THE PLANK DECEMBER 11, 2009
I wouldn't presume to diagnose from afar (where's Bill Frist when you need him?), but it certainly seems as though House Minority Leader John Boehner has been struck down with some peculiar form of palilalia.
In a WaPo ope-ed (or whatever you call the columns on that weird, new "Washington FORUM" page) of only 604 words, Boehner repeats the phrase "job-killing" not twice, not thrice, but four time in slamming the Dems' economic agenda. (That's once every 150 words, for those keeping track at home.)
I'll admit the phrase has a nice ring. It rolls lightly off the tongue and evokes the unsettling vision of Nancy Pelosi stalking small business owners with a bloody hatchet ala Jack Nicholson in "The Shining."
But a clever catch phrase is not the same thing as an alternative governing vision--something Boehner does not bother even to vaguely articulate in his 604 allotted words. (Unless you count his asserting, twice, that his team has a recovery blueprint chock full of "common-sense solutions"--which as best I can tell means tax cuts, though he avoids specifics even about that).
I appreciate the power of relentless repetition, especially when one is speaking to anxious voters who one thinks (hopes?) can be led like small, not terribly bright children. But to take back the majority, Boehner and his team will need to expand their vision--and their vocabulary--at least marginally.