didn’t they?

This verbal habit, aside from being highly patronizing, is one aspect of Obama’s acting the part of president, rather than being president. You see, by calling other people “folks,” he gives the appearance of such total nonchalance and control that the whole world is just a small neighborhood to him. By calling others “folks,” he is inviting the world to play the part too. Come on, folks, we’re all in this together.

No president could really feel this way toward his immense responsibilities. It is an act. Folks, the president wants to lose. Acting the part is tiresome, far worse than actually being president because it’s so boring and because other people just don’t get it and keep taking the whole charade seriously.

—– Comments ——-

Mark L. writes:

I can’t prove this, but I believe the over-use of “folks” was started, at least at the level of presidential politics, by Clinton-Gore, who were desperately trying to prove their good ol’ boy bona fides. It kind of worked for them, given that they really were from the south. And Clinton had a way about him that made him seem almost credible. Gore not so much. I certainly don’t remember Reagan using (or at least over-using) the term, though maybe my memory’s playing tricks on me.

But if it was a calculated move by Clinton-Gore, how much more so when Obama uses it. It just doesn’t fit his whole persona (part college professor, part talk show host, however you care to describe it). And while it rings false when he uses it to describe John and Jane Q. Public, it’s farcical when he applies the term to murderous terrorists, as he did in the example you point out.


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